It's funny how something as simple as a set of hiking poles can open up so many possibilities, but with my new little sticks of stability, I’m suddenly not restricted to teetering around in the dark beside my truck any more, relying on a heavy camera laden tripod to stop me from tipping over when it’s too dark for my eyes to keep me vertical. So it was with my new poles in hand I found myself at a trail head in the dark two weekends in a row.
The first weekend I met up with fellow photographers Monika Deviat, Becky Simrose and Lucas Foran for a hike to Lake Agnes tea house for sunrise and a much needed cup of coffee. It was deliciously foggy and that will ensure that my next venture to the tea house will be just as new an experience as the first, since the visibility was low enough to keep the mountain vistas secret for now.
Afterwards we trekked into the clouds over the Beehive and down to the toe of the glacier on Mount Victoria just in time for the sun to finally peek out of the clouds. When it was time to leave, we meandered down the river until we finally reached Lake Lousy, errr, Lake Louise, and valiantly fought our way past the hordes of selfie stick wielding tourists. Someday I may actually shoot a sunrise at Lake Louise, but so far the sheer number of people have been pretty effective at keeping me far, far away from the location. I'm just glad the crowds are relatively concentrated in one spot and therefore easily avoided, allowing some solitude for those of us who prefer to be alone.
Thanksgiving weekend was spent camping in Peter Lougheed park with Mr. Bastard, our annual tradition. We had some family members visit and we all stayed up late into the night under the trailer awning out of the rain, huddled around the lantern for heat. We were sort of damp, kind of cold and a little bit pathetic looking, but with enough laughter and a bit of rum we were able to make it through. A perfectly marvelous way to celebrate thanksgiving, I was especially thankful for the furnace in our trailer and the warm dry place to sleep that night. I was also thankful for a bit of company when I woke up in the middle of the night again to tromp into the forest with my camera. This time, with my Mother in law in tow, I was on the trail to Rawson Lake. I had been there a couple of months ago but not recently, and the high water level at the creek crossing surprised me. I scampered up and down the bank with my flashlight but could not see a suitable way across in the dark and ultimately we decided it would be better to turn back. The hiking poles can only take me so far in the balance department, and my cameras don't know how to swim. I felt a little bit dejected, but with a little time to spare, another location was still in reach and we raced up the highway and into Elbow Lake just before dawn broke. Again, the sunrise wasn't what I had expected but with any day in the mountains the lack of predictability is what makes it fun. I'm looking forward to making as many trips as I can before the snow flies.