Alpine views

I think this might be the very last of these Throwback Thursday posts. Coming up with a theme for these posts has been fun, and sometimes a little challenging. Today’s link had me scratching my head for a few moments until I realized the connection: both photos were taken in one of my favourite places, the alpine.

1. TBT to a beautiful Thursday in September 2012 on the Skyline trail in Jasper, the view south over Curator Lake from the Notch

First up is this stunning view from the Notch, the highest point along the 44-km Skyline Trail. What can’t be seen is the howling gale that greeted us as we came over the rise. We were oh-so glad of the sunshine after the previous day’s miserable cold rain, and the view was as breathtaking as the wind, but the downside to the alpine is the lack of shelter, and we were certainly feeling that as we huddled down in a group to eat our lunch.

The wind was a constant companion for the next hour or so but it was worth it for the never-ending views along the ridgeline of Amber Mountain. Definitely an awesome hike, and one I would love to repeat.

2. Some colour for a grey day – my favourite flower, a glacier lily, taken a couple of years ago on the trail to Zoa Peak.

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Some colour for a grey day – my favourite flower, a glacier lily, taken a couple of years ago on the trail to Zoa Peak. For #LeaveNoTraceTuesday I'll add that getting these kinds of flower photos often means going off-trail, a practice that requires a lot of care. It's also a time when even leaving footprints is not appropriate in case in invites the less careful – I've witnessed many a hiker simply not looking where they're putting their feet. On busy trails I'll simply not bother and just be content to admire the view from afar or use a long zoom lens 🙂 #zoapeak #coquihalla #alpine #wildflowers #glacierlily #erythroniumgrandiflorum #lnt #leavenotrace #beautifulbritishcolumbia #hiking #mec #mecnation #rei1440project

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The second photo is of a subject that entices me up into the alpine as soon as the snow has melted: the humble glacier lily. Every year I like to go in search of them just as they poke up through the snow, and this year will probably be no different. The trick is to find somewhere new each time, and I’ll need to start thinking about that soon as we’re already in May!

This photo was originally posted on a “Leave No Trace Tuesday”, so I’ll include the comment I made at the time. Getting these kinds of flower photos often means going off-trail, a practice that requires a lot of care. It’s also a time when even leaving footprints is not appropriate in case in invites the less careful – I’ve witnessed many a hiker simply not looking where they’re putting their feet. On busy trails I’ll simply not bother and just be content to admire the view from afar or use a long zoom lens.

I’m always wary of stepping off the trail in popular areas in case someone sees me and interprets that as a green light to wander wherever they please. What they don’t see is the extreme care I take to step through the flowers, sticking to rocks where I can and bare dirt otherwise as much as possible. If I can’t identify a way through then I just don’t go and I’ll find an alternative flower to photograph.

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A week of glacier lilies

A departure from the usual posting style. Since I saw so many glacier lilies at the weekend, I figured it would be best to combine all those photographs into a single, all-encompassing glacier lily entry. Let the floral overload begin!

We spent the weekend in Manning Park, and found – to my delight – that the glacier lilies were out in force. Here’s one of many in bud we saw last Sunday near Blackwall Peak, beautifully decorated with raindrops. I was surprised to see them blooming even by the roadside on the way up to Blackwall Peak, and we were further surprised by two yearling bear cubs darting across the road ahead of us!

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It's that time of year again! The glacier lilies are out in force in Manning Park and should be good for another couple of weeks. Here's one of many in bud we saw yesterday near Blackwall Peak, beautifully decorated with raindrops (as was our tent!). After all the hard work we put in on Saturday to find some (which paid off handsomely I should add), I was surprised to see them blooming at the roadside on the way up to Blackwall Peak. Then we were surprised again by two yearling bear cubs darting across the road ahead of us 🐻 🐻 🙂 Hike reports are on LiveTrails. What a weekend! #glacierlily #erythroniumgrandiflorum #ManningPark #manningparkresort #ecmanningprovincialpark #bcparks #paintbrushnaturetrail #explorebc #wildflowers #beautifulbc #beautifulbritishcolumbia #ifttt #hikebc #bchiking

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On Saturday we hiked the Skyline I loop, a 21-km hike with 900+ m of elevation gain. We’d been happily enjoying the wealth of blooms along the trail, but then we entered the last big meadow before turning back towards the car. This might be the most spectacular glacier lily meadow I’ve seen so far! Wow!

A trail runs through it – the path through the vast meadow in the previous photo is barely a boot wide, the glacier lilies and spring beauty doing their best to recolonize it. I looked back at photos I took of this section of the trail in August 2007 and there is no sign of glacier lilies anywhere.

And yet more glacier lilies along the Skyline I trail. There was still a bit of snow in places along the ridge but it’ll soon be gone. I find it amazing how so many can grow and yet all signs of their existence disappear once the main summer bloom gets underway. I’m convinced that most hikers never even see a glacier lily over the summer.

Finally, it’s Flashback-Friday, and I thought I’d finish this week of glacier lily photos with the flower that started it all – my very first glacier lily photo from way back in 2006!

That last shot has a lot to answer for…

Smoothed out

The high-rises of the West End reflect the glow of the western sky. The seawall at Kits Pool comes in handy for long exposures!

A fine Monday afternoon and – as was so often the case in my photo-a-day project – I wandered out for some fresh air and possibly scope out a photo-op or two. The tide was on its way out so I headed down onto the beach at the bottom of Balaclava Street and walked towards the city, watching the last light play on the mountain tops. By the time I reached Kits Pool, it was dark enough to try a few longer exposures and the high-rises in the city were reflecting the lovely yellow-orange glow of the sky; an urban alpenglow. I didn’t have my tripod so the seawall came in very handy. Two seconds was just long enough to smooth out the water and highlight the reflections of the buildings.

Tekarra and the Marmot

A welcome sight at the end of a long day – hiking below Mt Tekarra towards our campground. Oh and yet another cheeky marmot!

We were so glad to see this view, to be finally done with the long switchbacking trail down from the Skyline. Marmots kept us company, mocking our zig-zagging descent with their ability to trundle straight down the slope. By this stage we’d hiked 16 or so of our 18 km for the day, and we were all pretty tired. But there was one final insult: we reached the trees and could see a sign. We expected it to mark the campground, so imagine our dismay when the sign actually said “no camping”, and the campground was still another km away…!

Dusk down by the water

A mild evening down by the water near the Jericho Sailing Club, between Locarno and Jericho Beach. I was hoping for some rich sunset colours to capture over the water but it was too cloudy. I walked out onto the pier and decided to take some long-exposure photos of the Vancouver skyline. A seal bobbed up every now and then.

There’s a short period of time around dusk when even cloudy skies look very blue (at least to the camera) and it’s possible to get photos with an interesting white balance. In this case I let the camera decide the white balance, which meant the city lights came out quite nice and white while the sea and the sky became a deep blue.

Locarno Beach, 29 Mar 2010

I spent a few more minutes taking longer and longer exposures of the city until the sky lost all its blue. The low clouds glowed orangey-pink with the reflected city lights and the skyline became a mass of light. Despite the cool breeze, the water was smoothed out by the long exposure, making for quite a nice effect.

Now that it was properly dark, the air was quite chilly and it was time for me to head home. My short walk back to the car was accompanied by a chorus of frog song from the marshes.