Assorted Other Tourist Photos from Banff, Jasper, Yoho, and Kootenay

Banff and Jasper are the ultimate in drive-up outdoorsmanship. So few reasons to go more than a hundred yards from your car, all packed into a 200-mile highway. It’s brilliant in its way.

Emerald Lake in Yoho NP -- so I shouldn't blame Banff/Jasper for this one.

And this guy was in Kootenay NP -- but still.

And so was this -- but all the rivers look the same there anyway.


This is Marble Canyon, but there isn't even any real marble there.

Another interchangeable river view (Bow River, Banff NP).

The mountain peaks are likewise interchangeable.

Athabasca Glacier and the Columbia Icefield, the ultimate drive-up glacier experience.

Athabasca Falls, which is mostly covered by a highway overpass.

Maligne Lake + Bad Lighting = Tourist Nirvana.


Maligne Canyon and by trying to get as few tourists in the shot as possible I totally missed the story.

And when I finally left Jasper for the last time, heading west into the unknown wilds of Mt. Robson Provincial Park in British Columbia, it was with a profound sense of relief.


Coyote Gulch Hike Featuring Jacob Hamblin Arch, An Overnighter

  1. We set off from the Hurricane Wash trailhead and did the hike as an out-and-back overnighter, camping near the Jacob Hamblin Arch.
  2. The most inspiring scenery of the hike (the series of high-walled amphitheaters that curve overhead) is hard to photograph.
  3. Hiking to the arch and back from Hurricane Wash would be very doable as a day hike (ca. 14 miles).
  4. The first five miles of the hike are merely pleasant; the good scenery picks up after the confluence with Coyote Gulch.
  5. Hiking past the arch, there’s some cool scenery for a couple miles, but after the petroglyphs, there’s not much else on offer (we didn’t hike all the way to the confluence of the Escalante, though, so there might be something great that we missed).
  6. The campsites were all pretty amazing with great views and soft sand for easy sleeping. Don’t know that I’ve ever slept any better on a backpacking trip.
  7. You have to walk through the water in several spots, but you never have to go more than ankle deep if you don’t want.
  8. We didn’t find the fresh water sources that I’ve seen referenced in other write-ups.
  9. The problem with Mountain House isn’t that it tastes bad, it’s that it’s too much of one thing;┬áthe JetBoil is still an amazing product.
  10. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah is where this is.



Utah’s Paria Canyon, An Overnighter

Hike started at the Paria Townsite, about 30 miles east of Kanab. The townsite was an actual town until 1900 or so and then was later used as the site for some (purpose-built) sets for a few western movies (of which I’ve only seen The Outlaw Josey Wales). Headed up the Paria River and through the canyon until I got tired and set up camp. Camp looked like:

Pretty area. Nothing really in terms of landmark, must-see stuff, but otoh, I didn’t see anyone else in the canyon/on the river at all over the 16-or-so miles I hiked. Kind of a muddy river. Spent maybe 20-percent of the time actually in the river (max: knee-deep). Was probably a good thing I took poles.

Ended up doing this hike because I didn’t really want to do the “big hike” I’d signed up for (Buckskin Gulch and the *Arizona* Paria). Mostly because four days was going to be too long to be sleeping on the ground and too short to have a good time on a 48-mile slot canyon hike through a river. I’ll do it on purpose some time, take my truck so I can park at one of the Utah-side trailheads, and go in at Wire Pass and out at White House. Some day.


Hiking the OC: Bear Canyon

The good thing about the OC is that you don’t really have to go all that far to get into the boondocks. Went hiking yesterday on the Bear Canyon Loop Trail in Cleveland N.F., about a half-hour drive from here with the trailhead just off Ortega Hwy. Ended up being a fun hike. The first 1.5 miles were uphill, exposed, hot, and scrubby. After that, though, the weather cooled down a little and the scenery got better. I dunno. I always go on these hikes and come away feeling like, well, that was sure a nice hike … for Orange County. You know, kind of like Austin is an absolutely fantastic city … for Texas.

Once I got to the mysterious “Four Corners”, where the Bear Canyon trail loop starts heading back to home base, I was a little confused at finding, actually, *five* corners. I guess if the forest rangers coulda done math, they woulda become rocket scientists rather than forest rangers. OTOH, you’d think they’d still be required to be able to count effectively. Meh. From Four corners, I decided to take the Sitton Peak trail, which led me to Bluewater Canyon:

Bluewater Canyon

Which in its own right was a little confusing given that it was the only canyon I saw on the hike. And, as you’ve noted, it wasn’t named “Bear Canyon”. Just after this photo of your correspondent was snapped, I came onto this prize:

Missing Wing

Hopefully whoever is missing the wing already knows about it. And I guess I was happy not to find the rest of the plane anywhere nearby.

Heading back to base, I took the “Bear Ridge” part of the loop trail back. It was The Big Payoff for the trip, the part that made the whole thing worthwhile — for Orange County. (Note: the hike is technically in Riverside County. And it’s *especially* nice for *Riverside* County.) The ridge gave some nice, broad views over mostly green hills that served to suggest that SoCal might actually once have been a wild, western place. Here’s a token photo:

Some Sort of Desert Vegetation w/ Cloud and Hill

No idea what it’s of, but the artistry is unquestionable.

On the downhill slope, I finally saw the airplane that I’d heard buzzing above me during the last hour or so of the walk. No pictures, sorry, but it turned out to be a P-51, which made me happy enough to salute. He looped the plane right after that, which I suppose was his return-acknowledgment. He was probably looking for a missing wingflap.

And then about a half mile from the parking lot, I all but stepped on this happy little fellow:

Snake, Gopher (?)

Pretty sure he’s a gopher snake. And a right lazy one at that. Every time I see a snake in California I get kind of excited that it might be a rattlesnake. But every time they end up being just gopher snakes. Maybe it’s for the best.