After two foot-numbing creek crossings, a brief jaunt through the woods, and a brutally steep (though mercifully short) grunt up a scree slope, here's Forget-me-not Ridge... a terrific reward for a little pain, LOL!
Dryads must be among the most populous plants in this part of the Rockies.
On this ridge, here's Dryas octopetala with forget-me-nots (Myosotis alpestris), another lovely potentilla whose identity I'd like to know, Hedysarum boreale in the foreground (I think), and a small Saussurea nuda in the background.
And, btw, Dryas octopetala makes a nice garden plant too.
Wonderful pictures of very cute plants! Are you going on day trips
to take these pictures? (I'm not familiar with your area). In other words,
are they close to your home?
Yes, an advantage of living in Calgary... it's quite convenient to get out on day hikes on weekends and during vacation time (or, needless to say, for backpacking... though we don't do that any more - the pleasures of getting home again for a glass of wine, some time mucking about in the yard, and a soft bed seem more important!) This particular day hike is in a provincial park a 45 minute drive from our home near the NW edge of the city; to get to a trailhead in Banff National Park is about 1.5 hours drive... what an opportunity!
I've been to Forget-me-not pond but never knew there was a trail into the alpine zone there. Only alpine zone I've visited is Sunshine Meadows
Yes, most of it looks impossible (as I always think when looking up from the highway), but there is a life-time worth of trails* in Kananaskis and Banff (and, of course, in the rest of the mountain parks that I'm much less familiar with), and getting out of the forest and above treeline is the goal of most of the more "scenic" ones. Granted, though, a lot of trails in the Elbow Valley/Forget-me-not Pond area are through the low elevation valleys - old fire access roads, now used as bike and horse trails. Anyway, Forget-me-not Ridge, visible directly east from the pond, across the Elbow and Little Elbow Rivers, is at about 2200-2300m elevation. (There's also Nihahi Ridge - another interesting ridge walk up from the campground in the opposite direction - something of a knife-edge, but much less "airy-scarey" than it looks... even I only did my "crab-walk" for a little along it before resuming my normal bipedal stance, LOL!)
Not that I'm greatly experienced at hiking in the mountains, but oddly enough, I've never been to Sunshine Meadows, per se. (Needless to say, a very popular destination due to the gondola.) However, we have been getting up into that area at least in spring (literally millions of glacier lilies) and fall (larches) for the last while, but we go via the Healey Creek trail from the Sunshine Village parking lot to Healey Pass... then sometimes making a loop of it along the Ramparts (another ridge) to Eohippus Lake then back. Anyway, the map I'm looking at has Sunshine Meadows at 2300m also. I expect the vegetation is much different though, given that it's in something of a bowl in a high snowfall area - whereas Forget-me-not is a windswept ridge.
*It should be noted that those with the legs, lungs and know-how don't even use the trails ;-) Ummm, not me though - I've learned to accept my hard-earned designation of "trail wimp", LOL!
This message was edited Sep 11, 2007 1:04 AM
Sunshine meadows no longer has a gondola in summer...I was bused to the top! Just a little disappointing! I was there in early July...still snow beds around but a great diversity of plants. I'd say mid-late July would be peak for flowers.
Ha, well that shows how much I know about what goes on at the ski resorts, i.e. nothing at all! ;-)
Yes, that timing is probably generally a good bet.. the middle two weeks of July might be a little safer. (Last year, friends of ours hiking in the high country of Banff woke to find their water bottles frozen solid on August 4th!)
It's surprising, though, how much conditions vary from year to year. Three years ago we managed to hit the most incredible flower display through the Healey meadows on Canada Day (unequalled since 1976, according to extremely experienced hiker/mountaineer friends of ours). Then for the last two years, we've hiked up there on the same July 1st long weekend.... and missed it both times - we were too late! This year, on the weekend before the long weekend, the Sunshine parking lot was still snowbound (so we hiked elsewhere). We hiked up there on the following weekend, only to find that the big show was already over, due to a few days of warmer-than-usual weather and a rapid snowmelt!