A Piece of Heaven

It’s called the Munn Creek Pass.  Ten miles from the ‘Escape cabins, up the gently rising Munn Creek Trail, to the base of the Pass and a well-established camp.  Another 2 miles, over a rise populated by Marmots and Picas, through a moose meadow and up the stiff climb to the top of the Pass – and one can only gawk at the magnificent vista into Willmore Wilderness.  No people (other than your hiking companions).  No sign of human habitation or destruction.  Just mountains and wilderness. The Mountain Goddesses – Lori, Irene and Brenda – joined me on this 3-night, … Continue reading

Hiking . . . LOTS of Hiking!

With Barbara and Mark (all the way from the UK!) in for a week before the July long weekend, we managed 5 solid days of hiking . . . despite the rain and unsettled weather!  Between rain showers on the Summer Solstice, we had a leisurely stroll along Munn Creek.  We saw that the Yellow Dryas was out in full bloom, along with Lung Wort and the start of the Labrador Tea bloom.  Our resident Grizzly was around – fresh scat and a few fresh digs.  Munn Creek has carved new channels and many trees along the bank succumbed to … Continue reading

Rock Lake Access Under Water . . . AGAIN

After over a year of assessing the situation, Alberta Parks (http//www.albertaparks.ca) sent heavy equipment to fix the Rock Lake Road access to Rock Lake and Willmore Wilderness on Tuesday, June 18, 2013.  We passed the fellow working the backhoe and grader on our way to the Osprey nest (the female is sitting, by the way – hooray!).  Surely, I think, surely they’re not going to just push more gravel on the road – like they did last year and have it all end up in the willow AGAIN.  NOPE – this year, in addition to pushing more gravel onto the road, a … Continue reading

More RAIN . . . and best laid plans

Soooo typically JUNE . . . Clouds hanging low and moving UP the valley – never a good sign.  As they say in Alberta:  Only bad weather and politicians come out of the east. Despite the rather dismal weather, we did get a short hike in on Saturday.  Jennie and Greg returned to the ‘Escape to introduce their two girls to the wilderness – and 2-year-old Avery carried her own backpack on our stroll to the Osprey nest.  Tessa, not yet walking, was content to ride on Dad’s back.  The female Osprey is not sitting on eggs yet, but the nest … Continue reading

Rain . . . and more RAIN

It’s springtime in the Rockies! And that means wet. The typically patchy weather of June has arrived, bringing with it rain, sleet, hail, snow, and the occasional glimpse of sunshine. All of this moisture does have its upsides though: the grass is green, the leaves are out, and the first wildflowers are beginning to emerge. One of our absolute favourites is the Fairy Slipper (Calypso Orchid), a tiny purple beauty. Despite the weather, our guests have made the most of the mountains. Karen and Judy, local artists from Edmonton, spent their days painting, writing, reading, and generally having a lovely … Continue reading

Green-up, great guests . . . and a Grizzly

May long weekend brings the start of the summer season along the eastern slopes of the Rockies. Poplars are shedding their leaf-bud coats, which promptly get glued to shoes and dog fur The first flower appears in the subalpine (the inglorious dandelion) New shoots of grass are poking through the drab brown of winter Mosquitoes make an appearance. These are the big B52 bombers that are S-L-O-W and heavy enough to feel land on you so you can whack one before she takes her pint of blood The migratory songbirds are trilling and chirping, busily establishing breeding territory, attracting mates and … Continue reading

HELP . . . .less

Our last volunteer, Becky, left for the season shortly after Thanksgiving.  Becky will continue her ‘Round the World’ journey, visiting a few more places in western Canada before meeting up with friends in the States.  Becky then says goodbye to North America, catching a flight to New Zealand and Australia for more adventures before returning to the UK sometime next summer. Becky brought such a wealth of enthusiasm to the ‘Escape!  Easily sliding into the routine at the cabins, learning the trails, flora and fauna of our area, Becky’s untempered delight at discovering different wildflowers, mushrooms, scenic views and wildlife … Continue reading

Scenic Winter Route To The Viewpoint

Following a successful Winter Wood Weekend (thanks to the wood crew!), Laura and Becky began preparing for Thanksgiving. Only snow flurries were forecast for mid-week, so we did not expect to wake up and find half a foot of snow outside on Wednesday morning – Rocky Mountain Escape had transformed into a Winter Wonderland once again! Although it has been sunny during the day, the nights are cool and there are still traces of snow in shaded areas. The puddles on the trail are also very icy so we decided it was best to pick up our non-4×4 driving guests at … Continue reading

Susan’s Last Hike – The Berland

It’s the last trek out for Susan, and our guests chose an elevation that they all could do together – the Berland Ridge! Susan and Becky set off with the group early Saturday morning in two vehicles, as Molly and Leo were keen to join in. We were still enjoying the beautiful Indian summer here at the ‘Escape so lots of extra water was packed. As we arrived at our starting point, we noticed the trees are now a shimmery golden colour, contrasting with the orange and red flora below.  The mushrooms are a struggle to find and the only … Continue reading

Flat Walks at Rock Lake

It’s been a glorious week of dry sunny weather which has made up for the wet summer. The autumn leaves are starting to fall and the nights are getting cooler. There have been some wonderful changes in scenery in the last two weeks. The viewpoint over the Rock Lake valley has changed from the lush green of summer to the oranges of fall. As summer draws to an end, the volunteers start to realise that the end of their stay at Rocky Mountain Escape draws nearer. It’s been Susan’s last week; she’s due to leave on Wednesday and Becky is leaving … Continue reading