Monday, December 1, 2014

CR2014: Return to Talus

The next day of our Canadian Rockies trip, July 18th, we flew to Talus Lodge (you must fly in) for a three-night stay. This was our second trip to the lodge, which we had first visited in 2010.

I'm mostly clipped out of this photo taken inside the heli.

When we arrived the smoke from forest fires to the north had drawn a thin veil across the sun.

This concatenation of three clips shows some of the helicopter operations. All passengers, staff, and supplies reach the lodge by helicopter.

The lower level of the lodge holds four rooms; the upper level has the kitchen, lounge, and dining areas.

The wash-house, connected to the lodge by a walkway, holds the sauna, showers (pour-it-yourself style), and toilets.
In the early afternoon we set out on our first hike. All hikes here are guided; there are no trails as such. There were eight guests, including two youngsters, and two guides, including the owner, Chris.
Joan and I had chosen this time of year to see the spring flowers. This is probably an alpine buttercup.
Springtime also features plenty of bird activity. This is a juvenile gray-crowned rosy finch.
Chris led us around tarns (seasonal pools) and up moraines, gaining altitude. The lodge is at 2300m, or 7600', so we needed stops to catch our breath. In this photo the lodge is barely visible at the extreme left, below the horizon; click to enlarge. The large lake never dries up.
Our other guide was wearing sporty bandages, supporting some tendons (ligaments?) in advance of a marathon (or was it a triathlon?) at the end of the week.
Alpine fireweed was blooming.
Twenty minutes after photographing the fireweed, I captured this image looking ahead. We will turn left up a side valley and reach the top of the dark bluff, known as Angels' Landing, right of center.
Parts of that climb were steep with shifting rock fragments, so Joan and I were glad to have our hiking poles. We could have done it without them, but our confidence level was much higher with them. Joan took my "summit" photo.
Here is a panoramic view from our summit.
As you can see, the nose of the landing supports a surprising amount of vegetation,
including this eight-petaled mountain avens.
After climbing down from the landing our group visited a waterfall and a natural bridge (alas, no photos). Back at the lodge, standing on the deck as dinnertime approached, I spotted two white spots traversing a high ridge. I suspected it wasn't a case of white rocks, and checked with my binoculars. It was an adult and juvenile mountain goat! Being a notoriously bad spotter, I was inordinately pleased with myself.

Dinner was wonderful -- all the meals here were. We looked forward to tomorrow's breakfast.