I will be traveling to Maui on November 23rd and will be there for 10 days with the main focus being hiking and photography. I would love some suggestions from any of my followers who live there for photo locations and hikes. What are the most famous locations and are there any that are off the beaten path that may not be so easy access? I will have a rental car but will a 4wd vehicle be needed for some locations? Thanks in advance!
Shambhala is a music festival with a population of 10,000 nestled in a valley in southern BC, near the town of Salmo. It’s one my favourite places to keep coming back to and this year I had the honour of shooting on their media staff. There are far too many photos to post all of them on here so I have also included a link to the full FB album.
There was often a fog that blanketed the valley in the early morning hours. This was one my favourite times to shoot.
I had arrived a few days before the festival had officially opened its gates and the normally car-packed fields were eerily quiet.
As the morning sun crept over the distant mountains, everybody is getting their vehicles ready to move from the parking lot line and into the festival.
It’s never a far walk to get away from the craziness of the festival and see some of the amazing beauty of the valley itself.
While Shambhala is primarily a music festival, what makes it so special is the incredible amount of hardwork by some amazingly talented people that goes into the art installations and stages.
If you need a break from the music, there is no shortage of things to do during the day. From morning yoga sessions held near the river to…
…hanging acrobatic classes to…
…writing a wish and placing it in the ‘Wish Tree’
While the nights can sometimes get close to freezing, the days are usually 30 degrees plus. There are always ways to keep cool even if you’re not down by the glacial fed river.
Friday marks the day that the opening ceremonies happen at the ‘Labyrinth’ stage.
Shambhala wouldn’t be Shambhala without the incredibly warm and diverse people that call it home for that one weekend a year.
Not to mention the crazy costumes you see as you make your way through the festival.
What has always made the festival so special to me, are the memories made with new and old friends.
This year even included a wedding; this is the bride and her father.
The father of the bride as he looks up the staircase that led to the alter.
The bride and groom rode off in a vintage red ford fire truck.
While the festival may seem at its peak during the day, it’s at night where it really comes alive. There are 5 different stages to choose from and everything in between to experience.
Attempt date: October 8th, 2012
Start time: 8:30am
Completion time: 8 hours
Elevation gain: 1350m (4429 ft)
Elevation above sea level: 3121m (10239 ft)
Participants: Marko Pribilovic (Moderately Hungover), Jimmy Quigley (Moderately Hungover), Con Sweatman, Patrick Latter
Take the road out of Canmore towards the Nordic centre, continue past the Grassi Lakes and the Goat Creek day use parking. Follow the unpaved Spray lakes road for about 27-28km until you see the Sparrowhawk Picnic sign. Park here and the trail head is on the opposite side of the road from the lake.
- Warm fleece
- Winter Jacket
- Winter socks
- Hiking boots
- Thermal underwear
Con and I arrived early enough to go down to the lake and take some pictures in the dim morning light. As we made our way down to the water’s edge it was raining lightly and the clouds were low enough to obscure the peaks of the surrounding mountains.
Once the others arrived, we began to make our way up the well defined trail as the rain quickly turned to snow.
It wasn’t long until we broke out of the tree line and the snow had already begun to accumulate at this elevation.
Once you reach the base of Reed’s Ridge, you have to go left around it and up the gully. The almost white out conditions we were currently in were similar to what we had back in June when we had made the mistake of just following the ridge and ended up with no way to continue on to the summit.
This was Con’s first serious hike, as he had just recently moved to Banff from Winnipeg.
As we neared the top of the gully, it began to get steeper and we ran into hidden ice under the snow that made it dangerous to continue without crampons. Luckily, we managed to find a route to the far right that was free of ice.
Once we reached the top of the gully, we had a fantastic view of Reed’s Tower, which is the highest point of Reed’s ridge. You can see why you wouldn’t have a way down if you had gone the wrong way.
From here you go left and follow the wide barren slope up to the summit block. The loose rock was mostly frozen into place and the snow drifts were never more than knee deep so it wasn’t too bad of a hike up. The near white out conditions did make it difficult to keep motivation up as you couldn’t see how far from the top you were.
Looking back down you could now just barely see the top of Reed’s Tower.
At almost 4 hours into the hike we finally got sight of the summit block; it was far more daunting than expected. We decided to stop and have lunch and decide whether to attempt it or not.
As we ate our lunch the sun briefly broke through the uppermost layer of clouds right above the summit. It was an amazing sight to see this natural spotlight shine down above us.
Looking back down the mountain we were briefly above the clouds/storm. You could feel the cold wind suddenly change to blindly bright heat from the now exposed sun.
The brilliant sunlight gave us the motivation to at least attempt the summit block. We began to make our way around to the back as we followed the right most ridge.
Almost as quickly as the sun had come out out, it disappeared behind the clouds and snow.
Once at the back of the summit block the sun came out one final time and gave us one of the best views I’ve ever seen hiking. We were literally above the clouds for about 10 minutes.
We made our final push for the summit just as the clouds returned.
