Canadian Rockies August 2014

Canadian Rockies August 2014

New postby Jon » Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:23 pm

In following with operation forum fill-in I am going to post my trip to Canada. I know it's close and culturally very similar to the US. You do need a passport to get there so I will post a trip report for this forum. So I was invited to go on a trip to the Canadian Rockies with my school. This trip was mostly geological/ecological. The week culminated with a trip to the Burgess Shale (Wikipedia page) where a collection of soft bodied fossils from ~540 million years ago are found at the top of a high mountain pass.

I was there for a week, we stationed up at the University of Calgary Biogeosciences center an hour or so west of Calgary. During the week we did many geologic tours and several short and long hikes I will only post some of the highlights of the trip here.

Day 1- Travel Flew into calgary, gathered people from many different flights at the airport and got some rental vans to drive off into the Front Ranges of the Canadian Rockies.
Day 2- Lots of driving in vans, Front Ranges
University of Calgary Biogeosciences Center
Mt. Baldy behind some of the cabins that scientists stay in
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Some pictures of Mt. Yamnuska on the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. I was with a geology group, so there was much talk about thrust faulting and limestones etc. etc. Whatever is responsible the views are always awe inspiring.
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Since most of these rock units were limestone, there was always the chance when looking at a rock outcrop during the trip that one could find some fossils. Here is some which I found along the shoreline of Lac des Arcs in the Bow River valley
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Day 3- Banff National park
Hiking around Lake Johnson in Banff national park
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The City of Banff is right in the middle of the park. Nearby is Tunnel mountain which overlooks the town. A small group of us decided to hike that with our alloted 2 hours to walk around Banff and buy souveniers.

Summit of Tunnel Mountain 1,680m (5,543 ft)
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Obligatory Lake Louise selfie
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Day 4- Local (~1.5hrs drive) hike near Biogeosciences center
Moose near Spray Lake
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Hike up to Rummel Lake 2300m (7545 ft)
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Larix (Larch) around rummel Lake
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Day 5- Icefields Parkway (driving...)
Dawn Alpenglow on Mountains flanking the west of the Kananaskis Valley
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Breakfast in the Kananaskis Valley
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We took a drive far up into the Icefields Parkway.
Here is Crowfoot glacier
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Glacial Lake Peyto. Chalky blue with Glacial Flour
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Here I am taking a walk on the Athabasca Glacier (And no I didn't bring my crampons!)
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Meltwater on the Athabasca Glacier
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Day 6- Burgess Shale hike
The Burgess Shale is a restricted Zone and a UNESCO world heritage site. There is a public access trail which goes past the col the shale lies on. However the mountain is off-limits unless you have a guide from the Burgess Shale conservation organization. They limit the groups to 12 at a time in the shale, so we had to split our group of 24 into two, and stagger the approaches so we wouldn't reach maximum capacity. These are one of a kind fossils, and not very many people get to see them outside of a museum display. The trip needs to be booked months in advance, is very cost prohibitive, and is a 14 mile hike up to 7,500 feet of elevatin.

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The public access part of the trail. This place has constant rock fall and is very dangerous.
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I forget the names of these mountains and its snowcap and waterfall.
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Hiking up into the restricted zone to the fossil quarry
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Some crazy cambrian explosion fossils! Compass length is total 10cm
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Our professional guide has the key for all the fossils
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Do you like triolobites?
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Me taking a look at some cambrian fossils in the Burgess Shale
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Afterwords we had to hike back down along the narrow mountain paths again. Despite looking very steep, most of the trails are switchbacked a lot and very low grade so it's not difficult climbing.
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Day 7- Flight back to jersey
As we flew down from the Great White North we actually passed right over some familiar peaks!
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Re: Canadian Rockies August 2014

New postby mike » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:51 pm

The fossils in the rock is incredible. I have hiked some in Canada. Mainly in Waterton NP. But not in Banif and Jasper NP. Lots of great things to see. Great photos!
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Re: Canadian Rockies August 2014

New postby mtnclimber » Wed Dec 10, 2014 2:30 pm

Looks like you had a real nice trip. It is such a nice area to visit and hike. A lot to see in those parks. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Canadian Rockies August 2014

New postby kennykb » Wed Dec 10, 2014 4:44 pm

mike wrote:The fossils in the rock is incredible. I have hiked some in Canada. Mainly in Waterton NP. But not in Banif and Jasper NP. Lots of great things to see. Great photos!


Considering that Mike lives right by the Helderberg Group limestones, which were as important to mid-nineteenth-century palaeontology as the Burgess Shale was to palaeontology a century later, that's saying a lot! I mention this only because sometimes we don't notice the wonderful things we have close to home. Great pictures, and I want to get out that way one of these years!
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