Well, after being head down in a computer conference (Hackathon) for a couple of weeks. Some of my fellow nerds with
hiking inclinations had me take them to the rockies. After many complaints from me about "it's too darn early".. "You'll need snowshoes".. "We'll never be able to do anything but the front ranges" they were not to be dissuaded, and that turns out to be a good thing, because while a couple kilometers of snowshoeing and a few more of postholing can feel pretty darn epic, the trip was actually a blast and we had fabulous weather.
We started out by dropping a vehicle at Miette Hot springs
in Jasper National Park, then drove back outside the park and
around to the mining area of Cadomin, to start at the Whitehorse Creek campground in Whitehorse Provincial Recreation area. Unlike the Miette area, Cadomin had fresh
wet snow the night before, so we found ourselves hiking through
about 5 centimeters of fresh snow on a pleasant morning.
It showed the fresh grizzly tracks from that morning well too:
We continued on up toward fiddle pass after a lunch break at the
sawmill campground, and encountered deeper and deeper snowpack
After some false starts we finally strapped on the snowshoes for the last 500 meters or so to the campground located right at
the edge of the alpine at the start of fiddle pass where we had
a spectacular place to camp, eat dinner and rig tents and hammocks
on top of a meter of snow.
In the morning we got up semi early so stuff would still be frozen
to walk on, and headed for the top of fiddle pass where we crossed
into jasper national park. We saw a Sow and Cub grizzly on hitting to top of the pass - they were a long way off but still scooted for cover in the trees on the far side of the pass as we appeared. They and we gave each other a wide berth.
The view at fiddle pass was worth the snowshoe slog the previous day.
After a wander through the alpine, we slogged down through a
kilometer of meter deep isothermic snow on the snowshoes before
finally removing them and scooting down to the whitehorse campground in jasper park. After a rest, we proceeded to head
own the lenght of the fiddle river to utopia campground.
where we could sleep in after a monster day of 20 kilometers. A good dinner and a hammock knowing you can sleep in never felt so good.
The following day we got up late, ate a leisurely breakfast and
took the 6 km over a small pass to miette hot springs easy.
Had a soak, buffalo burger, and watch the sheep lick the salt off
people's cars. Altogether a very nice trip.
Full set of pics (as well as some other stuff) athttp://bofh.ucs.ualberta.ca/beck/pictures/CadominToMiette2009