Category: Blog

22 Nov

” The Wave ” Kanab – Utah – USA

Dani Tschudin / Blog / / 0 Comments

Have you ever experienced a day which started mediocre and then all of a sudden turns into one of the best day of your life ? For those who have heard of  ” The  Wave ”  or seen pictures or had the privilege to actually hike in there , no long story is needed .
But for those of us who could go there the first time , its a real story not soon to be forgotten .
For years we have  been going through Kanab and of course heard all the story’s of infamous wave , but also heard that it is a near impossibility to get one of the 20 permits given out per day . Apparently they can get up to a thousand permit requests online per day and only ten are hand it out that way for each day , the other ten are given out at the BLM Office via a bingo wheel lottery and often there is more than a 100 keener s standing in line for those 10 permits and by the way there always for the next day . So for years I brushed it off thinking I am not standing in line for 1 in a hundred chance , after all you unfortunately only have so much vacation time ! But thanks to our friends who like to enjoy the morning in a slower pace than this maniac who wants to get going at daybreak or earlier, I knew I had some extra time and so you guessed it I stood in line . First i have to give the BLM  staff credit for doing this gong show every morning and still keep smiling and you can still squeeze a few helpful tips out of them , great job and hats off  to all of them and their great humor. So after everybody is briefed on the do0s and donts , you get an application to fill out and you list how many in your party , truck license number etc. you then give the app. back to the master bingo wheel controller on which he  then writes a random number on it . You then watch everybody going through the motions and as the last guy hands his app. in , you can then feel the air thicken LOL . And now the first ball comes out and after assuring myself that I would not get in for sure , the number 22 is called and looking around nobody move a hand , that’s when I looked at my number and  by gully that’s me . Of course those standing around you give you a sort of thumbs up but when it is announced that there is 4 in my party , those thumbs where quickly exchanged with the ” seriously dude now there is only 6 left , not cool look . Its of course hard not to have a big smirk on your face but for your own safety LOL you keep the smirk to a minimum . Since the next guy also had four in his group this draw was over quick and everybody else was told to beat it in a funny way . I don’t know what being on cloud nine feels like but I was sure I was higher up than that . So being for once in your life a hero I am heading back to camp with all eyes on me I first looked all sad , just to whip out the permit and with a big yes showing the prize of the day . I don’t think they  really expected me to put them on the permit and where surprised that when I told them , we are leaving at 5 am sharp . Oh just a bit of a hint , if your the only photography nut job in the group , take 2 vehicles which I had to learn the hard way . Your permit , is from believe it or not Midnight to Midnight and knowing me I would have milked  it right to the end . So off we went in one truck and did get there before anybody else which struck me strange but hey that’s mister ants in his pants for ya . They actually give you a map with six pictures on it , 3 for the way in and 3 for the way out , which works great of course once you been in there its fairly self explanatory , even though you see foot prints going in every direction , so don’t be fooled . Its a nice hike in with interesting formations all the way to sand dune you climb before you see the wave. And trust me it is an almost overwhelming feeling and you got to hang on to your jaw for you can hardly believe what you are seeing . The sun was just coming up and I swear I did not know which way i should go , so after a few deep breaths I figured out which side to photograph in the am and the the other side in the afternoon . There was also a dark clouds looming in the distance and so I wanted to make the best of it. I was also glad that one of the BLM staff told me that not to be fooled and that there was a lot more to explore than just the wave , which incidentally is big standing in it but its not a large area of that particular wave shape and look . One piece of advise ( thus take 2 trucks ) spend as much time in there as you can for every corner and up and down you will find totally new looks and shapes. After about 2 hours I made it to a ridge right above the Wave where there was a small arch which I looked through just to see my wife jacket heading back out , so now I had a dilemma but of course I made the only right decision not to follow her LOL I knew she would be rock hounding on her way out and understood that some one had just thrown her husband in a cookie jar sort of speak and he was not going to come out until they where all gone . I did however reluctantly leave earlier then I wanted a few hours later . No matter if I had enough time or not , it was definitely the high lite of the trip . I will be looking at the photos in the cold Canadian winter , transporting my mind back to this marvel of creation which is as spectacular then anything I have ever seen .
A bit of a hint , some people will tell you that if you can not get a permit to the wave , that there is a consolation prize called the white pocket ! It’s about forty or so off road miles down the same house rock road , the wave is at . Trust me White pocket is in everyday as spectacular in it’s own way so don’t fret an head out there , go really early and come home after sun set !Its worth it to spend all day out there though the lite is the best early am and the last lite of the day . In between , enjoy let the blood flow , have some lunch maybe a snooze , its all good .

