Have you ever heard of the Larch tree? It’s a deciduous conifer tree that loses its needles every year after giving off a spectacular show of fall colours.
When I went hiking last week with my mom, we hiked up to Buller Pass in Kananaskis Country, which fortunately for us had many larch trees at the peak of their golden-yellow colour. Pretty, aren’t they?
One thing I did learn was to be aware of what settings your camera is at. First, I didn’t realize that my camera was on manual (I usually keep it on aperture priority to counteract my absent-mindedness), so my photos at the beginning were very under exposed. This one looks pretty cool though.
Then I didn’t realize that I had my camera on spot metering for some reason, so many of the photos were over exposed in the camera’s attempt to make the point of focus middle grey. Ooops. So please learn from me and actually pay attention!
The hike to Buller Pass is definitely worth it – it’s just over 14 km long with 670m elevation gain. The trail head starts on the other side of the road from the Mount Buller Rest Area, on the Smith-Dorrien Spray Lakes Trail. (About 30 km north of where the road takes off of the Kananaskis Lakes Trail in Peter Lougheed Park off of Highway 40.) You first start by climbing through the trees and you will cross Buller Creek a few times.
As you start climbing, you will hike through the remnants of the prescribed burn area done in August/September 2011 (an attempt to battle some of the pine beetles that are taking over). Unfortunately, it appeared that it got a bit out of control and burned down a large patch of spruce and larch trees in the sub-alpine.
You will come across a pretty little waterfall. Since it frosted the night before, part of it was still frozen.
Then you will continue to climb until you reach a valley with tons of larch trees.
View Looking Down the Valley
There’s also a lot of neat geology on this hike, including some neat looking fossils. (My mum will soon be publishing a “Take a Geology Hike” pamphlet on this hike, so if you’re interested, let me know and I can give you the link when it comes out.)
View Up the Valley to Buller Pass
From there, you will continue to climb up across some talus slopes until you reach Buller Pass. It looks a lot harder than it is, but it goes by pretty quickly and affords amazing views. From there looking east, you can see Ribbon lake and Guinn pass (on the right.)
Click for Larger Image
If you look west, you can see Mount Assiniboine (on the right).
My mom and I managed to do this hike in just over 5 hours, which included plenty of picture and geology breaks.
This hike was definitely worth your while – we had absolutely beautiful weather, amazing views and fabulous fall colours. I definitely recommend going in the fall to see the larches in their splendour, but I imagine it would still be very pretty during the summer as well.
Where is one place that you like to visit in the fall?
Many of these shots are Straight Out Of the Camera and shared at this week’s Orange themed Good to Wow: Shoot and Edit.
One of the shots of my brother and his fiance was nominated as one of the top SOOCs in September (Thanks Jill!) – please go and vote for me!