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With some sadness, we reached the Burstall Pass trailhead in the mid-morning. Although I knew we'd be in store for a nice hike, we would surely be on an flight back to San Francisco the following moring. A movie was being filmed at Burstall Lake, within shouting distance of the parking lot. I don't know much about movie production, but it didn't look like a huge affair, though it was not trivial. Anyhow, the name of the movie is (will be) "Almost America".
We made good time through the forests of the first two miles, and found that the crossing of Burstall Creek was exceedingly simple, in spite of the week of rain that had plagued us. The bad weather also caused a mass-death of mosquitoes, which in turn caused us great joy! We were careful to make plenty of noise to scare away any bears that might cross our path. On my previous backpacking trip with James and Antoine, the path was a veritable highway of people, but nontheless, we saw two grizzlies, one of which was alarmingly unalarmed by humans. Neither was a mother with cubs, so in reality, the risk was probably small.
In good time, we reached Burstall Pass, elevation 2500m (8400'), but wasted little time in progress toward our ultimate goal, which was an unnamed ridge to the southwest of the pass, at an elevation of 2750m (9300'). Wildflowers bloomed vividly in the meadows approaching the ridge, and we soaked up the smells, sights, and sounds of a beautiful day high in the Canadian Rockies as we walked. I made quick work of the moderately-sloped ridge, my physical conditioning in splendid order after the many miles of strenuous hiking I'd done in the two previous weeks. The lower portions of the ridge were primarily poorly-consolidated talus, but these gave way to decent scrambling rocks in the last 150 feet to the summit.
Kim soon joined me on the summit and we commenced to photograph our mind-blowing surroundings, knowing full well that our attempts to immortalize would likely fail. We basked in the perfect day and I pointed out to Kim some of the places that I'd been, and some new places that we could see from our high vantage point. Unfortunately, the names and topology of my surroundings lacked the weight and depth that they do in Yosemite, for instance. I suppose we'll have to return again for more exploring. Aw, shucks!
Our descent to Burstall Pass was aided by a few glissades
down snowfields. Before long, we were back at the rental
car and on our way toward the reality symbolized by Calgary.
We detoured through Kananaskis (pronounced can-ah-nas-kis)
Country, which is effectively the north-south front range
of the Rockies. In spite of their proximity to civilization,
little in the way of beauty was lost, compared to the rugged
wilderness of Jasper National Park.
Department of Geophysics