22 Nov

Star Gazing At Fischer Towers – Utah – USA

Dani Tschudin / Blog / / 0 Comments

There Is always those days you will for ever cherish in your mind and you can visualize the moment . Well on our road trip 2017 to Utah we got a special treat at the Fischer Towers 23 miles north of Moab Utah. We had been there several times but this time decided to do a late afternoon hike and then stay for the sunset and some star gazing , since there was no moon and the haze from the fires in California had finally diminished. Its always a great hike as you follow the trail around the steep walls of the these red mud piles  / walls and just when you think they cant get any bigger , you get the the view of the Titan which towers 900 feet above , truly spectacular. From the top you get some awesome  views of the Colorado River delta with the towering castle rocks and the sage blue and green dessert look as well as the Colorado river snaking through it . A great place to have your lunch and look down at the splendor of the valley , that’s if the wind is not trying to sweep you up . We watched a few base jumpers getting stuck on top of the Titan due to winds picking up and they ended up getting picked off the top in a risky looking helicopter rescue . I was told that they need at least 800 feet to jump safely and the the Titan is 900 feet you do the math not a lot of room for error and I would rather stick to the ground . As we wound our way back toward the trail end the sun started to set making the towers even more red and made for some great contrast shots , as you may have seen on the web site. With only a few climbers left in the campground things got really quiet quickly and so it was time to set up the the recliner deck chairs ( a must for every star gazer ) ! You then but on your warmer clothing since it cools down in the fall quickly . Crack a bottle of nice wine open , slice some cheese and crackers sit back and basque in the silence of this out of the way beautiful spot and let the show begin . It was so clear that night with nothing but action from satellites to plains and the space station going by as well . Truly amazing and the milky way stuck out like a sore thumb but looked a lot better LOL . For those who are really into star gazing , it might be wise to have a bit of cognac ready to warm the inside , just don’t drive anywhere. And so end another great tale.

PS. There is some great dry camping in the upper and lower onion creek sites , right across from the Fischer Towers road  and with even open roof outhouses so you can continue your star gazing , we loved it.
Also visit the  near by castle valley winery for a local taste of wine . And if you are looking for another way back to Moab you can turn off  at the Castle valley road and go up and over the La sal mountains which can be an aspen color – Rama in early September and a beautiful drive after which you end up just on the south side of Moab and then its time to hit the Brew Pub just as you come in to town with good pub food and a ” brewski “of course .

27 Jul

East Farnham Glacier

Dani Tschudin / Blog / / 0 Comments

A Day Out In The In The High Country

Though this is about  a trip from last year I, I often think about it ,  since the most unlikely thing happened when I got home from that day  !
But first a bit of a lead up to the end  .
The Horse thief drainage will get you to the turn off ( I think 39 KM don’t quote me on it ) heading into the side valley that contains the East Farnham & Commander Glacier .  Once you go pass the Commander glacier trail head the road soon crosses the creek and starts going up hill with gusto . However earlier in the summer you could get stopped about 1 KM or so before the top by the usual  yearly avalanche slide .
Also the last time I was up there the boards crossing the upper part of the creek were gone but you can skip and hop across and the cabin is only a short ways .
Once there , your desire is your guide and you can go in every direction you want to explore .
A nice scramble is when you keep to the left after the cabin and head toward black diamond peak which you can see from the bottom .
If you are real keen you could hike around black diamond peak and possibly see Shamrock Lake In the Delphine glacier area . I have not brought my self to loose altitude from the ridge , to go over there – yep getting lazy at 61 is OK LOL .
There is also small tarn and wild flowers galore hidden away just up from the cabin and another lake you will pass on the right on the way there .

