22 October 2018

Northwest Passage — Pt. 9: Whistler/Blackcomb, BC

The last big hike of the trip. We stayed overnight in Whistler, a major ski resort in British Columbia. In summer, the slopes and the area around them are turned into mountain biking trails and hiking trails. There was a major BMX championship going down in the town itself. The gondolas and chairlifts were packed with bicycles and their riders, who rode down the precipitous slopes on groomed trails. Not my thing, but looked like tons o' fun if that's your thing.

We opted for the High Note Trail, described below. Very few other hikers. Cannot recommend this hike enough. It was glorious. The altitude was not so high that it was totally disorienting, but the air was rarified. We were above all the smoke and haze from the wildfires. The day was, in a word, perfect.

As sometimes happens, I opted for a short-cut trail back to the main lodge. The trail somehow petered out in a jumble of rocks. I negotiated my way across the rubble and up a small slope only to discover it was the wrong slope in the wrong direction. After a brief discussion with the kind, helpful folks on the Emergency Hotline, I re-oriented, backtracked down the slope and back across the morraine, skirting a few glaciated patches, and back up the slope on the other side of the saddle until I found my way back to the trail which led to the lodge where I met up with the rest of the crew who were already there! Turns out my short cut was longer than their hike. HaHa. LOL. Silly me! That'll teach me a lesson!

A very important photo. After I got "lost", i.e., the trail disappeared into a pile of rocks, I called the number there, and they helped orient me. Thanks!
Precisely the sort of thing that activates the amygdala fear response region of my brain. Yet, reader, I crossed it!
Distant glaciers. Mid-August.
Hiking the slopes and rocks. (Not my stick, btw. Don't use one.)
Patches O'Glacier.
What is this I see down in the valley?
Cheakamus Lake, tree line, distant glaciers.

Typical trail view.
Wait, where'd the trail go? Guess I'll just have to negotiate this rocky rubble and maybe I'll come across it.
Alpine meadow back on the trail again.
Waterfall near Squamish on the way back to Vancouver.
And...ketchup flavored potato chips. Don't try this at home.

12 October 2018

Northwest Passage — Pt. 8: Jasper NP, Wells Gray PP

The drive from Banff to Jasper is regarded as one of the most beautiful drives in North America. Smoke and haze from surrounding forest fires obscured much of our enjoyment. Glaciated peaks were browned out, distant waterfalls barely visible.

Two days of easy hiking: glaciers, waterfalls, canyons, and lakes.

Bow Lake with distant glaciers and waterfall
Sign on Columbia Icefield that no one seems to heed
Columbia Icefield: Strolling on the glacier
Browned out Columbia Icefield: The largest glacier south of the Yukon & NW Territories & Alaska
Sign at the entrance to campground in Jasper
Athabasca Falls - Jasper NP
Sunwapta Falls - Jasper NP
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon - Jasper NP
Maligne Canyon - Jasper NP
Same goes for me - Fraser River, furthest inland salmon spawning grounds
Afternoon dip in Clearwater Lake - Wells Gray
Hazy day at Helmcken Falls - Wells Gray Provincial Park, Fourth Highest in Canada
Spahats Falls - Wells Gray Provincial Park