Okay, it’s September, my favorite time to go hiking in the Rocky Mountains and if you look at the above picture you’ll know why. Deciduous trees usually steal the show at this time of year, but the larch tree–which grows naturally only at high alpine altitudes–is the only coniferous tree whose needles change color and are shed for the winter season. If beauty like this doesn’t inspire you–what does?
As you know, from time to time I am diverted from the subject of books by my love of nature and hiking. Last weekend Mike and I escaped to the mountains and indulged in several amazing hikes. I did come home with one photo that I felt I must share. If you ever doubted that Banff is one of the most beautiful places on earth, please take a look at this shot of Moraine Lake nestled amid the Valley of The Ten Peaks.
Everytime I go hiking with my brother, he promises me the “best day of my life!” Thanks to him and his wife, I have had many of these days now. The latest, and one of the greatest, was our recent hike to Caldron Lake (accessed off the highway that connects Lake Louise and Banff.) This hike had it all…Glacier-fed lakes, majestic mountains, waterfalls, a raging river, views of several glaciers…
Here I am, enjoying lunch break by Caldron Lake. Little did I realize that thunderstorms would have us racing back down the trail fifteen minutes later!
After seven hours of hiking, including about 1000 meters of elevations gain/loss, I was truly exhausted by the time we reached the trailhead again.
Not many hikes begin with a view that is almost as magnificent as the one you get at the end. But this one does. Isn’t Peyto Lake stunning? I think it rivals Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.
It wasn’t how the weekend was supposed to go. Mike and I had been invited to friends’ ski chalet in Kimberly B.C. and we were almost two hours into the trip, when Presto! The car stopped working. We were traveling at 110 km an hour, so this was quite a disorienting feeling, to suddenly have no gas, no power brakes, no power steering…nothing. Fortunately traffic was light and we were able to safely pull over to the side of the road. Where we waited, with no heat in twenty below weather, for a tow truck to come…
So much for our fun ski weekend! Back in Calgary, we regrouped and came up with new plans. We spent Saturday doing chores, then rewarded ourself on Sunday with a trip to Banff (using Mike’s car this time!). Tunnel Mountain is one of those hikes that is very accessable almost any time of the year. So although we had snow and very frosty temperatures, we decided to head up. It took an hour and a quarter of brisk walking to make it all the way, then all the way down. As you can see, the view was totally worth it.
Now…does anyone want to buy a used Audi?
I live in Canada, so when I got the bright idea to set my next book in New England a research trip was in order. I set aside some time in October…who wouldn’t love a trip to New England in the autumn? I’m a big hiker, so of course my version of this trip included hitting several of the beautiful mountain trails in the region.
My guy and I put in hours and hours in the Squalm Lake area and we even hiked up several of the bigger peaks in the White Mountains, including Mount Washington.
After all that work, I deserved a little relaxation, didn’t I?
Favorite Fall Activities:
What do you look forward to doing once Labor Day has passed and the heat of summer is gone? I’ve always found September to be the best month for hiking in the Rocky Mountains around where I live. This fall I was lucky enough to do three spectacular hikes. Let me tell you about the first one…Burstall Pass on September 13th.
This is a hike we’d tried to do before only to become hopelessly lost. This time though, we took the correct fork in the trail and had beautiful views for almost the entire hike. Fall arrives early in the high altitudes …and so does the snow! The day was actually sunny and warm, though you might not guess it with all the white stuff in the photo below.