Wednesday, September 16, 2009

After the summer…

… comes more time for blogging, baking, reading, knitting.
We had a fantastic summer spent with good friends and family. We hiked, backpacked, and relaxed. We explored new places and got to know some people better.

We spent 6 nights with the Outdoor Club of Victoria in Waterton Lakes National Park, arriving on Tuesday, August 11th. We thought of camping but ended up sharing a motel room with a friend. With the rainy, cold weather we had during our stay we were glad to have had the motel. It was a great place to dry out and warm up.
Our first hike on Wednesday was the Alderson-Carthew hike led by Mary. The day started out with a brief stop to negotiate with a bear which was seen by 4 hikers in a group ahead of us. They told us that it was a grizzly but I have my doubts since there are way more black bears in the park than grizzlies.
Early on in the hike it rained but that soon stopped and we ended up with a chilly wind on the ridge.
Mary was called away to Calgary to meet her first grandson who was born a few hours after we arrived back at camp following the hike.
The next day, Thursday we hiked to Crypt Lake, a hike which involved taking a boat across Waterton Lake. The trail was very good with switchbacks along the steeper sections. The tough part involved climbing up an 8' steel ladder and duck walking through a short, 4' high tunnel.

On stepping out of the tunnel you had to walk along a narrow ledge with a steel cable which was used as a hand rail. One of our members made it through the tunnel and then ended up turning around with her husband. Crypt Lake was beautiful and, if you were to walk to the end of the lake you'd be in the US.

By the time we arrived back at the boat we all looked a bit like drowned rats. We did manage to steam up all the windows making it quite tough for the "captain" to see out the windows.
On Friday we hiked to Goat Lake starting at Red Rock canyon. Again a group of 3 hikers joined us after they met a bear on the trail. Of course certain members of our group were convinced that it HAD to be a grizzly. We made enough noise that we didn't see any bears. One member believed that there had to be millions of grizzlies around since there were masses of bear grass. Unfortunately the bears don't eat bear grass although elk, moose and deer will. Supposedly this year's crop of bear grass was the best it had been in seven years. (It blooms in five to seven year cycles).
By Saturday our group was getting smaller due in part to the constant wet weather. Those members who had camped and hiked in Glacier National Park the week before Waterton where camped and hiked out as well. A gang of us headed to Akamina-Kishinena trail. Due to wet, cold weather and snow on the ridges we managed to get as far a Bennett Pass before heading back to our cars.

On Sunday, the last full day of hiking, our group was quite small with only the die-hards hanging on. Loretta was able to convince Katherine to lead one more hike, this one to Rowe Lakes. The weather co-operated and we had an awesome day where the only wild animals we ran into were several mule deer, a few picas, and a Golden Mantle ground squirrel.
Of course on the day we left Waterton the sun came out and there wasn't a rain cloud anywhere in sight. Four of us did one last climb up the Bear's Hump before parting. We went north to see our son and daughter-in-law, the other two went home.

Just incase you think that is ALL that we did, Pat and I also did three backpacking trips of three nights each to Circlet Lake in Strathcona Park. While we were there we climbed Mt. Albert Edward during the first trip, a circuit up Mt. Frink and around Moat Lake during the second trip, and we climbed Mt. Jutland during the third trip.
We also spent three days at Mt. Washington with the Cowichan Outdoor group. Pat and I weren't able to get the ground suite in the chalet with the other members so we rented a condo a short walk from their chalet. We did a group day hike to Cruikshank Canyon drop-off one day, a soggy hike up the West Summit Ridge trail of Mt. Washington with our "Waterton die-hard" friends the following day, and a walk along what we believed to be the Jutland cross country trail on the last day.

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