After all the hiking chill with a beer by the cabin , enjoy the views and wonder what all the people might be doing in the lowlands ?

Anyway the strangest  thing happened as I mentioned at the outset ! When i got home my neighbor called me and said he has seen a gray cat or something sniffing around my truck and since we don’t have a cat i was not to worried about it .
Shortly after that call though , I had to run to town and when I started my Fj I heard the strangest noise and saw some fir flying ?? Of course  i shut the engine off right away . But then I kept hearing this whistling noise in distress !
I new birds don’t have fir ,  ( yes I am the smartest tool in my shed ) .
So reluctantly I took a peak under the truck but could not see anything . I took me quiet a while before I saw a tail hanging out between the gas tank and the heat shield and the color gave it away right then ”  it was a marmot  ” !!!
You got to be kidding me , this guy hitched a ride under my Fj all the way from Farnham Glacier to my House ?? Yes and if you ever had the same thing happened to you , then you know that they have sharp teeth but even sharper claws! It took an hour before we had him out from under there and in a garbage can and ready for transport back o the alpine.
I can only imagine the the culture shock to go from alpine to the concrete jungle of the world . He did seam happy once we released him and took off in a hurry , so would I have .
cheers so there you have it , not a story you would hear to often .

Dani

26 Jul

Perfect Timing

Dani Tschudin / Blog / / 0 Comments

Lead Queen Mine – Trail

Well , for just a few days the smoked cleared just when one thought all was lost this summer . I did a hike  in one of the side valleys of Frances Creek leading Up to The lead Queen Mine and then had the perfect night for star gazing from Camp .
Thank You Jerry for Letting Us Use The Cabin , Its always a complete experience no matter what .

I followed the hint of a friend about an old miners trail into a side valley one over from the Tiger pass area and was actually amazed on how these guys in the old days must of worked hard to build these trails , they certainly where cut from a different cloth no doubt.

After a relatively short hike you come in to the sub alpine and with that the flowers , as well and of it did not take  long before I saw some rotor tilling courtesy of Mr. Grizz but no signed of him . The alpine opens right up and you can go for just about any scramble in any direction . I followed the creek to the right and made it all the way to the top where I accessed a steep ridge knowing I could see down into the are with a few lakes and the Shangrila trail  head . What a splendid view in every direction , especial toward all the glaciers of North Star and Cat mount Thunder water lake area. I could also just see the edge of McLean Lake and to the left Buster lake , but just the edge of it  . Rather than returning the way I came I decided to scramble down the spry slope toward the small Lead Queen lake at the bottom .
I spend some time down there checking out the mine sites , old tracks , ore carts and so on . One of the carts was in the lake so I had to go for a dip and take a shot , refreshing .They build like 3 foot rock trails all over the place and one wished you could have been a fly on the trail to see and hear what was going on in those days .
To top it off i got to sip on some vino and watch a glorious display of the stars and milky way over head .

And guess what the smoke was back the very next day .

