Please review my itinenary

Aug 7th, 2007, 11:39 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 32
Please review my itinenary

Judy,
It is the first time I gather all my travel info from a single source: you.
Using your comments & the LINK to Rockies site, I compiled this:

9/4:
Land in Calgary (sched. 11 am).
Drive to Jasper. Stops: Banff (just lunch), Peyto Lake, Mistaya Canyon.
Arrive Jasper - Alpine Village 10 pm.

9/5:
Mount Edith Cavel hike
Pyramid Lake & Athabasca Lookout hike

9/6:
Valley of the Five Lakes hike

9/7
Maligne Canyon Trail w/ 6 bridges hike

9/8
Drive to Lake Louise.
Stops: Sunwapta falls.
Parker Ridge hike
Arrive Paradise Lodge.

9/9
Plain of Six Glaciers w/ Fairview lk/out hike

9/10
Larch Valley / Sentinel Pass hike

9/11
Paradise Valley hike

9/12
Yoho's Emerald Lake circle

9/13
Yoho's Iceline

9/14
Drive to Lake Loise - Calgary for flight home
( if I am alive after 9/13 hike )

Please tell me if you can spot some weak points (besides 1-day driving from Calgary to Jasper). I really do not see alternative to that freak driving day. Hate it, but must do.
Do I need to stop at Columbia Ice fld if I do Parker Ridge hike?

Thanks.








0leg is offline  
Aug 7th, 2007, 12:43 PM
  #2  
 
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At the Icefields, I would recommend that you do the Wilcox Pass hike instead of Parkers Ridge. There are great views of the Athabasca Glacier and the Columbia Icefield from the Wilcox Pass hike.
krp329 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2007, 01:57 PM
  #3  
 
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Hi Oleg,

Your plans look great, but I’ll raise a few red flags.

* I would really try to avoid driving in the dark. I think sunset will be around 8.30 p.m. (or thereabouts) in Jasper on the date of your arrival. If you forego the stops along the Icefields Parkway on your way up to Jasper, I would guess you could get there by 7.00 p.m. (However, that time estimate still allows for a lunch stop in Banff.)

There are many reasons for not driving in the dark. First of all, you’ll miss some of the stunning scenery. Secondly, wildlife is most active at dusk, and you risk a collision with a wild animal. Thirdly, depending on your departure point, your body clock could be telling you that it’s later than the local time zone.

I can see why you want to be efficient and get to Jasper on the day of your arrival, but I believe you would be able to get there before dark.

* Depending on the direction from which you approach them, the Larch Valley / Sentinel Pass and the Paradise Valley hikes can be considered to be one and the same hike. Some people do Larch Valley, Sentinel Pass, Paradise Valley, Lake Annette, and then emerge onto the road that leads to Moraine Lake. There they hitch a ride back to the Moraine Lake parking lot so that they can pick up their vehicle. Doing that circuit in one day is ambitious, but it sounds as if you are competent hikers.

However, Larch Valley / Sentinel Pass and Paradise Valley / Lake Annette also can be considered to be two different hikes. They could indeed be done on two separate days, especially if you set out from two different starting points. Here is a trail map of the area so that you can see for yourself:

http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/activ1cc_E.asp

• Emerald Lake Circuit – I don’t know which hike you’re referring to. If you mean the lakeshore path around Emerald Lake, I think you’ll find it to be too easy. This is a path that I have recommended to many people in the past, but it sounds as if you are in a different league. If you do this hike, you should plan on doing some other stuff in Yoho National Park on the same day. For example, you could visit Wapta Falls.

• You say you’re going to leave Lake Louise on the morning of your departure from Calgary. I don’t know if you’re aware that you should leave Lake Louise at least six hours (and better still, seven hours) prior to take off. Allow at least three hours for the drive. Allow an hour for contingencies and a quick bite to eat before check in. Calgary Airport has lunch choices all the way from fast food joints through the quite respectable food court up to and including full service restaurants. Once you start the check in process you have abandoned all chance of obtaining decent food. The options at the departure gates are dismal. Allow two hours for check in and for clearing US immigration and customs (assuming you’ll be on a US-bound flight?).

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 7th, 2007, 02:25 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Oleg, I've been holding back. (It may not seem like it, but I actually am capable of holding back sometimes. )

But I'll take the plunge.

If the Lake O’Hara bus wouldn’t bust your budget too badly and if you’re willing to go through the hassle of phoning to make a reservation at exactly 8.00 a.m. the previous morning, you really ought to go to Lake O’Hara instead of Emerald Lake.

http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/yoho/activ/activ15a_e.asp

Don’t get me wrong. Emerald Lake is beautiful. In fact, of the lakes that are easily accessible in the Canadian Rockies (that is, those that don’t require hiking or catching a special bus), Emerald Lake is one of the four most attractive, in my opinion. The top four easily accessible ones, in my estimation, are Moraine Lake, Peyto Lake, Emerald Lake and Lake Louise. (Lake Louise climbs up to second spot if one sees it at sunrise.)

