Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chester Lake

Let's take a hike.

As you can imagine, since both C and I tend to be a little left brained, that doesn't mean drive out and pick a spot and hike. It means, "Let's plan a hike for this weekend."

So WE planned. Chester Lake it would be, Hike 11 in WLH. It was billed as an easy hike of 9 km (5.6 mi) with 315 m (1030 ft) of elevation gain.

WE got the map. WE copied the info from the book. WE packed a lunch and jackets and a compass and a survival kit and we were ready to go.

We left early Saturday morning and after 2 hours of driving, including 25 miles of gravel roads, we arrived at our destination.

The parking lot at the trail head was huge, but there were only 8 cars there. A good sign considering the guide book said this was the most popular trail in K-County. So far so good. And there were pit toilets. Also good. Because I have an 11 yo boy and an 8 yo boy, and pit toilets are good for all types of humor.

So we hiked the trail. It was wonderful. I may not have called it easy, but then C and I did not take a 20 mile hike on our second date. And we are confirmed flatlanders. But, it was definitely doable. And it was the perfect introduction to hiking around Calgary.

And I am very sorry, but I was so busy looking at what was around me that I took absolutely no pictures on the way up. But when we arrived I managed to drag my camera out of the backpack for this:

And I did manage to take a few shots on the way back down. This is my favorite:

On the way down I also began to understand what the authors of WLH meant when they said this was the most popular hike in K-County. The trail was packed. We must have passed 25 groups who were heading up as we were heading down. I swear a tour bus stopped and let an entire load off at the bottom. The parking lot was full, !00 cars, at least. We learned a valuable lesson - go early.

What else did I learn:

A beautiful day in the Rockies may be better than a beautiful day anywhere else.

My camera lens is to heavy and bulky. I need a lighter one.

That rule about keeping your dog on a leash. Apparently, many Canadians think that is a suggestion.

Easy to the authors of our guide book probably means moderate anywhere else. If they say challenging, I will be expecting Everest.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Our First Guide(book)

You need a guide to go on a hike.

I know that not everyone needs a guide. There are those intrepid souls who take a map and a compass and head out into the wilderness to find their way.

There are even those who head off without a map. Lewis and Clark come to mind, but my admiration for them is another post entirely.

We, however, need a guide.

And we found a guide in this book (which will hereafter be known as WLH):

Kathy and Craig Copeland hike a lot. And they have a great website. Their second date was a 20 miler. Did I say they hike a lot? We want to hike a lot. Perfect combination. They have a number of other books as well; and, before we had gone a mile, I was also the proud owner of this book (known as DWYT):

And because I have a tendency to be a little left brain (do not laugh!), I also am now the owner of nine maps covering the length of the Canadian Rockies from the US border to Jasper National park.

Be prepared.

Did you know I was a scout leader for five years?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Canada is Beautiful

Truth be told, I don't know how nice the rest of the country is. I can tell you that this part of Canada, the part I live in, is spectacular.

O.K. Long ago I spent a summer in Quebec studying French. I know that the city is nice.

This is better. And I can't remember any French.

The reason for living here is what I see from the back porch.

Well, the real reason for living here is because "The Company" told us we had to move.

Second to that, the Rocky Mountains are our reason for moving to Calgary.

And if we don't take advantage of those mountains then we will have squandered three years of our lives.

So we might as well jump right in.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Welcome to Canada

I had a great day. I got to visit the office of the company that transported my car, the customs office (for the second time in a week), and the Calgary Police District Office after I was rear ended by an Aussie. And I thought the Canadians were the bad drivers. At least I was still driving the rental and not my still almost brand new Subaru.