Once at the summit we took some photos and wrote our names in the logbook that is stashed in the rockpile at the top.
There is no cell reception for 30 mins in either direction at the base of the mountain but at the summit Marko managed to get enough reception to stream the music video ‘Gangnam Style’ and have a dance off.
The wind really started to pickup and there was no sign of the sun returning with the blowing snow, so we quickly made our way back down.
My brother worked in Bermuda teaching sailing for a few summers and we used to go visit him. Ever since then, we have made it an annual trip and Bermuda has become one of my favourite places in the world to visit. Mark Twain once said, “You can go to heaven if you want. I’d rather stay in Bermuda.”
As soon as you land the first thing you will notice is the lush countryside dotted with brightly coloured white topped houses.
Once you leave the airport, you will take any number of small winding roads, that at times, can barely fit two cars wide, which is why many on the island choose to use scooters.
The beaches in Bermuda have amazing white and pink sand that lays between varying sized volcanic coves. Each beach has its own unique feel and you can walk from one to one quite easily.
These same beaches are even more amazing if you’re up early enough for sunrise.
The normally calm waters of Bermuda can get quite rough if a tropical storm or hurricane passes by the island.
The Gibbs hill lighthouse is located on the highest point on the island and is an interesting walk to get to it.
Attempt date: September 22nd, 2012
Start time: 7:10am
Completion time: 6 hours
Elevation gain: 1200m (3,937 ft)
Participants: Sarah Mclean, Patrick Latter
From the Canmore centre drive on the 1A south to Elk Run Boulevard and turn left. There will be a paved parking lot on your left; park here.
- Warm fleece
- Hiking boots
- Thermal underwear
The trail starts on a paved bike trail that changes to gravel and follows the creek towards Mount Lady MacDonald.
Looking back down the trail, there was a fantastic view of the ’3 sisters’.
Despite the unseasonably warm weather, the signs of fall were there as we made our way up the trail.
Once you reach about the 80% point, there is an abandoned construction project that includes a helipad and half built tea house. We stopped and took a few photos of some guys using the spot as launching point for paragliding.
After they all had taken off we took a break on the helipad and some lunch.
After lunch, we made our way up the final ridge towards the summit. From here it is more of a scramble and you need to use your hands at some points.
The final ridge walk is a little daunting because of the exposure on either side, but as long as you stay low and use your hands, it’s not too bad. You can see the helipad and tea house in the bottom right of the next photo.
Happy 2 years Sarah <3
Total Time: 101 hours
Participants: Patrick Latter, Jimmy Quigley, Carlyn Stilling, Michelle Wong
Background Information on the Trail: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Coast_Trail
The next day we made our way to the orientation office, which is just a short drive/walk from the campground. We met the other hikers that were starting that morning in the small building. On the wall they had the number of evacuations to date for the year.
When we reached the office at the end of trail in Bamfield 4 days later this number had already climbed to 53. After the orientation, we started to get our gear together before the boat takes you across the small channel to the trail head. We brought 36 Cliff bars for snacks…. we should have brought 72.
Once on the trail it didn’t take long until we reached our first ladder. There are as many as 70 ladders, 130 bridges and 4 cable cars on the trail. The ladders seemed fun at first but you soon began to dread seeing them.
We reached the first camp site 5km and 4 hours into the trail. Although it was only 1pm, we decided to stay at ‘Thrashers Cove” because with the current state of the tides we would have to wait until morning to make it to the sea caves safely. After setting up camp we spent the next few hours exploring the beach and surrounding area. There was a large bird in the area that would circle above and occasionally skim the water looking for food.
The next morning we made our way over giant boulders and huge pieces of drift wood along the coast. We learned quickly to never step on the brown spots on the rocks as the brown algae was extremely slippery. We made it just in time to the sea caves to still make it through before the tide came up too high.
We came across our first waterfall that day as well. It was only 50 meters from the shore, right on the beach.
We stopped for lunch just after this in a small isolated bay. Any food that we brought that wasn’t a snack was a dehydrated meal. To cook them we would boil water over a small camping stove and then pour the specified amount in the bag and wait 13 minutes. While they can taste a little salty they are actually some of the best food I’ve had camping. Jimmy nearly cooked his shame while trying to light the stove.
While hiking in the interior parts of the trail can beautiful, the natural mudbogs and winding path can make it very slow going. The second you did not give the trail 100% of your attention was when you fell. At one point Michelle fell completely forward and with the weight of her back pack, she couldn’t even get up. Luckily for her, Carlyn was right behind and saved her from drowning face down in a mud bog.
I did not know what hunger was until doing the west coast trail. We arrived at our camp site late that night and all four of us were starving to the point that Carlyn was shaking coming down the last set of ladders. We decided to make one of the large pastas we had brought and the ‘Wicked Awesome Brownies’ dehydrated meal. We had not read the directions in the store. After reading the brownie package, it turned out that after pouring the water in, we had to ‘Upper Bake’ them….. Upper bake?!?! What is that? So…. we just ate the brownie mix… and it was AMAZING.
The next day we did our first cable car as we left the camp-site. Each car seats two and your momentum carries you 2/3rds of the way, while you use the rope to take the remaining distance.
Once we reached our camp site for the night, we setup our tents and I walked down the beach with Jimmy to take some photos. The fog was especially dense that night, and the longer we got into our walk the darker and more eerie it became. At one point we thought something was running towards us.. turns out it was just a bear shaped log.
For lunch that day we made it to the crab shack that is run by the same guy that does the ferry crossing needed for one section of the trail. While it was expensive, it was probably the best meal of crab I have ever had. They even had a small puppy that played with us while we waited for our food.
We barely made it to the famous ‘Hole in the wall’ before the tide became too high and we would have to cut through the interior instead.
We reached our final camp-site of the trip just as the sun was going down. This was the quietest site we had been to the whole trip, with only one other group of kayakers sharing the beach with us. We had a small fire with the drift wood that was nearby before going to bed.
While most the trip we had only seen dead crabs, this last stretch of coast had TONS of live crabs running around. One in particular wanted to fight Jimmy.
We finished the trail in just over 4 days at 101 hours. Normally, you take a bus back from Bamfield to Port Renfrew where your car is parked but we had not reserved a spot and the bus was full. We found out there was also a guy that takes people by boat. While this was a little more expensive, it was definitely worth it, as we got to see the trail from a unique perspective. He also took us right up to the sea lion colonies and whales.
With the next 5 days off, we left Calgary Wednesday night for Waterton Lakes. The park is roughly 3.5 hours drive from Calgary, so we stopped in Claresholm for some food. They happened to be having a small classic car meetup at the A&W across from the Sunset Motel.
A man, who introduced himself as ‘Don of Don’s Barber Shop’, was there with his 1927 Model T. It appeared he had strange fascination with… Global TV; apparently, he had been featured recently.
Once in Waterton, we began our short drive down the narrow dirt road towards the ‘Belly River’ camp ground.
After setting up camp we took a short walk down to the nearby creek to take some photos of the amazing view of the stars that night.
After arriving in town, we parked at nearby trail head and began hiking a random trail. With the cloud cover so low, we ended up having to turn back once visibility became too low.
We stumbled upon a bible camp near the bottom that seemed deserted. We quietly borrowed there bathroom hoping nobody came bursting out of one the cabins screaming for us to leave.
After driving back to our camp site we decided to have a few drinks and walk around. We came across this sign in a nearby field. …NO driving with hats.
We both nearly fell over when we startled this pheasant which make seemed to fly out of nowhere. Pheasants do not equal bears.
On our way back, we come across a bend in the river and decided to sit down at the edge of the bank. As Jimmy relaxed and looked out onto the amazing view we had, he was unaware of the literally 1000′s of ants he had just sat in.
His expression quickly changed as he looked down the invading army crawling towards his face. I could barely stand I was laughing so hard; we both just kept wildly trying knock off as many as we could. Jimmy was never the same…. Jimmy doesn’t like ants now…. The next morning we delayed getting up, hoping that sound of rain on the tent would eventually stop. When it finally did, we opened the tent to find that the reason the sound had stopped was that it had actually just turned to snow.
We decided to again drive into town to hopefully pass the time somewhere warm. We ended up talking our way into one of the pool/gym areas of hotel. We spent the morning relaxing there until the sun came out. Despite the snow earlier, the day was turning out to be pretty nice weather wise. We drove up to the hotel on the edge of the lake and took some photos.
Once we finished up at the lake, we drove over to the nearby Bison Paddock, which has a long narrow road that snakes through out it in loop allowing you to drive through. About half way around the loop, we spotted some bision by the fence but they were too far to get a good shot without leaving the car and leaving us too exposed. We got back in the car and drove out of the paddock and stopped on the highway near the fence and walked towards where we saw the bison. One baby bison had somehow escaped and was on the wrong side of the fence with us. We couldn’t get close without spooking him, so there wasn’t much we could do to get him back inside.
After getting back to camp we played some frisbee as the sun set over the ridge in the distance.
The next morning we arrived in town in time for the 10:00am ferry that takes you to the trail head for the famous ‘Crypt Lake’ hike. A short 20 min later we had arrived at the dock .
We crossed a few waterfalls on the way towards the top but due to some snow gullies we had turn back. We were the first group of people to attempt crypt lake this season which is why the snow was still so deep. Without rope or an ice axe it was unsafe to cross the frozen stretch. We attempted to hike around it but without a definite idea of where we were going, we just ran out of time and had to head back down.
Once we arrived back at the dock we had an hour or so to kill, so Jimmy decided he would jump in the ‘glacial fed’ lake.
Jimmy gave the impression that it was …. not warm.
While we were on the dock watching Jimmy risk a heart attack, a squirrel watched from the beach as it plotted…..
I came back to the beach to find him INSIDE my backpack.
He had literally…. **** in my backpack, then stole a M&M. Not cool Squirrel… not cool.