But, if you’re willing to hike or if you’re willing to catch a bus that has a very limited number of seats, then the order changes. In that case Lake O’Hara supersedes Emerald Lake. I would even go so far as to say that Lake O’Hara beats Peyto Lake (and that’s saying something).
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 7th, 2007, 07:25 PM
  #5  
 
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The Emerald Lake circuit is more drudgery than anything. The lake to me is not very pretty, sort of flat puddle. I would find something else to do.

Getting to Lake O'Hara takes dedication. Reservations go fast. You can reserve on the day of the trip, but I have never done it. Consult the Yoho National Park website.

If you want a real hike, do the Whaleback. It is a long hike, and takes a fit hiker to handle it. But it is rewarding as they get.

My favorite of them all, other than Waterfall Valley and the Whaleback is Lake McArthur from Lake O'Hara.

Maybe you will get lucky.
bob_brown is offline  
Aug 8th, 2007, 11:12 AM
  #6  
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Very, very helpful advice.
Based on them, I make the following changes:

1. As per krp329 suggestion, I am taking Wilcox Pass hike instead of Parker Ridge.

2. Judy, I am deleting all stops from Drive day 1, as you suggested. I will adjust on the spot, if I feel time allows.
However, I still have to do Peyto Lake & Mistaya Canyon. I guess, I have to do them on one of my LL days.
Thus, I am either substituting Emerald Lake Circus for a short trip along IFP.

3. BIG ONE NOW, Lake O'Hara. I am perfectly aware what it is. I will not shoot myself for not calling them 2 years in advance, when I was engrossed in my Alaskan adventures. I did not include it in my schedule because I am not sure I will be able to reserve 2 seats. I am not very optimistic, but I will call them at 8 am "previous" morning. If I get lucky, I will do lake O'Hara 9/12 OR 9/13 and Peyto / Mistaya trip on one of these 2 days.
But then another thing: do you think just 1 short day at Lake O'Hara is worth the hassle? Can you name a hike around the lake that I can make in a day and still catch a return bus? And if yes - is it a scenic one?

4.Judy, our return flight from Calgary is 12.20 pm. We will leave LL 6 - 6.30 am to catch it.

Finally, as you noted correcltly we are in good shape. However the priority is ALWAYS given to SCENERY and NATURE. We only do those physical challenges that come with photogenic scenery.
We do not hike just for the sake of hiking.
0leg is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 02:32 PM
  #7  
 
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Be careful parking your rental car at Peyto lake, one report stated that cars were being broken into at that parking lot. Buck
buckspc is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 09:09 PM
  #8  
 
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Oleg, at Lake O'Hara you could consider one of these day hikes:

* Lake Oesa trail

* Opabin Overlook and Lake Hungabee

* Lake McArthur

Yes, even with the ridiculous bus arrangements, Lake O'Hara is worth it.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 09:12 PM
  #9  
 
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>>>>>>Be careful parking your rental car at Peyto lake, one report stated that cars were being broken into at that parking lot.<<<<<<

A very valid warning, Buck, but one that is not confined to the Peyto Lake Parking lot. The warning is relevant to the entire Canadian Rockies.

Folks should keep their valuables in their hotel safe.

On days on which they are forced to have everything with them, e.g., if they are transferring from Banff or Lake Louise to Jasper, they should keep their luggage in the locked trunk of their vehicle. If they leave their car to walk to a scenic lookout point, they should carry with them their passports, money, credit cards and cameras.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 05:47 AM
  #10  
 
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Oleg, if you get into the real back country, like at Lake O'Hara, you should either have a hiking guide book that contains good maps or you should have a topographic map of the area in which you want to hike. They sell topo maps at Lake O'Hara Lodge.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 09:20 AM
  #11  
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My friends,
Thanks for all your responses. They are invaluable for our trip planning.
Judy, why do I need map and/or guide book for a well-defined trail, such as Lake Oesa, for example? My researh indicate that each of the 3 trails you mentioned are about 6-8 km r/t. Being squeezed by the bus schedule (9am in - 6pm out) I have no plans to deviate from one of the trails you suggested.
0leg is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 10:53 AM
  #12  
 
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We once got caught in a snowstorm when we were hiking in the Lake O'Hara area during the Canada Day long weekend (around July 1st). We started out on a clear, sunny day with a blue, blue sky. As the clouds rolled in on us around lunch time, visibility became very poor. It was impossible to tell, just from looking around us, in which direction we ought to hike to return to the lodge. Luckily we had a topo map, and it was only because of that that we found our way back.

