Hiking in the Rockies, Canadian-flavored, can be exhilarating.

The cool, crisp air is fragrant with the smell of fir and pine. The views can be spectacular. And for us on Monday, the weather was perfect…sunny in the low 60’s when we started, and mid 70’s by the time we reached the top.

This was a hike (called Bald Hills) that soon gave us second thoughts. At the trailhead, bear warnings were prominent – – indicating an active grizzly bear in the area. When there are bears nearby, the park warden may close the area, or recommend travel in a group of at least 4 people. We were two people short.

But this was our plan today and we’d traveled an hour behind some very slow tourists on a long mountain road. We were going, bear or not.  The picture below shows part of that mountain road.


We had to wait a long time to shoot it without any cars, campers, or buses. It was well worth the wait.

We saw two people ahead of us and counted them as part of our group. Now all we had to do is keep up with them… or at least allow them to be the bear detectors. However, if they decided to run (a no-no in a bear situation), we would need to be able to outrun them.

Looking ahead, a hundred yards up the trail, we sized them up… They were younger with longer legs and only one small daypack between the two of them. We were at the disadvantage … two heavy daypacks laden with camera gear and we won’t mention the other disadvantages. We would need to be alert.

The hike was a grueling trudge up an old fire trail through tall pine and fir forest. The trail wound steeply over 1700 feet in the course of 3.5 miles. The unrelenting incline and the berries along side of the trail with rather fresh bear skat in the middle of the trail – had us second guessing our decision for most of the way.

Here’s a photo of the trail on the return… too bad we didn’t turn around and notice the view while we were trudging up.


Finally, the ground leveled and we were able to take in the mountains around us and a bit of Maligne Lake below….

Bald Hills Trail at Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park, Alberta, CA


Another half mile through pleasant alpine meadows and up to a view point was where we called it “trail end”. Whether it was truly the end, we didn’t know.  Nor, by that time, did we care. We were done!

There were token puffy white clouds in the deep blue sky – picture perfect. The decisions today – whether or not to use the Polarizer to deepen the blue sky and add a bit of definition to the clouds, and /or use the graduated neutral density filter to balance out the bright sky. I opted for the polarizer. Although I like the way it deepens the blue, sometimes (for me) it tends to change the overall color-cast of the photo. So I am still on the fence as to whether I think it is works for my photos.

Beware of bears – at least make sure you are faster than your partner.

Thanks for reading.