Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, September 01, 2013

heading north

We headed north this morning without a clear destination. Denise was tempted by two hikes just south of Icefield Centre; she figured she'd decide where to hike when we arrived.

Parker Ridge turned out to be our hike for the day. The trail description sounded interesting, and Denise said she hadn't hiked that trail before so it was new to both of us.

Parker Ridge

After a series of switchbacks you'll be rewarded with dramatic views of the Saskatchewan Glacier - headwaters of the Saskatchewan River.

The trail head was a long way from our starting point in Canmore; I think it took between 2 1/2 and 3 hours to drive there.

We walked up and up and up some more. The trail description said there was a 250 meter elevation gain but there were times when it felt like more than that. At the base of the trail we could see ground cover starting to wear autumn colors, with yellows appearing amid the greens. We walked through tall thin trees for a while although the trail opened up pretty quickly. As we got higher on the mountain we could see patches of red color in addition to the yellows.

As we walked we could hear (and feel) the wind howling. I bounced up the trail for a while, then I hopped into one of my good viewpoint spots in Denise's camera bag. The wind was so strong that I was afraid I was going to get blown away! Denise wanted to take my picture at the high point of our walk but we both decided that with the howling wind that wouldn't be a good idea.

The walk was beautiful even with the constant up and up. We got to the high point and the trail started heading down a bit. Uh oh! I still couldn't see the glacier at that point; I was starting to worry. But oh! just a little further and we could see the crackly snow of the glacier. Further yet and we could see the silty water in that really really pretty shade of blue emerging from the tip of the glacier.

Walking down took a while. Denise thinks it's harder to walk down than up. I think that's because she always tries to step carefully. I didn't time the up and down separately so I don't know if one direction took longer than the other.

On the way back to Canmore we stopped at any viewpoint that looked interesting to Denise, ending with a quick drive along the Vermillion Lakes. I think we'll probably go back there again to spend a little more time.
--- Rover
Saskatchewan Glacier from high on Parker Ridge
Saskatchewan Glacier from high on Parker Ridge

Mount Rundle from the Vermillion Lakes
Mount Rundle from the Vermillion Lakes