Parker's Ridge

8:29 a.m. on August 11, 2013 (EDT)
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In Jasper National Park for a week with a couple of clients. Instead of staying in the park, though, we opted to bunk at the Shunda Creek Hostel at Nordegg. It's 90 km from the park gate on Hwy 11, but quite scenic and a lot cheaper.

One lady was a solid and experienced hiker, but her friend wasn't quite as strong. For the first hike, I suggested we start with Parker's Ridge, a short hike near the boundary with Banff NP. We got a late start, and with scenic stops along the way, we didn't reach the TH until noon. 

Great scenery on the way in, of course. Highway 11 is the David Thompson Highway, and it has spectacular scenery of its own, even before you reach the park gates. 


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This shot is of the Weeping Wall, just south of our destination. In winter it turns into a sheet of ice - great for ice climbing. 

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Parker's Ridge is prone to releasing avalanches onto the highway so they shoot them down, and there are signs at the trailhead warning of the possibility of unexploded shells on the slopes. The trail begins with a short walk, then immediately turns into a steady slog up a series of switchbacks. 
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Mt. Athabasca and Hilda Glacier

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We got past the treeline quickly, and the views of the surrounding mountains opened up. 

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The switchbacked section is only about 250 metres high, then we reached the plateau on top of the ridge. A walk across the top opened up ever-increasing vistas, eventually offering incredible views of the Saskatchewan Glacier, far below us... 

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...and Mt Athabasca to the north.
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A pause for a few photos...
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and a snack, then across the plateau looking for more scenery. 

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Neat windbreaks at the top of the ridge...

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Nice views...
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..then back down.

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A good trail for quick access to the alpine, and for good views of glaciers and mountain tops. Another nice day in the mountains. 





9:01 a.m. on August 11, 2013 (EDT)
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There's a lot I like about Illinois...but pictures like this make me want to move to someplace with mountains!

10:12 a.m. on August 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Nothing like them, Goose. 

When I get to the top, I always feel like that's where I belong. 

5:29 p.m. on August 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Craggy Peaks!  I can't get enough of them.  Beautiful pictures!  I noticed you mentioned that you took clients up.  So I take it you're an outdoors guide?  If so.. That's amazing!!  Definitely the dream job.. right up there with Professional Footballer and Astronaut.  My friend's a professional photographer and he's been documenting many of our adventures.  We all keep talking about how it would be amazing if he could get hired by some equipment company and we could get our trips sponsored and milk some free gear.. but oh.. we can only dream...

10:24 p.m. on August 11, 2013 (EDT)
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It takes a lot of time to get certified, macchiolives. A bunch of courses, then lots of hours getting experience. The Interpretative Guides Association, for example, gives you 1 credit for every 10 hours that you lead local hikes, but only 1 credit for every 20 hours leading out-of-town (mountain) hikes. You need a couple of hundred credits to even challenge the exams. 

I've spent a lot of time with groups of up to 20-30 people on mountain trails, under all kinds of conditions, and you learn most of what you need to know by doing it all. 

That's part of the reason I take the gear reviews so seriously. I've seen so many people turn up with crappy equipment because their friend told them 'this' was the greatest without even properly testing whatever it is, then I get to bail them out. 

10:40 p.m. on August 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Wow, it sounds like quite an investment to get certified.  But the good part is that you get to do it for a living...

11:28 p.m. on August 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Definitely sounds like a very long and difficult process!  But yes.. echoing lambertiana's sentiments.. getting to be in the outdoors for a living sure sounds great!

October 21, 2014
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