Being Outdoors, October 2022

Well here we are a month later and I’ve written precisely zero new posts. 🙁 (Actually more than a month if you’re being pedantic.) Can I blame it on the fact that we’ve spent a lot of time being outdoors these past few weeks? Yes, yes I can, and I will! September was indeed a busy hiking month for us. Let’s get started!

If we were being outdoors today, I’d tell you about our wonderful Labour Day weekend getaway to heart-shaped Valentine Lake with our friend Stephen. We pushed our comfort levels to summit Cassiope Peak, spent a day in the tent sheltering from a rainstorm, and enjoyed stunning views from a superb vantage point. (Did you know that Cassiope is the Latin name for the heather family?) Next time we’ll aim to summit Cassiope’s equally floral neighbour, Saxifrage, for which we’ll make sure we give ourselves plenty of time, a lesson we learned on this trip. We ended up descending off Cassiope as the sun set and had to find our way back to camp in the twilight, hiking over boulders and down heather-covered slopes, somehow finding the trail as we neared the lake. But we made it safely and ate dinner in the dark, watching the stars come out.

If we were being outdoors today, I’d wax lyrical about our week in the Canadian Rockies, the second visit this year. This time we had a three-day trip into the Skoki Valley, with glorious vistas, gorgeous lakes, and towering peaks. (And no bugs!) Alas, smoke from forest fires dimmed the views a little but we still had a fantastic time and vowed to return to explore the area some more. Hiking past the Skoki Lodge, we treated ourselves to a cold beer, relishing the chance to drop our packs for a few minutes and to take in our surroundings. Since our visit we’ve seen some amazing photos from the surrounding peaks which only whetted our appetite for a return visit.

Following that trip, we spent four days camping at Lake O’Hara. We were extremely fortunate to reserve four sites (the friends with whom we were planning the trip also managed to make a reservation) which meant we got to invite another four of our friends, none of whom had been there before. It was so good to return, nearly a decade after our previous visit, and it was a wonderful reminder of just how beautiful this area is, and how well engineered the trails are. I’d go so far as to say the trails are a work of art, given the way they guide you safely through such intimidating-looking and sheer landscape. Lake O’Hara really lives up to the hype with impressive mountains and so many gorgeous lakes. We were a little early for larch season with just a few trees and branches showing signs of the golden show to come.

If we were being outdoors today, I’d complain about the fact that we barely had time to clean and re-pack our gear before going on another overnight trip the following weekend. Ha ha – yeah right. No, I wouldn’t complain at all – how can I when we were able to get out for a fourth weekend of gorgeous hiking? We visited the Marriott Basin with our friend Brenda (who was also at Lake O’Hara) and explored the area beyond the Wendy Thompson hut for the first time.We didn’t have time to reach the summit of Mount Marriott – described as a ‘monster’ by one of our friends – but we got to a point where felt like we were standing eye-to-eye with the peak and could see the way forward for next time. Looking around, we could also see many places we’d visited previously, most recently Cassiope and Saxifrage peaks, only a couple of valleys to the west. More distant, we could make out the Tenquille Lake area and, in the opposite direction, Gott Peak near Blowdown Pass.

Perhaps there is one thing I could complain about: the boulders. So. Many. Boulders.  ðŸ˜©

If we were being outdoors today, I’d admit (quietly) that I have a bit of a photo problem. I really need to delete some photos as I just had to buy yet another hard drive to store them on. And the vast majority just sit on those hard drives, never to be seen again. That needs to change, and we’ve vowed to dedicate some more time this coming winter to relive the year’s trips and choose photos to put onto Flickr and to add to blog posts.

That’s about all for now. The weather has remained remarkably mild over the past few weeks and October has started where September left off, but that’s for next time. Until then, happy hiking!

2 thoughts on “Being Outdoors, October 2022

  1. These all look like incredible trips Andy! I don’t know anything about the Skoki Valley. I love that I am always finding fabulous areas to visit from you.

    I think your photo problem is a good problem to have…I can’t wait to see all the trip reports!

    1. Thanks Josy! I really hope I can get to them all this winter. Skoki is gorgeous (we want to scramble some of the peaks on our next visit) and very popular. It actually wasn’t too busy while we were there but we met an awful lot of people on our way out… I bet it’s crawling in larch season!

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