TOWER OF BABLE, BANFF, AB
WARNING: This is definitely more of a scramble than a hike.
Your scramble will look back over the breath-taking Moraine Lake, and will probably take you about 4 hours round trip.
Once you manage to get parking in the Moraine Lake parking lot, you will have to pass the rock pile lookout to reach the path that leads you to the base of the mountain that you’re going to climb. It’s not going to look like there is much of a path at all from this point on, and I’m not entirely sure that there’s a “right way” up, but you’re going to want to take the gully off to the left, directly under the tower. From there, you start your scramble until you reach the top.
CONCLUSION: I would only recommend this hike if you’re an experienced scrambler, or you consider yourself to be fairly agile on your feet. My best advice would be to be patient with this hike and take it slow because the rocks are loose and it’s easy to lose your footing. But, as always, the view is worth the climb.
PTARMIGAN CIRQUE, KANANASKIS, AB
This loop tucked away in a Kananaskis valley was significantly tamer than our previous hike.
It took us a total of 1.5 hours to complete, with a stop at the top of the loop for lunch.
The path was clear and moderately trafficked by other couples and families, which made for such a nice afternoon adventure, even with some gloomy weather.
CONCLUSION: It’s no rigorous hike, or full-day trip if that’s what you’re looking for, but it’s perfect for getting out of town to immerse yourself in the mountains.
EAST END OF RUNDLE, CANMORE, AB
My absolute favourite hikes are the ones where you are out in the open, surrounded by a view of the mountains the whole time, and this hike was pretty close to perfect. You start off with a brief hike through a forest, then you’ll emerge from the trees onto an open rock face for the majority of the hike, to top off it all off with a scramble.
The whole hike took Paul and I about 4 hours, 2.5 to get to the top, and 1.5 to get back down.
CONCLUSION: It’s challenging for sure, but there’s no better way to work on your cardio than surrounded by 360° of mountains.
QUARRY ROCK, DEEP COVE, VANCOUVER, BC
You’re right, this isn’t a Rocky Mountain, but Paul and I moved back to Vancouver the last week of August and we wanted to get one more hike in before the end summer.
This was actually the first hike that I’ve done in Vancouver (apart from the Grouse Grind. I’m not sure if that counts?), and I must say, it’s much different than hiking in the Rockies.
Paul and I tend to go for more open hikes, rock faces where you can see the peak that you’re climbing to. Vancouver hikes seem to be more submerged in the trees, but it’s such a fun change to reach the top and find a stunning ocean view!
Quarry Rock was a quick 1.5 hours, and its shade through the forest was very much appreciated on a hot day.
CONCLUSION: For my first official Vancouver hike, I can say that it was a really nice introduction, and I truly can’t wait to do more!
Until next summer, adventurers.