Whats next , well that depends on the smoke

Dani

16 Jul

Chalice Creek – Bugaboos

Dani Tschudin / Blog / / 0 Comments

Hike # 2 , second week of July 2017  – started at 5 am with the 85 some clicks from Invermere to the Trail head . The access road had been slashed out and so it was nice still to have some paint on the truck .
The road is in good condition !
Ah yeah an old trick I learned the hard way , turn your lights off and point the ride down hill , its a real bummer when you don’t and nobody else is on the same hike , don’t be like this dummy .
After leaving in Invermere in about 12 degrees I was a bit surprised ant the 4 Celsius at 7:30 am on the trail head which was fine this hot blooded mountain goat .
This one gets your pump going right of the bat and until you cross the river the first time . After that you follow an old skid trail which drags on a bit when you come out , I see some one had a bike with them and so had a nice ride out in stead . I don’t know if they had the bike dropped by a Helicopter since I seen the tracks on the hole trail . At 61 I would definitely spare me that pain to carry it up , but hey you young bucks , go for it !
There was some serious avalanche debris a bit further up , so you just want to kinda watch to re connected withe the trail again and it was rock hard from the compaction with a fair bit of trees in it . now that I have been here a few times I knew to look for the logs across the river a bit up from the slides , since the trail continues further up on the right side and takes you through a beautiful creek delta and great flowers in the tail end , depending on the snow load each year .
Once you are on the left side of the creek , its not long before you head up hill zig and zag  all the way until you break in to the nice sub alpine and larch stand ( its a beauty in the fall as well ) . As you start heading left and sort of following the path , you will first see a nice tarn and a nice plaque memorializing a valley old timer Hal Bavin  , he would be happy to know that his grandson Ryan , is now guiding people in that area surely telling his grandpa’s  tales . From there you basically just stay in the open and on the ridges , snow depending . You can literally go as far as the ridge will take you always getting super views of the Iconic Bugaboo Spires . My favorite is the top ridge and its very unique alpine carpet of sage greens and and some flowers with hardly any trees left thus bringing the spires in full views.
Go over the last hump and you will get a view of 4 nice alpine lakes with unique colors and if you a sucker for a bit extra punishment , like me you can hike down the very bottom lake and feast on  the color of that see through lake and the boulders in it . And while your having lunch and a possible dip , it may well come to your mind , ? asking and  wondering ?  what the city slickers would be doing right about now looking at their concrete jungle ?  LOL . After a must alpine snooze ( bug depended ) Gas up on mountain fresh water and a protein bar before you head out out and back down the trail . Happy trails . They will serve you a cold beer should you get to the CMH Lodge if you get there before 4 PM .

 

 

 

 

15 Jul

Gorman Lake Near Golden BC

Dani Tschudin / Blog / / 0 Comments

First week of July Well , it’s was time lace  on the old hiking boots and this time from Golden were we parked our trailer along the kicking horse river and the breeze tho warm kept the pesky mosquito’s in check !

Tho a bit of a drive from Golden the road proofed in to to bad a shape except for maybe the last few clicks and though there was a big avalanche across the road it was literally right where you normally park anyway !
A nice and easy hike to the lake with really no snow to speak of until I got to the Lake , where the ice was just breaking up . So after a bit at the picnic table and by the canoe it was up the hill with jack and Jill LOL . You might want to stay out of the canoe unless you can swim fast ! As you trek higher the snow patches became bigger and  turned in to the old crotch sinker making for Jilled toes which actually felt good in the heath of the day. I went to the left up to the pass to see if I could spot my friends on the pass coming from Holt Lakes !
And though I kinda figured they may not make it , lone and behold it was not long before the appeared on the pass . They had started the day before by taking the kicker Gondola and slogged across a few ups and downs in the snow even having to camp on it since there was still plenty of it . So I watched them coming down the steep pitch from the pass hoping that neither would slip and have bum slide like a rocket to the the bottom . We caught up above the lake and they were happy I was there and to hike out and get a ride back to Golden . We ended the day with a glass of wine and pizza .

27 Nov

Fantasy Canyon – Near Vernal – Utah – USA

Dani Tschudin / Blog / / 0 Comments

Road Trip – yes it finally came on September 18th. and towing the trailer we were off on our adventure and heading south through Idaho , Wyoming , Utah , Colorado and our final destination New Mexico .
To avoid Salt Lake City , we head east at Pocatello Idaho into Wyoming with nothing but wide open range land and hardly any traffic and well maintained roads .I do have to say  though , I don’t think I have ever seen so much road kill ever , yummy !
I really wanted to see Fantasy Canyon and so we stopped in Vernal UT. , where we got a few directions and food and off we went . It’s roughly forty miles from Vernal and mostly on paved roads except the last 9 miles of gravel road .
You are in oil country and so there is no shortage of pumps and pipelines on the way to Fantasy Canyon . As so often is true in the dessert one wonders where the road leads since there is little signs of a canyon anywhere .
But we did not have to wonder to long and a small sign pointed the way to our destination . Not a soul sight we had all the room to arrange our trailers just the way we wanted .

