Banff and Jasper

Early last month, I took a week-long trip to Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta, Canada. It was a spectacular trip with non-stop gorgeous scenery. You can see some of it in the gallery below:

Moraine Lake   Mountains and Lake thumb

I had the opportunity to go on a couple of day hikes. Perhaps my favorite (and the favorite of many others, as it’s one of the most popular hikes in the region) was the Plain of Six Glaciers. It features lakes, glaciers, and even a backcountry teahouse! What more could you ask for? You can read all about it in the trip report.

Lake Louise   Lake in the Distance thumb

This following picture was from the Upper Falls at Johnston Canyon, which features a short hike to two waterfalls.

Johnston Canyon   Upper Falls thumb

Beyond the waterfalls is a more strenuous hike to an area called the Inkpots. There, multiple pools of water fill from underground wells. Each pool fills at different rates, which leads to different levels of silt, causing the "inkpots" to take on different colors. Here’s one of them:

Johnston Canyon   Inkpots I thumb

And here’s another:

Johnston Canyon   Inkpots II thumb

Another hike that I enjoyed was the hike from Bow Lake to Bow Glacier Falls. It’s an easier hike than the Plain of Six Glaciers, but is no less scenic. I’ve also written a trip report about that hike.

Bow Lake   Bow Glacier Falls II thumb

Surprisingly, one of the more enjoyable parts of the trip was the driving. Banff and Jasper are connected via the Icefields Parkway, an almost impossibly scenic highway. Mountains and glaciers tower over the road, constantly tempting you to pull over to take photos. I succumbed to that temptation many times.

Icefields Parkway   Waterfowl Lake Panorama thumb

It was a memorable trip, and even with a week, there were still places that I didn’t have time to see—​which makes for a convenient reason to come back!

More Wildflowers

It seems that I’m running into wildflowers even when I’m not looking for them. I did two short hikes near Pacifica last weekend, one to Milagra Ridge, and another to Mori Point. What I didn’t expect was to see fields of beautiful wildflowers.

DSC 9373 thumb

Not all of them are "wild," per se. Signs posted near Mori Point indicated that the city was experimenting with different ways of planting wildflowers, in an attempt to bring back the natural wildflower blooms. Perhaps the bloom will be even more spectacular in the years to come!

Waterfalls and Wildflowers

In addition to the Carrizo Plains, wildflowers have been blooming all over the SF Bay Area. I recently did a hike at Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, which is well-known for wildflowers each spring. Compared to last year, the bloom has been remarkable.

DSC 9110 thumb

The recent heavy rains have also caused waterfalls to be especially voluminous this year. This year, I did the Cataract Falls hike near Mount Tamalpais State Park for the first time, and found it very enjoyable. It’s a short hike, with multiple waterfalls along the way to keep your eyes busy.

DSC 9012 thumb

I also took a trip to Yosemite National Park to see Bridalveil Falls and Yosemite Falls. Both are particularly impressive this year. The approach to Bridalveil Falls, in particular, will feel like being in a hurricane!

DSC 9215 thumb

Carrizo Plain Wildflowers

This past weekend, I took a trip to see the wildflowers at the Carrizo Plains National Monument. The "superbloom" definitely lives up to its name, with entire fields and mountains covered in colorful flowers.

DSC 8953 thumb

Check out the entire album!

Glacier Point Hikes

Happy New Year! In 2016, I made two backpacking trips to Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park—​once in the spring on cross-country skis, and once again in the summer as a normal summer hike.

I’ve posted new photo albums from both trips:

You can also read my trip reports as well: