Hiking in Alberta

Lawlor Rochester: 12 Aug 11

Glenn Giddings and I have spent many enjoyable lunches at a local pub here in Toronto where we manage to resolve (at least discuss without too much rancour) many if not all of the world’s problems. However last week I had just returned from a week hiking trip to your part of the country and so I talked Glenn’s ear off and told him I was going to enter that trip in your “vacation contest”. Since he has a daughter living in Calgary who is a very active hiker I promised to name the actual trails we had hiked…….so here it is.

  My wife and I signed on with a great hiking outfit in Canmore called Yamnuska Adventures and lucked out to draw a wonderful guide Tamara .We were a group of seven, five Aussies mostly retired but serious hikers. What an amazing experience as we spent two days in Canmore hiking the Yamnuska Mountain trails then moved on to Lake Louise for two days and hiked the Stanley Glacier trail and the Wilcox Pass trail (opposite the Columbia Glacier). We spent the next three nights in Banff and managed to hike two wonderful trails ,the Ice line trail and the Morraine Lake trail. We had four wonderful sunny days and the last day was rather cool but by the time we reached the end of the trail the wind was howling and the rain at the bottom of the trail had turned to blowing snow. In preparation for the hiking we were given a list of clothing we would carry with us so by “layering”we were well protected from the cold. Generally the climbs were about five hundred meters and of course we would stop at the top of the trail, relax and have lunch, take pictures etc.

  Tamara was absolutely amazing and was very well versed in mountain lore. In fact she trains members of the British SAS and some of the Canadian JTF folks in winter wilderness experiences. And as I mentioned the Aussies were quite seasoned hikers and my wife was quite agile on the steep trails so that left me puffing to keep up with all these “mountain goats”. The Rockies are so magnificent and the scenery was just spectacular. We did have great weather mostly) which made the climbing quite enjoyable and the group were all very compatible. What became very important also was the necessity of keeping hydrated as without lots of water the muscles don’t seem to work as well.

  In spite of the fact that it was probably the busiest time of the year (first week of July) we did not encounter many people on the trails. Generally we were up early and out on the trail before most. We did mange to see deer, black and grizzly bear but none on the trail although we were equipped with the mandatory" bear spray". Well, the memory lives on and we have lots of great photos to remind us of the beauty of the west.