Thursday, 2 August 2012

Bow Summit

High water levels around the Kinbasket Reservoir ironically caused my work to dry up.  To make matters worse, the weather in Valemount was lousy and curtailed any opportunities to enjoy the local natural history.  A new game plan had to be hatched and the idea of heading to Calgary entered the equation.  I have several relatives in Calgary, including an uncle that I had been hoping to visit - I called him up and he was glad to have Jamie and myself stay at his place.  Our plan was to make one stop on the way south and this is an account of said stop.

On July 23rd, we packed up, checked out and headed to Jasper, then made our way south on the Icefields Parkway.  Whenever Jamie and I make the journey between Jasper and Banff for work, we always take the opportunity to get a hike in, and preferably we'll end up in the alpine.  I was starting to get antsy to get out and stretch my legs roughly two hours south of Jasper when we saw a sign for the Bow Summit - that "summit" word was tantalizing enough to lure us in.  Neither of us had hiked the trail before, so we were hopeful that we could find some interesting plants.  The weather was unsettled and a little chill in the air dashed any hopes for butterfly activity.  The trail, however, did not disappoint in the slightest - we scrambled up very high into the alpine and watched the valley unfold into the distance to the north and I had to pick up my dropped jaw when I saw the glacial outflow into Peyto Lake!  I won't really ramble on any further about this outing and I'll leave it to the photos to say the rest.

The brilliant blue colouration of Peyto Lake is caused by glacial flour, which consists of fine sediments formed from glacial abrasion

Braided glacial flows cutting through sediment flats before draining into Peyto Lake - definitely one of the most impressive views I have encountered in recent memory!

These waterfalls spilling out of the alpine are the source of the braided channels seen in the photo above

I clambered up as high up as I could to get near this impressive alpine ridge

This is the kind of view that makes you feel like you're on top of the world

Bronze-bells (Stenanthium occidentale)

Spotted Saxifrage (Saxifraga bronchialis)

Brook Saxifrage (Saxifraga rivularis)

Wedge-leaved Saxifrage (Saxifraga adscendens)

Pygmy Buttercup (Ranunculus pygmaeus)

White Mountain-Avens (Dryas octopetala)

Tufted Phlox (Phlox caespitosa)

Dwarf Hawksbeard (Crepis nana)

Stalked-pod Locoweed (Oxytropis podocarpa)

Dwarf Sawwort (Saussurea nuda)

Sitka Mistmaiden (Romanzoffia sitchensis) - it must be said that this is a personal favourite

Western Paintbrush (Castilleja occidentalis)

Alpine Paintbrush (Castilleja rhexiifolia)

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus lateralis)

No comments:

Post a Comment