I just returned from a week of hiking and photographing in the Canadian Rockies with my college friend Rich. We spent five long days hiking and photographing - the sun rises at 5:45am and sets at 10:10pm in the middle of July and we were determined to see every bit of light every day we were there! It was an amazing place - you are constantly surrounded by high mountain peaks, emerald lakes, glaciers, pine trees, beautiful clouds, and clear mountain streams. We stayed more towards the Jasper end of the Rockies to avoid the Disney like crowds near Banff.
The scene above is from what might have been my favorite hike. We hiked a couple miles up the mountain until we got above the tree line and came to a signpost and trail junction. The trail went left and so did all the people. So naturally we went right and walked another mile or two in a beautiful high altitude meadow surrounded by peaks. The meadow was crossed by a small stream from melting glaciers and it gave the water needed for soft green grass and colorful wildflowers. We took a break and just sat for thirty minutes on the softest bed of mossy grass by the stream and just watched the clouds and shadows roll over the landscape. It was perfect.
The trip was amazing. We saw elk, bald eagles, two black bears and one grizzly bear (from the safety of our car), a coyote, mountain goats, and more. We washed our face and head in the coldest clearest mountain streams during long hot hikes. We hiked in warm sun and cool 75 degree air. We walked along lakes and streams that were emerald in color from the melting glaciers. We saw the glaciers of the Columbia Ice Field spread across multiple peaks. And we saw wildflowers everywhere. We were up and down the Icefields Parkway which is an amazing 100 mile road winding down the valley carved by the Athabasca and other rivers - completely surrounded by tall mountain peaks on both sides - for all 100 miles.
It’s no surprise I took a lot of photographs and you can expect to see some more in future blog posts as I work through them and select the best ones. If you are looking for an outdoor destination - I would highly recommend the Canadian Rockies!