Fantasy Canyon is certainly different then any other canyon we have seen and it is a relatively small area but cramped full of very strange features and as the the name Fantasy indicates , you can let your imagination go wild , it was certainly a great experience !
We got to see it , at dusk  and after watching the amazing star filled sky , once more at dawn , with each giving you different shots . We all had to agree that this was the place to be for the amazing show of stars , meteorites but best of all a seeing the milky way in such away one seldom sees so it that intense ! And sipping on shot of cognac , you could say it was a perfect night . If you go through there , take the side trip to Fantasy Canyon we loved it .
PS. As you might see from the picture , the devil really does live in the USA LOL . But It s a good thing he is just mud ! Oh yeah , we were warned of the pygmy rattlers , which we never saw and for me that’s a good thing .

 

09 Sep

Jumbo Pass – Purcell Mountains – British Columbia

Dani Tschudin / Blog / / 0 Comments

Well maybe I hit the right day to do my last hike this year before heading south to Utah and New Mexico . Since I had not been up Jumbo Pass in over 6 years it seemed like a good Idea for a short notice and close by hike and so i hit the trail at day break and got an early start .

Since it is one of the more popular hikes around Invermere I expected some hikers but got to the pass without seeing anybody , though I would guess by the cars in the parking lot , that somebody was staying at the hut. The sun just came up as I got to the lake  or maybe lets call it a tarn and not a ripple on it  , just what the doctor ordered ! The alpine smell , the sun and the just the simple peace and quiet made this short hike even more worth it . I decided to take advantage of the clear sky’s which have been a rarity this summer ! So I headed up the the goat trail leading to Bastille Mountain and it was not to long before getting to the col , where  great views down to Jumbo Pass  captivated my eyes for a while before turning toward the ridge leading toward Glacier Creek . The ridge hike looked inviting , so off I went all the way to the last of the 3 knolls , always in expectation of seeing a billy goat sooner or later ! But in all the years of hiking it always  amazes me how they just seem to turn in to thin air or I am going blind LOL . So no goats this time but plenty of spectacular views in to Glacier Creek and It’s many glaciers and huge moraines , truly majestic .
Of course one needs to take in the views as long as possible and then it’s time as always , to have that alpine snooze and lone and behold no bugs or people , sweet .
Yes the timing was perfect and after snapping a few more shots , I could see the clouds return and what seemed like some smoke from the west kootenays . Unfortunately like always one has to peel him self of the top and off we go back to the unrealitys of the daily grind .
And as I am leisurely driving out Jumbo &  Toby Creek I could not help it but notice the upper avalanche slopes turning color already and so adieu to the summer that was not , but what a great day it was .

so long until the next adventure

cheers

Dani

16 Aug

Hamilton Lake & Emerald Lake – Yoho National Park – British Columbia – Canada

Dani Tschudin / Blog / / 0 Comments

Howdy , yes finally a new post , crazy summer and the strange weather did not help to get out . I was looking for a new hike and with a good forecast insight , I ended up in Yoho National Park . I first tried Lake O’ Hara but they are so over booked , they wont even take standbys any more ! It is obvious that our National Parks are getting over used and Banff , Lake Louise make your head spin when you see the buses , campers and a flood of people . Anyway I settled for another hike starting from the parking lot at Emerald lake up to Hamilton Lake . Go early or you might have to hike an extra KM just to get to the parking lot LOL. The 5.4 KM trail winds up the mountain side in the trees and its nice and shady that is especially nice on the way down after being in the sun up top . It’s one of those straight up and straight down and good for the the 60 year old knees . Their is a few scrambles you can do while up there to either the end of the lake and up to the col on the right . Or the best one is when you get to the lake go up the right and start climbing the ridge on the left and eventually you will see the ever so beautiful Emerald Lake , well worth it. So hike on and enjoy
cheers

Dani