The Photo Blogging Challenge is itself a threefold exercise in self expression: 1) articulation of thoughts through writing/blogging; 2) portrayal of feelings and views through photographs; and 3) declaration of belonging, to the community of PBC participants. The beginning of the month was a good time to reflect on the ways I express myself, such as cooking, gardening and photography. As the month progressed, events like the January 21st Women’s March and more widespread airport demonstrations in the US prompted me to think more broadly about the concept of self-expression. I am grateful that I have the right to hold opinions and share information and ideas through any media. I wish that for the world.
Canada celebrates Thanksgiving in October, but there’s a lot to be thankful for this month, too! Getting out and about to enjoy nature is a sure way to spark appreciation. Also this month, I was grateful to receive a ton of support from friends and family following knee surgery to replace my ACL. It’s a long road to full recovery and your good wishes and messages of support mean a lot!
Water! Here in Calgary, we open the nearest tap for instant access to unlimited, safe drinking water at a cost of roughly half a cent per litre. Inexpensive, ready access to clean water is easy to take for granted. And that’s reflected in my photos – water as an abundant, natural element. Part of what makes water amazing is that we can observe it all three states – gas, liquid, solid – within the temperature range that humans can tolerate. The fact that October is the month for the water theme means the timing is just right to photograph water in all of those natural states.
An awesome wildflower season hike, the Helen Lake trail is also a good option for early fall. It offers great views of Crowfoot Glacier across the valley, has a relatively modest elevation gain of just under 600 meters from trailhead to lake shore, and includes a long stretch of trail with expansive views of Dolomite Peak and several unnamed ridges and peaks. Upon reaching the scenic highlight that is Helen Lake, there are a few options to extend the day, including hiking to the Cirque Peak or a nice ridge walk above the lake.
The Stanley Glacier hike in Kootenay National Park has a lot going for it: 1) less than two hours from Calgary (under an hour from Canmore) it’s about the same travel time to/from as many of our favourite hikes deep in Kananaskis; 2) it’s pretty easy; 3) fossils; 4) new and old growth forests; 5) Mount Stanley, Mount Storm and Mount Whymper; 6) waterfalls; 7) a hanging valley; and 8) Stanley Glacier! After our second trip up and down the trail, we added Stanley Glacier to our list of all-time favourites hikes.
While Sunshine is most well-known for skiing, the summer gondola and shuttle bus service make Sunshine Meadows one of the most accessible alpine hiking areas in the Canadian Rockies from late June through late September. For some, its a starting point for backpacking adventures to Mt. Assiniboine or the Egypt/Pharoah Lakes area. For dayhikers like us, prime times to visit Sunshine Meadows are during peak wildflower season (usually towards the end of July) and peak larch viewing season (usually towards the end of September). Our most recent larch season visit was timed just about perfectly and reaffirmed that it’s well worth the effort to do at least one golden larch hike each fall.