On that occasion we were young and foolish, and we didn't have a compass with us. We promptly added a compass to our essential hiking gear. We're going to be hiking in Yoho National Park in a few days' time, and you can bet that we're going to have a hiking guidebook, a map, and a compass with us.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 09:16 AM
  #13  
 
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We recetly did several of the hikes you mention. I would recommend:
- As Judy says combining Larch/Sentinel Pass/Paradise Valley into one hike is a good idea. Much of the Paradsie Valley hike is in the woods with no view, kind of a drag for an in and out hike. Opens up another day to try Lake O'Hara. You don't have to hitchhike from Paradise Valley parking area back to Moraine Lake. There is shuttle from Sampson shopping plaza to Moraine Lake ($9.00). Driver allowed me to drop car at lot on the way. Ask for a schedule at Parks office in same plaza.
- As others have said, Lake O'Hara is amazing. We took the 8:30 shuttle in, did the Alpine loop (spectacular) and had plently of time to catch the 4:30 bus. Emerald Lake kind of disappointing after Lake O'Hara. Did you try calling (250-343-6433)to see if any of your days have openings? Worth the hassle - yes!
- If you're planning on doing a loop on the Iceline Hike (Hostel/Iceline/Lake Celeste trail/then back) be aware the bridge ofer Little Yoho River was out as of 7/25 when we went. Made the loop hike longer via Little Yoho.

DaveS is offline  
Aug 14th, 2007, 09:41 AM
  #14  
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DaveS - thanks
You mentioned:
"...Much of the Paradsie Valley hike is in the woods with no view, kind of a drag for an in and out hike."
I am now incined to exclude PV part from my hiking plans. Adds some so much needed flexibility. Judy & Dave - please confirm if I am correct to drop PV part. Thanks
0leg is offline  
Aug 15th, 2007, 09:05 AM
  #15  
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DaveS - thanks
You mentioned:
"...Much of the Paradsie Valley hike is in the woods with no view, kind of a drag for an in and out hike."
I am now incined to exclude PV part from my hiking plans. Adds some so much needed flexibility. Judy & Dave - please confirm if I am correct to drop PV part. Thanks
0leg is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 07:17 AM
  #16  
 
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PV hike (like many others) starts and continues through a wooded area for several kilometers. Once approaching Lake Annette it is beautiful and by the end of the valley spectacular. Didn't want to discourage the PV hike rather to combine it with Larch Valley/Sentinel Pass and do a loop. Get two signature hikes rolled up into one. Just need to plan for the shuttle or hitch a ride back to Moraine Lake. With either hike make sure you check regarding restrictions due to bear activity. We did the hike on 7/15, a few days later they imposed a four hiker minimum group size due to grizzly and her cubs moving in.
DaveS is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 09:16 AM
  #17  
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Dave,
Thanks. PV hike is back on my itinenary.
Just FYI. I called Lake O'Hara reservations and they said no seats on bus until Sep 21. Still can call 8 am "the day before", as Judy suggests. They said they keep 6 seats open till last minute.
0leg is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:48 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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I hope I didn't miss it if this was already addressed. You have two whole days scheduled for the Valley of Five Lakes hike and the Maligne Canyon trail in Jasper. You could easily hike both those trails in one day. If it's still possible to change your arrival date at the Alpine Village, you might consider staying closer to Banff/LL on your first night. You would then have time to see all the sights on Icefield Parkway at your leisure.
Devonmcj is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 11:13 AM
  #19  
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To Devonmcj,

Thanks for your input.

At this point, my Jasper schedule is this:

09/05
Hike Mt. Edit Cavel Athabaska Falls
09/06
Valley of the Five Lakes
Pyramid Lake
09/07
Maligne Canyon Trail w/ 6 bridges Maligne Lake
***

1. I will combine Valley of 5 lakes with Pyramid Lake & trail in one day.
These two are totally opposite directions, but both hikes won't take long.

2. Maligne Canyon trial from 6 th to 1 st bridge (with photos taking / sightseeing) will take 4-5 hrs. Then 1 hr drive to Maligne Lake & pictures there. I don't quite see another possible combinations here. Other hikes, such as Pyramid or Icefield Pkwy area are not on the way. If I still have time I'd go to some lookout points along IFP close to Jasper.

3. I will have flexibility of 6 nights staying in LL + drive back day from Jasper to LL to explore sites along IFP located closer to LL.
The long drive is inevitable - one way or the other. I will be flying to / from Calgary and will visit both Jasper & LL. The only way to avoid this drive is to break my 6 nights stay in LL into 3 nights before & 3 nights after Jasper.
This means checking in / out same hotel twice instead of once. Packing / unpacking twice as well. I chose the lesser of the two evils.
0leg is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 01:51 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Oh, yes, I can sure see your point about wasting time packing up/checking out/checking in. I hope you have a wonderful time. And please write a trip report when you come home.
Devonmcj is offline  

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