Tag Archives: hiking

Skoki Trip


Upper Skoki Lake with Pika Peak

Have you ever woken up then realized you’ve reached an important milestone in any of your relationships? I did – two weeks ago was my 5th anniversary with Mr. Bean. How did that happen? I guess time flies when you’re having fun!

Skoki Trip-1

Mr. Bean and I Hiking In

To celebrate, we went out to Skoki Lodge in Banff National Park in behind Lake Louise Ski Area. My mom and I backpacked in the area last year – we visited the lodge for tea to dry off after a huge thunderstorm. The funny thing is that it started raining (albeit much lighter than last year) in about the same spot. Fortunately, we didn’t have to hide under a tarp and we got to the lodge before it really started raining.


Ptarmigan Lake (Click to View Larger Pano Shots)

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Mr. Bean and Ptarmigan Lake

It’s incredibly beautiful up there – wonderful meadows, great views of mountains and turquoise lakes.


View toward Skoki Lakes

On the second day, we hiked up toward Merlin Ridge. Poor Mr. Bean was sick, so he went back to the Lodge before the lake, but I kept hiking up with a group of ladies who were also staying at the Lodge up to Merlin Ridge.

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Mr. Bean and I with Merlin Ridge and Mt. Richardson in the Background


Merlin Castle on the Way up to Merlin Ridge



Merlin Lake – Mt. Richardson is in the background – I totally climbed it last year!


Looking down the Merlin Valley toward where Skoki Lodge is.

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Hiking toward Merlin Ridge with the Ladies we met at the Lodge

It was really great to get some perspective on the Mountain that I climbed last year – Mt. Richardson. 10,000+ ft is really quite high!


View from Merlin Ridge toward Merlin Lake – Mt. Richardson on the right.

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At the Top of Merlin Ridge

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Me and Mt. Richardson from Merlin Ridge

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The Ladies I Hiked Up With

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Mt. Richardson with a Cairn

Overall, it was a great trip – excellent food, good company and beautiful hikes despite the periodic rain.

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Mr. Bean and I in front of Skoki Lodge

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A “Fork in the Trail”

On the way out, we hiked past the Skoki Lakes we saw on the way in on the way to Packer’s Pass. It included a bit of scrambling through this cliff band, which was kind of scary but fun! I’m really glad that it wasn’t raining during it and that we were going up not down.

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Mr. Bean looking over the cliff we climbed.

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Our Scramble up the cliff to the Skoki Lakes

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Lower Skoki Lake


Upper Skoki Lake

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Mr. Bean Scaling Packers Pass


View Toward Ptarmigan Lake from Packer’s Pass

Have you taken any interesting trips lately?


Filed under Life, Photography

2012 in Review


Decorations for the Baby Shower I Threw for a Friend – Inspired by InkObsessionDesigns

It’s already almost the end of January and 2013 has already started to pick up, so 2012 almost seems like a faint memory despite it being less than a month ago. Such is life, I guess.


Newborn Shoot for a Friend

2012 was definitely a year full of firsts, challenges and triumphs. I also apparently took way more photos than I thought – as can be seen with the accompanying collages (look at alt-text for descriptions!) I also finished my Photography Certificate of Achievement through SAIT – go figure that procrastinating me has yet to submit my form to get the actual certificate.


Annual Field Trip

In 2012, I got my first “Real” job, watched one of my siblings get married,  Shot a wedding as the Primary Photographer, climbed a 10,000ft Mountain and sent out a Christmas card and letter. You know, small things like that.

Right to left - Living Room, Bedroom Dresser, Dining Area, Upstairs game area; View from Deck

House my Family let for my Brother’s Wedding

First of all, I learned a LOT at work. Not just technical stuff, but things about myself like how I am more capable than I think I am and that I can survive through embarrassing situations where I wish the floor would swallow me up as have fun to boot!

Okay, I’ll fill you in – at the end of August, I went up to Fort St. John on a field trip and I was so out of it on the first day that I dropped my glass of water on the floor (and all over myself) while at the client’s office. Go me! Despite being super spastic, I ended up having fun, but it could also because I have a tendency to get incredibly hyper when I’m really, really tired. I’ll keep believing the former as it makes me feel better about myself.

Lottie, Dad being silly, Fun with the Camera and Campfire

Summer Fun at the Cabin

Mr. Bean and I also spent a fair amount of time at the cabin having fires. I ate waaaaaay too many s’mores, but I justify it by saying that I’m making up for almost 12+ years of not eating them. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Sunsets on Vancouver Island, Seal at Leisure & Mr. Bean with his fresh shrimp.

Vancouver Island

I also learned that I need to be better at taking care of myself. There was a period in June and July (before I went on a glorious vacation) that all I did was work, ride my bike to and from work, eat and sleep. I had no desire (or time) to do anything with other people. Not exactly the best example of enjoying life to its fullest. Or at all.


Friend’s Engagement Photos

While shooting my first official wedding, I gained even more respect for wedding photographers – everything happens SO quickly and you can really only hope that you’re able to capture everything and that it looks good. I was so happy that Mr. Bean helped me!

Shot with the help of Mr. Bean!

Friend’s Wedding Photos

I did manage to do a bit of hiking in 2012 – first I went with my parents to Mt. Lipsett in Kananaskis, Piper Pass in Kananaskis with my family while my sister was visiting, the Plain of the Six Glaciers in Lake Louise with my mom (where we saw a huge chunk of ice fall off a glacier – very cool) and to Pocaterra Cirque with Mr. Bean during the height of the larch trees. I LOVE larch trees.

