Cooler autumn temperatures and a bit of precipitation finally put out most of the forest fires in BC and Alberta. As the skies cleared and the summer crowds thinned out, we closed out the 2017 conventional hiking season with an up and back hike to the high point along the Iceline Trail in Yoho National Park. The majority of the trail is across barren landscape that was covered by glaciers just a hundred years ago. Pioneering alpine shrubs added touches of warm, fall colour to the rocky terrain - a beautiful contrast to the icy pools of turquoise glacier melt.
Autumn is our favourite season, and it comes early to this part of the world. Peak colour usually happens in September. But in October, later sunrises and earlier sunsets make it easy to get out at just the right time to enhance lingering fall colours with golden hour light. Since Canadian Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday in October, "Thanksgiving" was the obvious connecting theme for these photographs, all made over the Thanksgiving long weekend spent in Canmore.
One of our favourite destinations during wildflower season, Grizzly Peak is also a solid option for larch season. Less well-known than the crowded trails around Lake Louise, it's a half-day hike that's easy to extend with a ridge walk or an exploration of Pocaterra Cirque.
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.
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.