Friday, 17 August 2012

Of moose and goats (and pikas!)... Rummel Pass

It seems that every time we head up Rummel Pass, we get cool animal encounters. That, and we were hiking with Amy and Michael again yesterday, and they are animal magnets.

When we were up there in 2009, we saw 3 moose. In 2010, we saw another moose. Today, as the hike started, there were 2 moose sitting by the side of the road.
Napping? Maybe not. A mom and male calf
Okay, they were also kneeling.
Bowing to the grass gods
Amy and Michael had climbed Cascade Mountain on Wednesday, and so were going a bit slower than usual. Still, the waterfalls on the creek were great, and they enjoyed the fun wall crawl around the undercut bank (see more on this below).
The lovely cascades
We ate lunch by the lake...
The lake and The Tower from lunch.
While hanging out at lunch, we got to watch some pika, all of whom were collecting grasses for their middens.
Munching grass 
Thinking about it... 
Yep, the grass here is good enough 
Being wary
There were at least 5 pika running around our lunch spot, plus others yelling at us.

After lunch, we headed up from the lake to Rummel Pass. The pass is in the gap between The Tower and Mt. Galatea. The ever eagle-eyed Michael spotted something high up on the tower.
Staring up. Way up.
Was it moving? Or was it a rock? Out came the binoculars. Not a rock. But not moving. Then it did move. Or, should I say, they moved. It was a mom and kid mountain goat, standing on the top of the mountain.
A little fuzzy, but ultra zoomed in
On our way back, the goats were still there, but had tucked themselves under the rock ledge on the right.
Virtually invisible white blobs, under the ledge
No wonder we never see them. This is the first time I've seen a mountain goat in the wild since 1999. Very cool.

Also cool is the pass.
Everyone at the pass 
Down the valley to Lost Lake 
Back through the rocks and the upper tarn
The lower tarn
On our way back down we stopped because we were being yelled at by more pikas.
Caught him in mid-cheep
The meadow was pretty, as was the small waterfall up top.
The meadow. Looking towards Mt. Birdwood 
Rock-hopping a waterfall
Once back at the car, we went looking for more moose in the Engadine meadows, but saw none.
Commonwealth, Shark's Tooth and Birdwood 
North towards Mt. Fortune & Mt. Nestor
Pikas sightings make hikes good. Moose make them doubly good. Goats, well, now we're just off the charts. An excellent day.

Considering coming up here soon?
We saw fresh wolf poop in the clear cuts on the way up in the morning, and day-old bear poop in the forest just before the bridge across the creek. Make noise. Carry bear spray. Chester Lake (in the next valley over) has a bear warning right now.

The summer trail (straight at the bridge instead of across it) is fine. The wall crawl is no issue, and if you don't like being up high, you can easily downclimb 2  m with good solid handholds to a lower creekside trail. The winter trail is pretty boring; the summer trail keeps you by the creek and lets you see multiple falls.

Also, be aware that while the winter biffy is open at Rummel Lake, there's no toilet paper. Camping is only allowed up here from December 15 to April 15. And if you're fishing at the lake, there are cards to fill in and a mailbox to drop them in, so bring a pen.

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