It's that time of the year. One day beautiful and sunny and warm and the next day cool and raining. And on the cool and rainy days(like today) that means it is snowing at the top of Kicking Horse. As I am writing this later in the afternoon, they have recorded over 12 cms of snow at the top and it is starting to move on down. We usually start to get snow staying on the ground at Vagabond Lodge at the end of October but every year is different.
The photos are from the top this morning at Kicking Horse. Reminder if you are looking at coming here this winter we have a "Early Bird Discount" that ends on November 1st. Give us a call here at Vagabond Lodge toll free in Canada at 1 866 944 2622 or international 250 344 2622 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Another Summer at Kicking Horse has come to an end and it was a great one. Awesome weather and great guests. We finished it off with another beautiful ridge hike with some friends and then ended up at the Eagle's Eye Restaurant for lunch. We have a group of Aussies with us for a couple days(25) and then Vagabond Lodge closes until ski season. Reminder we have a Early Bird Savings if you book before November 1. Give us a call at 250 344 2622 or toll free in Canada at 1 866 944 2622 or email email@example.com
Here are some photos of today's Hike.
I have been talking to Kicking Horse Resort for years about improving their hikes on the ridges. The views are amazing but some of the trails were a major challenge and access was limited to only a few.
My favourite has been to the top of T2 which is south of the Gondola. It used to involve a few places where you had to scramble up a pretty steep slope, and a few places on the way down where it was best to go backwards at times.
Well that is now over. The resort has built an awesome trail to the top of T2 for summer hiking. There are rock steps built into the steep sections which makes for an easy hike to one of the most majestic views you will see anywhere. I went up for the first time on Sunday to check it out and the best review was the fact there were hikers everywhere of all ages on the trail. This trail cannot take a back seat to anything in the National Parks.
You can go from the top of the gondola to the top of T2 now in 30 minutes or even less. There is a trail that you can continue the hike for at least another 30 minutes if not more continuing south along the ridge. Hopefully this is just the start.
Congrats to the resort for this.
Yes, it is hard to believe the summer is almost done. We have even had some snow already although it has since melted. The gondola and grizzly bear is open for the weekends only until September 28th weekend which is a treat for us here. We have been taking advantage of going to the top for some ridge hikes which are fabulous. We had a great group last weekend from around the world stay with us. It was a reunion of friends who get together every 2 years somewhere different. We put together a great weekend event for them including catered dinners at Vagabond Lodge, along with a trip to Columbia Wetlands Adventures which is one of our favourite spots. It is located on the Columbia River about 20 minutes south of Golden. They all went for a canoe or raft trip, some went swimming and we had a catered picnic on the side of the river. It was a perfect day.
Vagabond Lodge will shut down after September 28th for a well deserved break and reopen for ski season.
I did this hike the other day for the first time at Kicking Horse. Actually it was a lot better than I thought and it took less than 2 hours with a lot of stops to pick huckleberries. The views once you start back up through the bowl are not great but still very interesting. It is a good work-out because there is a lot of elevation gain in a short distance.
This is the description from the Kicking Horse website.
Bowl Over Loop:
Return Time: 2.5 Hours
Description: The Bowl Over Loop starts at the top of the Golden Eagle Express Gondola and makes its way down CPR Ridge dropping in elevation until you reach Tower 15 of the Gondola line. Views along the ridgeline are magnificent with vistas of the Dogtooth Range, Blaeberry Valley, Golden, Rocky Mountains, and Columbia Valley. Truly magnificent. From tower 15 you start your heart pumping assent up through the natural beauty of Bowl Over. Gaining elevation with every step, you will be taken in with the scope of the size of Bowl Over itself. The trail heads up through large rocks, alpine meadows and along natural moraine features before its steep final leg that finishes you back up at the summit of Kicking Horse.
One of my favourite hikes in the area is Iceline trail in Yoho National Park. It is about a 45 minute drive to the trailhead at Takakkaww Falls. I have always made it a 2 day hike with a night in Little Yoho at the campground. Some stay at the Alpine Club Cabin at the same area. But you can certainly do it in one day and takes about 8 hours or so. It is such a beautiful hike, it is one to savour. This video was done by son Kori. I think this is the best in the Rockies. After about a 45 minute climb, it is all over moraines with glaciers and small creeks and lakes. You are pretty exposed so pick a nice day with no chance of rain.
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.