Top - Larch Tree Reflections, Mr. Bean and I, My Mum on the Elbow Trail, View from Mount Lipsett, Chateau Lake Louise, My parents on Mount Lipsett & Larch Trees in the Pocaterra Cirque

Hiking in 2012 – Mt. Lipsett, Piper’s Pass/Elbow Trail, Lake Louise – Plain of the Six Glaciers, Pocaterra Cirque

My mom and I also went on a backpacking trip into the Skoki area in behind Lake Louise ski hill in Banff National Park. There, we climbed Mt. Richardson – take that, fear of heights! – my first 10,000 ft peak. We had a few issues with weather (hiking in the pouring rain isn’t the most fun), with our camp stove, forgetting sunscreen only to realize that there was some in the care after we went back to the Lake Louise townsite to get more and thinking that sunscreen was lotion, but we still had fun. We also ate delicious dehydrated meals, similar to our previous meals. The area was so beautiful that I convinced Mr. Bean that it would be a good idea to head to Skoki Lodge for our 5th wedding anniversary this year (in the same cabin that Will & Kate stayed in when they visited in 2011!)

Neat Ice, Mt. Richardson (totally climbed that!), Scarily Tame Marmot, View from the top of Mt. Richardson, View from Mt. Richardson to Lake Louise, Alpine Creek, My Mom atop Mt. Richardson, Hiking In

Annual Backpacking Trip with my Mom

The year ended well and poorly – we celebrated a wonderful Christmas with both sides of our family and I baked a lot. Unfortunately, shortly after Christmas, I got the flu which eventually morphed into viral Bronchitis. I guess it was okay – it’s only because I was sick that I made all these storyboards!

Mysterious Clouds over moon, Ocean Dusk, View from Parking Lot, Star Trails, City Lights from Cabin

Night Photography

What are the best moments of 2012 for you?


Filed under Life, Photography, Thoughts

Fall Hiking in Buller Pass

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! 🙂



Filed under Photography

Another Backpacking Trip to Remember

Maude Lake - Click for Larger Image

Every time I go out to the mountains, it makes me want to return the moment I leave. Last week’s backpacking trip to Kananaskis with my mom was no different.

I thought I was going to be really nervous about the whole experience – I guess I got rid of most of the first time jitters last year – but the moment I slipped on the much lighter pack than last year, I was good to go. It took us a bit longer than expected to hike in the 8 km (5 miles) – apparently it takes much longer to get somewhere when you’re carrying a 50 lb backpack and it’s over 25C (77F) outside.

Photo for this week's Good to Wow Photo Challenge

We set up our base camp at a lovely campground called Forks (aptly named as there are many rivers and streams meeting). One of the reasons why I liked it was because it had a communal eating area with fire pits and bear lockers. I think bear lockers are fantastic as it means you don’t have to string all your food up and hope that a bear won’t get it.

Lower Kananaskis Lake by the Trailhead - Click for Larger Image

Upper Kananaskis Lake - Click for Larger Picture

Speaking of bears, there were a few bears in the area while we were there. My mom and I didn’t see any, just lots of scat. The thing with bears is to make as much noise as you can and if you see one, to respect it by quietly backing away and letting the bear move away. I was glad to have my mom there as she has lots of experience with bears from working in the field and thus isn’t paralyzed by the thought of meeting one, so that helped me not to be so afraid of them.

You definitely get to meet some interesting people while backpacking. One of the other groups that was there while we were was a family of eight: a mom, 5 siblings ranging probably from 18 to 6 (4 boys and 1 girl), a girlfriend, a cousin and their dog. They made popcorn and baked potatoes over the fire every night, brought up a huge kettle and went to bed before dark. All the younger boys spent their time running around with their burnt walking sticks and jumping in the glacier fed river, so I guess it’s no wonder why they all went to bed so early!

My mom and I went on two hikes – one up to Turbine Canyon, Maude Lake and the North Kananaskis Pass (~20km) and the other to Three Isle Lake and South Kananaskis Pass (~16km). Both had pretty big elevation gains but the views were definitely worth it!

Self Portrait at North Kananaskis Pass

View Near South Kananaskis Pass

Like on last year’s trip, I couldn’t resist swimming in an alpine lake. Holy man is it ever cold but so worth it!

For your entertainment - me swimming in an alpine lake

That's right, I swam in this lake - Click for Larger Image

It may surprise some of you that I took absolutely no photos of our food on this trip despite putting in lots of effort to make dehydrated meals. It could be because I was hungry and I essentially made the same things as last year’s backpacking trip.

I learned a bit about geology on this trip from my mom as she put stations in for various outcrops – did you know that a syncline is where the rocks on a mountain are shaped like a “V” and an anticline is where they are shaped as an “A”? Well, now you do. You’re welcome.

A mini lake on the way to Turbine Canyon - Click for Larger Image

I’m kind of sad that the trip is over – we were blessed with gorgeous weather and a great time. I was happy to see Mr. Bean, though!

How was your week?

*Please see all the rest of the SOOCs for this week’s body-of-water themed Good to Wow: Shoot and Edit Photo Challenge! I used the picture of the creek as the lake panoramas technically aren’t SOOCs as I used photoshop to put them together.


Filed under Life, Photography

This is My Backyard…

My Dad and I hiking on a ridge by Sunshine Meadows in the Rockies - our greater backyard!

What’s yours?

My selfie for this week’s “In your backyard” Selfie Saturday.


Filed under Life, Photography