Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Change of Season

The last few weeks, there has been something noticeable in the air: a change of season. It's my favorite time of year to get out and enjoy the cool temperatures, the mostly dry trails and the colours of autumn. Mostly a whole lot of yellow and green, with a few shades in between! Check out Lake Minnewanka from one of my favorite viewpoints, which we ran to yesterday.

I am trying to get in as many longer runs as possible, before the snow flys and it could certainly fly any day now. Hopefully, we can still sneak in a few more!! On Saturday, I went up to Moraine Lake to enjoy some spectacular scenery that I hadn't visited in quite some time. The last time I did this one, I was 22 years old and did it on less than two hours sleep and a hangover! Now that is stamina! Iris, Mike and I headed up to Larch Valley, up and over Sentinel Pass, down through Paradise Valley, up to Saddleback, a scramble up Mount Fairview (which is above Lake Louise) and lastly, a wicked downhill to the shore of Lake Louise.

The trails were all starting to look like this, with all of the needles starting to drop off the larch trees. At the bottom of Sentinel Pass, the pass is like a wall in front of you. It doesn't take long to make the push to the top, but I had forgotten what a forbidding pass it is! Here, Mike is pointing at the trail that zig-zags up to the pass.

See the trail?? Just a little grunt up and over.

Even on a grey day, it was still awesome! We paused for a few pics and Iris made a snow angel on the old snow on the way down. Fun!

We enjoyed lots more cushy larch needle covered trails before making a little detour to the Giant Steps. There we ended up on a trail that was very much on our map, but it looked like it had been not in use and not maintained. Lots of "Is this the trail?" moments, map consultations and wet feet. We weren't lost, we knew exactly where we were, but it was still most befuddling. We finally came out at a junction, where the trail was clearly marked as closed from the other side! We all had a giggle at that.

The climb up the Saddleback, was really lovely and a had tons of elevation gain - one big climb of about 3.5 km.

At the top we figured we had enough time to scramble up Mount Fairview, which was super steep and about 1.5km of steep, uphill hiking. At the top, the views were....ummm.... grey and cloudy!! Usually, you get an unbelievable view of Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier. Not on this day, but still fun.

Leslie and Mike on top of the world (?!!)

The trail down was wicked fun, check out Mike and Iris doing tandem switchbacks!! The trail deposited right on the shore of Lake Louise, which was as always, busy with visitors on this fall weekend. After a day of running in solitude, it is always surreal to immerge from the forest to such a busy place after a day of solitude on the trails!

On Sunday, I was due for a sleep in with my husband and some lounging over coffee and breakfast. I love Sundays like that!! But really, no Sunday is complete without a run in a pretty place. Keith and I enjoyed the company of Ollie and Holly (hee-hee!) and pieced together a pretty run on some of my favorite local trails.

Ollie and Holly! (and Leslie, too....)

Old Church Stairs (ghost town of Lower Bankhead)

The viewpoint at Upper Bankhead

Keith with the entire Bow Valley stretching out behind him

I love this photo! It gives you a good perspective of the size of things. It is also the under appreciated side of Mount Rundle which I love so much! We finished with some great views of Cascade Mountain and a fun little trail down to Cascade Ponds. We all had big smiles and were pretty darn happy to be out there enjoying yet another great run, on a beautiful fall day.


Bryon Powell said...

I wanna come play in the pretty mountains! Looks like all y'all are having so much fun. :-)

Backofpack said...

Looks glorious Leslie - another beautiful run for you.

JeffO said...

Any day in the mountains is a day worth living! Summer, Fall, Winter Spring, rain or shine or blowing snow! That is breathe-taking scenery.

Stuart said...

Amazing stuff, and I thought I was lucky where I lived!

Danni said...

Gorgeous! I am feeling guilty now for not doing longer runs while the running's good!

Garry said...

Spectacular! This time of year in the Rockies is beautiful. It looks like you guys are having just tooooo much fun!

Deanna Stoppler said...

Very nice Leslie! Are you going to ski this winter? And run at lower elevations?

CoyoteGirl said...

Gorgeaous! What are you going to do when the snow falls? Are you going to snowshoe it?

holly said...

It was a magical day on Sunday! The snow this morning wasn't a surprise, though :)

Anonymous said...

great pics leslie!
You know that you make me REALLY jealous over here in germany??? ;-)

Wished i could be there with you to see the change of seasons in banff!!

Journey to a Centum said...

What a blast! Your feet are going to start growing hooves if you keep up all that climbing.

Glad you are able to get it a few runs before the white stuff falls. Your days were grey but it looks like you stayed fairly dry.


Meghan said...

Yeah! I finally had a chance to come over here for a looksee. How inspiring, thank you for the loveliness in photos and descriptions. You've made me sooo happy! Keith is so cute in these pics it's like he's transformed from biker dude to trail runner dude or something. ;)

Hope you all are well and I cannot wait for you two to visit!

Leslie said...

Hi y'all!

Thanks for you comments as always, strangeness, I posted some witty, entertaining and delightfull comments back at y'all....but they appeared to have disappeared!! Oh well, you will have to settle for this long run-on sentence instead and my incoherent ramblings. I haven't had computer access all week and I am off for a Thanksgiving mini road trip. Have a great weekend everyone!