Early Fall in the Rockies

The view from Canmore

The view from Canmore

It was not a good morning for hiking. I ate a leisurely breakfast, read the Calgary Herald, and headed for the Vermillion Lakes as soon as the clouds began to break up. Aside from dawn or sunset, my favourite time to photograph the mountains is when there is a mix of blue sky and dramatic cloud.

I had to be patient, but there was beauty to capture at the lakes.

The gentle colours of September

The gentle colours of September

 

Sunlight on grass

Sunlight on grass

 

And then the summits began to reveal themselves.

Fresh snow at summer's end

Fresh snow 

 

Like ghost ships on a sea of clouds

Like ghost ships on a sea of clouds

And almost as soon as the clouds began to lift, they were gone, replaced by a clear blue sky. Mt Rundle suddenly thrust its summits out of a thick layer of cloud. By the time I got the camera from its case, the cloud had dwindled to a narrow strip.

Mt Rundle

Mt Rundle.

I left the lakes and drove to the osprey nest at Castle Junction. One lone juvenile was there, waiting perhaps for his parents to him bring some food, even though he was fully fledged and now capable of looking after himself.

Home sweet home, but not for much longer.

Home sweet home, but not for much longer. He was gone next morning.

Two hours of waiting brought nothing more exciting than a hop from one side of the nest to the other, and a few soft calls, so I headed for Lake Minnewanka in hopes of finding some sheep or elk. No luck. Aside from birds, the only wildlife I saw during my three days in the area consisted of small rodents.

It was too early for the aspens. Although a few had turned bright yellow, most of the groves were just beginning to change. September is a time of waiting and expectation.

End of summer

End of summer

 

Canyons of the Nahanni: Third Canyon Part 2

The Gate

The Pulpit

One of the outstanding features of the Nahanni is The Gate, where the river makes a sharp bend through a narrow gap. A rock tower called The Pulpit stands guard at the entrance, remnant of an ancient structure that yielded to the unstoppable force of flowing water. The magnificent ridges on  both sides of the river were once joined, and the river had a different  course. As the river carved out its new direction, there must have been a natural bridge between the two ridges, but it has long since collapsed.

East ridge of Gate

West ridge at the Gate

 

East ridge of Gate.

East ridge at the Gate. Top of Pulpit visible lower right corner. Originally the river flowed left around this ridge.

 

It’s well worth having a layover a day at this camp in order to climb the east ridge. The hike is demanding in places and the route is sometimes confusing, but the view from the top is ample reward for your efforts.

Be prepared to use your hands.

Be prepared to use your hands. You can see our camp below.

 

Telephoto shop of our hikers.

Telephoto shot of our hikers.

 

Nearing the top.

Nearing the top.

 

Ah, the view!

Ah, the view!

 

And who can resist a hero shot?

And who can resist a hero shot?

I have a confession to make. One of my cameras made the trip to the top but I didn’t. It’s just not a trail for old joints. So I stayed in camp and used my Lumix FZ200 to capture the hikers on the ledge near the top, as well as photograph the local wildlife.

White Admiral butterfly

White Admiral butterfly

Next post: on to Second Canyon