Thursday, 1 August 2013

FINALLY out hiking -- with Pikas!

After spending a month hiding in the basement, we took the perfect day to head out for a hike, heading up to Stanley Glacier in the Vermillion Pass area of  Kootenay Park.

We really like this trail, though it tends to be fairly busy, and on a perfect sunny Wednesday, the parking lot was mostly full when we got there at 10:45 AM. Still, once on the trail, we didn't see that many people. You start heading up through an area affected by natural forest fire about 20 years ago.
Castle Mt in the distance
It's a hanging valley, so once up high, there are plenty of waterfalls and increasingly good views of the glacier itself.
A big single fall 
A pair high up 
Braided and green 
The glacier and icefield
There's an official end to the trail about half way into the valley, but the real joy here is continuing up higher into the basin. There are at least 3 routes up, so you can pick your fave.

Up higher is a flat area where a bunch of creeks come out of the ground and coalesce to a verdant green marshy stream.
Soft green
We found a mom white tailed ptarmigan and her brood of 3 chicks wandering around up here.
2 chicks
Up at this level, you get "up close and personal" with the glacier (though you're still ~1 km and 400 m below the toe).
Yes, it's just a walk up 
The lowest part
Head on
Still, the views back down the glaciated U-shaped valley are pretty impressive, too.
Me, living life on the edge 
More edginess
All that water on that knoll of course forms even more waterfalls.
Glacier up high, waterfall below
The falls
And of course what made the day perfect was pika sightings. One joined us for lunch. In total we saw 5 but heard at least 5 more.
Squished down, trying to look like a rock 
It's a pretty hike, but do climb to the trees in the middle of this photo. It's worth it.
Looking into the valley from the edge of the hang
We got to the parking lot and smelled smoke. Apparently, a forest fire in the park a couple of km down the road at Numa Creek (initiated by lightning a few days ago) decide to get a LOT bigger.
Blue smoke with a cloud on top
It even got bigger while we were watching it. Gonna be smokey around here for a bit.

1 comment:

Edwin said...

Wow, that looks like one great hike!