Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Grip

Jo and I went and rode, "The Grip" in the Brule community paster today. Started out right at freezing, and then warmed to plus 3 or so. It's great, as the trail starts just a few clicks from the house. It's then a nice 22 km loop that includes an ascent of Solomon hill. The trail is all unmarked, and it's mostly singletrack. I was shown "the goods" last weekend. This was my 3rd ride on it this week. Super fun XC ride. Also cool that only a hanfull of souls know about it.

Looking towards our home.

Jo enjoying her aluminum steed.

Still a horse woman at heart....

Super fun ride. Great to get Jolene out for a torturous climb. She was railing the downhill after getting warmed up!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

New Hecklers

Jo and I both got new Hecklers. It's absolutely the best bike I've ever ridden. I can take it to the bike park and hit drops, ride all the skinnies and enjoy the dirt jumps. It also pedals trail oh so well. It's got me pedaling through sections that I was braking on with my hardtail. It seems to truly be the do it all bike.

Test riding the new rigs.

Today we went and rode the Holloween trail, nice little loop near Hinton. There were a few jumps and skinnies along the way. Between the bike park and the new steed, I had the confidence to enjoy a few stunts. Loving the new Hecklers!

Hitting the gap jump on the "Just Giver" trail.

Jolene on the Halloween Trail.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Location XXXX, Jasper National Park

Jolene and I got to the trailhead for location “Zed” midday Friday. It would be a few clicks in on trail, and then we’d be on our off trail adventure. Our plan was to enter the XXX pass area and get some alpine scrambling in. This was the first good weather window over a weekend all summer! As soon as we left the main trail, the going was slow and rough.

We quickly donned our gaiters and bushwhacked up the creek, getting to the first lake around mid afternoon.

The lakes provided some interesting rock hopping that went on and on and on. Although not geographically far from the busy XXX Valley, the feeling was very remote. We made our first camp in the pass above the lake, practicing our best leave no trace (LNT) ethos.

Below: Looking back on the days progress.

Below: and ahead to tomorrow's goal, the pass

Our favorite lil' shelter, the BD First lite.

The next morning we were up early to establish our high camp. As we neared the Apex of the pass, the views were amazing. The biggest goat I’ve ever seen relaxed in the shade nearby. In the tarns there were the tracks of grizzly, caribou, deer, moose and numerous birds. We found a nice location for our camp, waiting until evening to pitch the tent. A bit of scrambling got us over to a nearby snow field where we did some boot skiing. Does this qualify for an August ski? I’m not sure.

The Alpine evening was wonderful. We tracked the neighborhood goat around the pass and were dazzled first by sunset, followed by alpenglow and shooting stars.

The next morning we were up at the crack of nine. After watching three Caribou water, we filtered our own.

Indian Paintbrush in full bloom.

Enticing moderate alpine climb. Note the beautiful splitter couloir!

The Ramparts towering above Amethyst lake. The peak to the right of the snow couloir is Oublette. Next right: Dungeon. On the far right Redoubt. All beautiful Alpine climbs on good rock. (Quartzite.)

Our last view of the Ramparts before the moderately hateful exit bushwack scrambley stuff.

The keepers of the Alpine, the Marmots.

New cars? Nope. Kids? Nope. Soulmates who love the peace of the mountains? You betcha!

We had two options for our Sunday;

A. a steep pass to another hanging valley, and then the comfort of a true trail, all of which we had beta on.

Looking over to Option A and the headwall that would mark the beginning of a scramble towards the ACC hut.

Or, B. an exit out of the valley we were in. Down many clicks of bushwhacking and creek hatefulness & unknown adventure. Both options were about 25 kilometers, but Option B would be more straightforward, once we were out of the Alpine, or so I assumed. As my friend Jim likes to say, the topo map doesn’t show a 50 foot cliff…..

Option B it was, we stayed high in the pass and then started working our way down to the creek. Lot’s of awkward scrambling, sketchy creek crossings, loose talus slopes, steep nasty creek bottoms, a couple of 75 foot waterfalls that weren’t on the map.

Looking back on one interesting section that we successfully navigated.

It was also great bear habit with the buffalo berries in full bloom. It’s these kinds of things that kept Jo and I alert!

1000 meters in decent later and countless, “hey bear, yo bear,” at top decibels, we were excited to meet back up with the trail. We stopped for lunch and saw a few folks coming our way. We found it odd to see other humans at first. It was such a beautiful location, a wonderful long weekend in the Alpine. I must keep the location of this trip undisclosed, as Parks Canada does not encourage this kind of use. For good reason too, it is a virtually untouched area that certainly does not need any tourist traffic.

A rare spotting of the skookum wild woman.

The famed Edith Cavel in prime climbing condition.

Our friend Raven.