Spring Hike – Alpine Meadow

While waiting for paint to dry, what better way to spend a gorgeous Spring day than climbing a mountain?  My hard-working helper, Caroline (from Germany), and I both needed a break so on with the packs and hiking boots! No brave wildflowers out on the trip up, but the birds were singing and there was a lone Big Horn Sheep ewe grazing on the adjacent slope. Lunch at the top was rewarding as always and Caroline discovered the joy of bum sliding on the way back down. Caroline has now gone on to her next adventure, the painting is done … Continue reading

Special Thanks to Special Friends

David A friend of the ‘Escape since its inception lo these many years ago (around 20 years, I think).  David usually comes up to the cabins every year or so, pitching in wherever an extra set of hands is needed and taking a ‘nature break’ from his otherwise frantic, high-demand schedule.  This year, David didn’t get much of a respite up here and shortly before he left last Thursday said “Gee, Laura, I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard!!”.  Next time, David . . . John From the UK, found us through the HelpStay web site and figured he … 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

First snowshoe of the season

With guests arriving on Friday for a weekend get-away, I made the trip into civilization on Thursday to pick up fresh supplies.  Lots of wildlife were out and about that day, including several grouse, a group of Mule Deer, a few White-tailed Deer and two Golden Eagles slumming with the ravens on a road kill. The temperature was exceptionally mild for the weekend, and Cheryl and Paul were keen to try a short snowshoe trek.  So, down to Rock Lake where the ‘shoeing would be relatively easy, and on to the flat terrain around the Equestrian Overflow, Jackson Creek and … Continue reading

The Willmore Wonderland!!

Now that we are into the month of August, we have noticed a number of changes with the wildlife and flora in the Willmore area. In the first week, we found two Little Brown Bats nesting under the shutters of the cookhouse. They were not happy when Laura welcomed them to daylight earlier than expected and they decided to climb up into the beams for the rest of the day. Upon darkness, while walking from the cookhouse to the loft, Becky has seen bats swooping down to eat the flies her torch (aka “flashlight” in Canadian English) attracts. Susan was lucky … Continue reading

Sunshine, rain and horses!

The past week has been turbulent, weather-wise. As we say in Alberta, if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes! A mix of sunshine, rain and violent storms every day is not helpful when deciding on suitable hiking trails for our guests. On Tuesday we attempted an early walk around Rock Lake with a young family, but we were soon turned back by a lightning storm that progressed for the rest of the afternoon and evening. This was not a disappointment however; as they preferred to have a lazy day after the busy time they had spent touring around … Continue reading

MOUNTAIN ADVENTURES

A few days of fair weather mid-month found us slogging up the Alpine Meadow (aka Avalanche Chute) in search of wildflowers and spectacular views.  We were not disappointed! Nor, by the way, were the mosquitoes deprived of fresh blood . . .We gave up on having lunch on the ‘saddle’, electing to make the short scramble to the top and being rewarded with a nice breeze to keep the bugs at bay. THEN CAME THE RAIN . . . Gentle, steady rain for a day and a half.  Nothing that good rain gear and rubber boots can’t handle, right?  CAUGHT!  Four … Continue reading