Many of Banff’s most serious hikers will tell you to avoid the Lake Agnes Teahouse hike at Lake Louise due to the crowds. The four hour round trip is appealing to families and those with less endurance, though the first two hours are definitely a fairly solid uphill. The truth is, some of the prettiest views in the world (not all) you will likely never see alone. The Lake Agnes trail has gorgeous views of the azure waters of Lake Louise as you ascend, along with a waterfall that cascades from Lake Agnes down the mountain below. And while there are multitudes of people at Lake Agnes, lined up out the door for tea and biscuits, and while the lake does not have the same distinct blue as Lake Louise, the water’s clarity made for a pretty mountain picture. Advertisements
On our descent from Crypt Lake on Waterton’s infamous Crypt Lake hike, a fellow hiker told us, “If you haven’t taken the path to the left to see the top of the waterfall, you gotta do it. I’m not sure what I was expecting with viewing the top of a waterfall, but it wasn’t this pristine, exceptionally colourful view of nature in its wildest form. You could hear the narrow falls beginning their roar from the creek’s edge, but other than that noise it was a peaceful haven away from the hoards of hikers, and a gentle respite prior to scrambling along a mountain ledge once again.
After recovering from the dizziness from being on a rocky scramble two feet wide with a thousand foot drop on the ledge, I finally felt brave enough to get my camera back out. This is the view of the hanging valley as you descend from the ultimate destination of Crypt Lake on this Waterton hike. The mountains of the western Americas all result from the same tectonic plate, and yet the differences between the ranges and even within the ranges are so vast. In the Rockies, Waterton’s mountains have a red underlay while Banff’s are greyer in tone. The Andes mountains of Peru are jungled while those of Patagonia are jagged. While I quest for more mountains and more mountaintop views, people have asked why I seek out mountains in other countries since we already have the gorgeous Rockies for just a short (or long, in Waterton’s case) drive away. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to explain it, so there’s a Robert MacFarlane quote to do it for me: “Those who travel to mountain-tops are …
The Crypt Lake hike in Waterton Lakes, National Park, Alberta is one of the most challenging day hikes I have ever done, both physically and mentally. Physically partly because I was in a bike accident four days before I did the hike and my knees were already wrecked, and partly because of the 32 Celsius temperatures. Mentally, it was a challenge because of my fear of steep drop-offs, especially when you’re scrambling on a two and a half foot-wide ledge with nothing but a bolted-in wire to hold on it. The end-point of the hike, before you descend and do it all again, is this gorgeous lake, which the hottest and most daring of hikers braved the ice cold temperatures and dived in to escape the heat. It made for a lovely spot to eat lunch and recover from the panic I felt while looking straight down into the Crypt Valley.
In the book/film Wild, Cheryl Strayed details how her mother always used to say that there was a sunrise and a sunset every day, and you simply had to be present for it, to “put yourself in the way of beauty.” We were enjoying beers at our campsite just outside the National Park gates. In the mountains, steaming hot days mean frigid nights, so every few minutes called for another layer of clothing. My eyes drifted from the powerful draw of the fire pit’s flames as I got up for another beer. To the west, the most beautiful pink sky was skirting over the distant peaks. Knowing that time was limited, I left my opened beer in the truck box, grabbed my camera and tripod, and ran out of the campsite towards the highway for a better view. I only brought my wide focal length lens with me, which is a huge regret, but time was of the essence, and I still think I managed to capture that pink hue acting like a gradient over the mountain top, …
El Chorro, or “the spurt”, lies an hour outside of Malaga, southern Spain. Once a destination for 20th century miners, turned into a haven for adrenaline-seeking hikers. What was once the miner’s footpath, the “Caminito del Rey,” became a decrepit series of railed walkways, leading to several deaths and the trail’s full closure. The boardwalk has been completed renovated as of 2015, so the fainter-hearted hiker like myself is now able to experience the beauty of the gorge.
Bit of a twist for this week’s Photo Friday – despite the fact that it happened back in November, I was finally able to put together my footage from my sightseeing flight over southern Iceland to the Holuhraun eruption into a condensed, single video.
Only in Europe would a bridge constructed in 1793 be considered a “new bridge.” The town of Ronda is constructed on the edges of the cliffs of El Tajo. Three bridges join the different parts of the town, plunging deep into the canyon. At night, the Puente Nuevo is lit up from below, creating one of the most scenic views I have ever had a pleasure of seeing while drinking wine on our B&B’s terrace, the Andalusian mountains in the background, the buildings perched on the ledges of El Tajo in the foreground.
In the province of Valencia on the Costa Blanca is the touristic town of Calp, visited not only for its long stretch of beaches but also for the iconic Penyal d’Ifach, a massive limestone outcrop emerging from the sea and linked to the shore by rocks. It is often compared to its southern counterpart, the Rock of Gibraltar, and is 332 metres high. You can hike up the Penyal d’Ifach thanks to a tunnel carved into the rock, though the steep cliff face and narrow pathway proves intimidating to some, as are the aggressive birds during nesting season. I chose instead to capture the rock from below, where it rises from the Mediterranean Sea, sheltering and protecting the town below.
50 kilometres west of Barcelona lies the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, nestled high up on the Montserrat mountain. The mountain cuts into the skyline like a handsaw. In Catalan, Montserrat literally means “serrated mountain.” Funicular trains and hiking trails take you all around the imposing mountain, once said according to Arthurian legend to be the site of the Holy Grail. But for me, it is more of a holy grail of a view.