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Monday, July 18, 2011

Sentinal Pass hike or BEST.DAY.EVER!

This is where, what is for now MY.BEST.HIKE.EVER, began.  Beautiful Moraine Lake in Banff National Park.  Depending on the time of the day or angle, the lake colour changes, but is usually a gorgeous teal.  We started hiking, heading up to the Larch Valley and on to Sentinel Pass. 
Yes...wwwwwaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy up there!!!  If you look closely enough, you can almost see the "trail" we hiked upon, after having to traverse some snowy patches.  Yes, SNOW!

But worth the view, no?!  Isn't this the back of the $10 bill???

MS's foot looking down!  I was too chicken, and not to shy to admit it!  We sat at the top and had lunch (PB & strawberry sandwich for me), listened to and watched some distant avalanches - they sounded like thunder rumbling...very cool, but I was too slow for a photo op, as I was when we spotted what we think was a weasel or ferret.
Had to be sure to leave my mark for future travellers.

Oh...but what goes up, must come down, right??  We decided at lunch that the fastest way down would be... SLIDE!!!!  OMG....this was the BEST.THING.I.HAVE.EVER.DONE!!  And the craziest!  S. is preparing to show me how it's done. 
No photos of me, which is probably for the best.  I did win for best freestyle, as I ended up on one side, than my back and finally head first!!  That was a tad frightening (you could see rocks poking through, but I just kept happy thoughts in my head!) and I did end up having a "yard sale" as my poles were yanked out and abandoned about a third of the way up!
S. being an awesome friend/hiking buddy as she scurried back up to grab them.  I was busy trying to get the feeling to return to my hands (so cold!) and legs (so jelly like!).
MS showing us all how it should look.  And yes, by the way, we were all wearing shorts...snow ended up in places where snow just should not go!  But I'd do it again in a heartbeat!  We hung around to cheer on others...the kid (okay, 20-something, but that to me is a kid) from Brazil who had never even seen snow before today, let alone slide down it, the couples and the family with the dog, who looked like he had more fun coming down than we did!
We hiked back down through the Larch Valley, and were trying to find Edith Lake, another short hike away.  Along the route we were warned about a family of bears spotted by other hikers (we had bells and bangers, if need be) but continued on after we were assured that they had moved down into the valley.  What we weren't warned about was the vicious, killer attack Marmots that waited at the pass we needed to cross.
Hard to believe that this little guy charged at us, and had three grown women scurrying down a trail quite quickly, running and squealing like little girls!!  Okay, maybe the others didn't squeal, but I certainly did!!  And then laughed and laughed and laughed some more.

Once back down at Moraine Lake, we packed up the truck and prepared to head back to Calgary, satisfied with our eventful 6-hour hike, covering 16km in total.  Mr. Garmin died on me at about the 13km mark...guessing searching for satellites in the mountains was a bit draining.  We walked down the road to our car (Moraine Lake is extremely popular, so parking was at a premium), and while driving through the round-about lot to head for home, we noticed some commotion above us.
The aforementioned family of bears!!  Mama Grizzly and two young cubs.  Just so you all know, I have zoom on my camera.  I very much respect the bears, and know that they were just trying to have lunch and didn't really need all of us freaking out, trying to take photos. 
This one was actually taken from beside the truck (or was it by S., on the truck?).  We stood by and watched the tourists mainly, to make sure no one did anything stupid (I'm on Team Bear, by the way) before Mama decided they had enough and took the kids off into the forest.

It was a long day, and it ROCKED!!!!  I slid down a massive hill (about 100 meters), I hiked across snow trails (kind of scary), met people from all over this world, all in awe of what I call home, was chased by a mammal smaller than my cats, saw bears and spent the day with a couple of great ladies who make me smile and laugh, and test my fears!

I did manage to go for a run yesterday, but my legs were so tired, so I decided to bail listen carefully to my body, and walked back from Elbow Drive to Eau Claire.  Ended up running just over 10km and walking just over 4km. 

Discovered a battle wound on my hip as well...not sure if it happened from the snow or from my fuel belt, but I bear it with pride!  I earned this sliding down a mountain!!!

Coffee with the gang, visit with Mom, cut the grass, a brief nap and then the final show of WICKED rounding out the day.  A very fine weekend ever will I top it next week?!


1 comment:

Dave! said...

I don't like strawberries.