It has been a busy summer for us here at Vagabond Lodge. Good and Bad. Good part is we are getting all sorts of great guests from around the world who are discovering all the great stuff to do in our area. Bad part is, I am not able to get out and play as much as I would like. Hopefully in the next month I can get some new hikes in as this is the best time of the year for hiking. It has cooled down a bit and soon the bugs will be gone. It has been a pretty great year for the bugs and weather.
One of my favourite hikes in the area is into Gorman Lake. It involves about an hour drive down a bad road unfortunately and it is getting worse. You need a 4 wheel drive or a truck with high clearance to get to the trail head. From there it is a 45 minute hike over a big slide that has created the lake. The lake is beautiful and you can go around to the other end. If you are a fisherman, there are some trout in the lake. You have to watch for bears so it is always a good idea to go with a group just to make sure.
This video is from a couple years ago but gives you an idea of the views.
One of the busiest weekends of the summer is coming up. And that means the hiking trails will be busy. Lake Louise, Banff, Jasper will be full. Why not get off the beaten track a bit and head to Glacier National Park?? It is just 45 minutes or so west of Golden and Vagabond Lodge. The hikes there are outstanding. They are all pretty tough but the payback is worth it. It will be busy no doubt but at least you won't be "bumper to bumper "so to speak as you will be in Banff.
One of my favourite in the area is Balu Pass which starts just behind the information centre at the top of Rogers Pass. Along with some friends, we did it a couple summers ago. It is about 6 hours return and winds its way through a beautiful valley with all sorts of waterfalls and wildlife. Balu means Grizzly Bear and we did spot one across the valley. He saw us and wandered away into the trees. It is a hike you usually have to do with at least 4 people. Amazing views from the top especially.
This video will give you an idea of the hike.
We have many gems in our area. One of them is the Columbia River which flows by the Golden. The Columbia is one of the major rivers in North America and we are just a couple hours from the headwaters of this river that eventually makes its way through Washington State and Oregon and into the Pacific Ocean. We have a special spot on the Columbia south of Golden called the wetlands. When the water level is high, which it is now, it overflows its banks and takes over the entire valley in a number of small tributaries, small lakes and marshlands. If you are into bird watching and wildlife viewing this spot is amazing.
A family operation called Columbia Wetlands Adventures has a great spot on the Columbia about 20 minutes or so south of Golden where they will take guests on a wetlands float trip, or rent them canoes, kayaks and standup paddle boards. A few days ago, 6 of us went for a canoe trip in the area. One of the owners, Chris loaded up the canoes and us in a van and drove us about 10 minutes further south where we put into the river at Parson. From there we basically paddled and drifted along for about 2 and a half hours before making our way into a lake which is formed by the river. They gave us a map and there are some ribbons and markers along the way to point us in the right direction. Anchored in the lake is a raft which we tied up and jumped into the water for a swim before having a picnic. From there it was a short canoe trip back to the starting point. Overall it took us about 4 hours. If you are in the area this is a can't miss experience.
The weather has been heating up in the past week and the snow in the upper elevations is melting which means the hiking is getting better and better. Yesterday we went for another ridge hike at Kicking Horse. This time we headed north from the top of the gondola. There is a game trail (lots of signs of mountain goats) that we followed below the ridge for about an hour where it ends at a slide path. After a short break we scrambled up to the ridge which takes about 15 minutes. It's a pretty easy scramble with lots of moss covered rocks and wild flowers. And once you are at the top you can just follow the ridge back to the gondola again. Over-all our hike was about 2 and a half hours and the views are stunning. The photo is from the top of the Stairway to Heaven chairlift on our way back with the gondola and the Eagle's Eye Restaurant in the middle of the frame looking south down the Columbia Valley.
Happy Summer!!! Kicking Horse opened this weekend for a sneak preview of what is to come. We went took the gondola both days to the top and took advantage of the awesome lunch they have at the Eagle's Eye Restaurant. Along with some friends and guests we also hiked to the top of one of the mountains to the south of the resort called T2. The route is not great because there are some steep pitches. They resort is going to do some work on the trail this summer to make it more accessible which is great. The views from the top are really stunning in all direction. It isn't a long hike(45 minutes) but well worth it. Sunday we finished off the day with a drink on the patio of the Eagle's Eye and then had an early dinner at Peaks Grill at the bottom of the resort. Great burgers. Friday June 27th the resort opens for the summer daily. It was great to see so many people taking advantage of the great sightseeing, hiking, mountain biking and enjoying the weather.
This is always a great time to see bears in our area and this year is no different. With a lot of snow in the higher elevation, and not a lot of heat yet, the best place for the bears to eat is along the road side where the grass is turning nice and green. Regularly on our trips up and down the mountain to Golden(10 km) we see black bears. Yesterday on my way down, just after I left Vagabond Lodge there was a mom and 2 cubs. I stopped and she guided them across the road. The cubs were the smallest I have ever seen. Amazingly small. Further down the hill was another single black bear and then on the way up the hill an hour or so later was another mom and two older cubs. I have seen up to 13 bears in one trip a few years ago. In a few weeks, once the food supply increases they will move further up the mountain and you don't see them as much. Especially when the weather gets warm. And in the fall, as they get ready for hibernation they come down again. But it is pretty cool. A new neighour who has just moved from Jackson Hole Wyoming said she has seen more bears in the past two days here then in 20 years living in Jackson Hole where there are also supposed be bears.
Our 10th Season winter season came to a close yesterday. And what a closing day it was. Wow!!! The skiing was fabulous as a group of us did the hike to T2 one last time where we found 10 cms of nice powder skiing. A friend Terry who is pictured here did it for the first time and loved it. It is an adventure and a great accomplishment as it is not an easy climb at the best of times.
And even the bottom part where it was considerably warmer was still nice. I have never seen such great conditions to end the season and this was our latest closing date ever.
A tradition here at Vagabond Lodge is a pot-luck dinner with a group of friends here on the hill and in Golden. We must have had about 40 people show up with some great food and great conversation. A fun way to end the year.
Now we have a few weeks break and get ready for the summer season. Vagabond Lodge will reopen on May 16 for our Long weekend in Canada which is called Victoria Day. Golden is hosting it's first ever Golden Mountain Festival and will be showcasing the "Swiss Guides" who were a big part of the history of this area.
Click Here for a link to the events going on.
"Crazy Good" skiing at Kicking Horse. Boot top powder at the top and making fresh tracks. And it didn't get sticky until almost at the bottom. April 19th!! One more day...to end Vagabond Lodge's 10th Season. Great atmosphere and a lot of new people realizing what a great mountain we have.
Hard to believe our 10th season at Kicking Horse is coming to a close. When the resort announced they would be open until April 20th I was sceptical whether the snow would still be around. That certainly is not an issue. We could be open for a few more weeks from the looks of it. We received in some places another 10 cms a couple days ago. I went up with Patrick from Selkirk Sports to T2 and found nice untracked powder yesterday. We didn't go up until about 1pm and it looked like there had only maybe been a couple of other people up there ahead of us. It wasn't until we got about 2/3 thirds of the way down before it started to get mucky and that was a challenge on the knees slugging our way to the bottom. It was back to the top of the mountain to the Eagle's Eye for a beer after that which is a great way to end the day. If you are thinking of coming skiing next winter, love to have you stay with us. Give us a call 250 344 2622 or email email@example.com.
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