Friday, August 10, 2012


We're about halfway through our summer trip to the Rockies. It's been quite warm, but that seems to be the case anywhere out west right now. We've enjoyed hiking, climbing and socializing with friends. Pam had her birthday here, and we went climbing at Grassi Lakes (a nice spot for Pam and Elise) and then had dinner out with friends. Elise gets a lot of comments when she climbs by a busy trail. Most tourists have never seen rock climbing, let alone a young girl scaling the wall. They're easily impressed...

We are staying in the same house as before, house-sitting and caring for a cat named "Pine Cone". Elise love him. He sleeps on her bed and lets her carry him around. We had a scare the other night when he dashed out and we couldn't find him. This area is lush with coyotes and cats go missing at night regularly. Luckily he appeared at the back door around 10:00 pm. Elise was worried, and so were we.

Like last year, the berries behind the house are thick. This haul is mostly raspberries, but contains some wild strawberries as well.

We hiked up to West Wind Pass, beside the Windtower (a huge limestone wall) near the Spray Lakes. It was a cool day and we enjoyed the exercise and views from the pass. Here, Elise examines a curious stone pattern on the trail. Once again, she spotted this, not us. A fossil, perhaps? She was quite pleased with herself.

The views from the pass. It was a stunning setting.

Hiking down the trail. Elise is doing very well with her hiking on this trip. She walks the one-hour uphill approach to Acephale (a climbing area) with nary a whimper.

Our best hike so far was to the Picklejar Lakes in the Kananaskis. It was a hot day and the hike was long (4.5 km one way, all uphill), but the destination was worth it. We arrived at four, small alpine lakes full of cutthroat trout. We enjoyed fishing, picnicking and swimming in very cold water. The trail wove through groves of aspen and across grassy meadows.

The wildflowers were in full bloom.

This mushroom was as big as my face!

As we approached the fist lake, the scenery became quite dramatic. Jagged peaks rose out of a shallow valley thick with spruce trees.

A kind fisherman let Elise pull in two trout! This was a highlight of the day. The fish struck the line the second the float hit the water!

We hiked to all four lakes, and the third was the most scenic. It was deep and green, and framed by talus from the adjacent mountain.

Pam and I swam, and the water was icy! See that snow in the background? Elise didn't brave it, but did decide to wade.

Here I am, attempting to teach Elise how to skip a stone. No dice. That wrist action is hard to teach!

After spending a couple of hours enjoying the environment, we hiked back to the car. Once in the parking lot, we saw a herd of sheep. No day in the Rockies would be complete without an animal sighting.

The weather looks a little showery next week, but hopefully we still get some dry days before we leave for the Kootenays.

Our dates for our trip to Spain are set. We leave September 25th and return November 26th. We've booked a small cottage in a village (Campanet) on the island of Mallorca for five weeks. It's centrally located so we should be able to access most areas on the north side of the island quite easily. We're looking forward to a great adventure!

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