While we initially tried to get into Lake O'hara area, our back-up plan was to do some
backpacking in the Skoki area. We graciously accepted Scott and Amy's invitation to
join them and their friends for a nice weekend in the mountains.


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For a lot of people, the simple act of shutting off your cell phone for a weekend is considered 'roughing it'.
For Scott and Amy and their 13 month old Lucy, their weekends are a little more action-packed. After pushing
the bounds of what is considered 'Chariot-capable', they decided to try the trip into Skoki with Lucy.
Here is Scott getting the gear ready.


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Here is our gear. Note Natalia's brand new backpack and poles ready for their first adventure.


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Here is Natalia, raring to go along with Scott and Amy sorting out their kit. Lucy is
pretty happy to simply be chilling out in her Chariot.


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The first 4km are just up the ski hill road on the backside of Lake Louise. However, they are still
steep. Amy is getting a full body cardio workout on the trip into our campsite. A note that even though
Amy pushed the hardest bit of this trip, Scott seemed to wind up getting all of the positive compliments
on the way out.


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Here is Natalia with Mount Temple behind her.


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We first started to get a decent view of Redoubt Mountain once we got out of the ski area's terrain.


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Amy, Lucy, and Mount Temple on the way into the Halfway Hut.


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Our friend Ken Lee also joined the trip. That's Mt Temple behind him as well.


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A touch over-exposed, but you can see that I actually was on this trip as well.


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After a little over 3 hours of hiking, we got into our campsite at Hidden Lake (SK5). The mosquitoes
were horrendous and we got a warning about porcupines frequenting the area.

Video of Scott showing what he packed into Hidden Lake



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Here are Lucy and Amy coming back from changing her into her martian suit.


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A close-up of Lucy in her martian suit, her new runners, and her favourite toy - Conrad.


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It turns out that the warning about the porcupines was valid. Natalia is sad because her pretty purple
poles are no longer as pretty now that the porcupines chewed the rubber. That's Ptarmigan mountain
visible in the right of the photo.


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Natalia and I along with Ptarmigan and Pika, two animals we did see on this trip. We also saw marmots,
deer, chipmunks, squirrels, and whiskey jacks.


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We decided to hike up to Skoki Lodge to see what the fuss is about. We took the Packer's Pass trail there
and the Deception Pass back. Here is Scott and Lucy with Ptarmigan Lake behind them.


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Natalia at Ptarmigan Lake.


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Natalia and I at Ptarmigan Lake, 4 August 2012.


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Here is Natalia at the top of Packer's Pass with a bit of snow still sticking around.


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A neat shot from Packer's Pass with Temple, Redoubt, Redoubt Lake, Ptarmigan Lake, and a whole lot of
scree in the foreground.


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Lucy hopped out of her backpack for a little stroll around Packer's Pass.


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Scott and Amy looking down at the Wall of Jericho. That's Zigadenus Lake below with the dazzling blue colour.
It's named after a flower that doesn't appear to be local to this area.


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Natalia looking out at another pretty lake - Myosotis Lake, named after one of my new favourite flowers -
the Forget-me-not.


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Natalia and Amy walking along Myosotis Lake with the back of Ptarmigan visible behind them.


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After the lake, there was an interesting bit of trail that Scott led us around involving some mild
scrambling. Here's Scott with his daughter on his back.


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Natalia thought the waterfall looked like fun. Super slippery rocks though says be careful.


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This is the trail (on the right) that we just came down.


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Scott, Amy, and Lucy inside a small rock amphitheatre below Ptarmigan Mountain in Skoki area of
Banff National Park, 4 Aug 2012.


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As we came down to Skoki Lodge, we came to a fork in the road, literally!


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At Skoki Lodge, we were able to purchase beer for $7 and we happily grabbed a few ice cold ones.
Natalia managed to find a swing that she was pretty excited about.


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Here is the historic Skoki Lodge. More on the lodge HERE .


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Here's Lucy taking a few steps near Skoki lodge.


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It was another hot day so we took refuge in the shade near the lodge.


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Here's Scott as my foreground looking back at the pocket glacier on Ptarmigan Mountain along
with Lake Myosotis.


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Natalia and Amy along with some beautiful yellow wildflowers which might be yellow columbines.


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A poor shot, but cool background of the yellow columbine.


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Here we are on top of Deception Pass. That's Scott looking out at Ptarmigan Lake and just a sliver of
Redoubt Lake.


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Natalia, Amy, and Lucy with Fossil Mountain behind them.


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Natalia and Redoubt Mountain behind her.


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A cute photo of Scott and Amy walking down towards Ptarmigan Lake. Lucy's still in her backpack.


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After night 1, we figured the porcupines were done. It turns out - not so. Here's what one of them
did to Scott's hiking pole. A note that it was firmly stuck in the ground, so the little rodent
pushed it down and chewed on the pole strap.


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Today's objective was a relaxing tour of Heather Ridge. Here are Natalia and Amy wandering across
some stubborn snow above Ptarmigan Lake.


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Here are the ladies taking a snack break. That's Leslie in the back talking to Scott.


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Heather Ridge isn't even marked on my map since it isn't that much of a typical destination. However,
we decided to go for a tour nonetheless. Here are the gang on the talus heading up onto the ridge.


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Here's Natalia coming up a scree slope. Not to point fingers or anything, but this particular bit of
route selection wasn't done by me... Amy, any comments?


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Here's a cool shot of Matthew. A note that he's actually wearing his day pack. Most of the time,
Leslie carried it. That's Redoubt Lake below him.


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A nice shot of Natalia on the top of Heather Ridge.


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A dorky photo of Scott, but with a cool view into the Valley of the 10 peaks near Moraine Lake.


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Natalia and I at the top of Heather Ridge, elevation - 2610m. That's Mt Richardson on the left of the
photo.

Video of the view from Heather Ridge



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We saw this patch of pink/purple from the top of the ridge and thought it too bright to be flowers, but it
turns out to be moss campion. Nice flowers!


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Here are the kids scampering down the talus field with the small summit block of quartz above them.


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When we got down to the lake, it was pretty warm, so we took a bit of a dip. Here's Scott dunking Lucy
in the lake.


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She seemed to totally LOVE the water.


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Lucy also seems to love slab climbing, which she was showing off here.

Video of Lucy slab climbing



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This is a view up to the top of Heather Ridge, which we had just descended.


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Scott set up a sweet hammock when we got back to camp. Here's Natalia cautiously checking it out.

Video of Amy in the hammock



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Since Scott's a glory hog, he pushed Lucy down the trail with the stroller, much to Amy's chagrin -
"But I pushed it UP the hill!"


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The view looking back to Mt Victoria. It's so bright, I really struggled to catch it all. Note Matthew
and Leslie holding hands. Awwww.


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After getting our heat-stroked, sweat-stained, sunburnt bums back to our cars, we did what any reasonable
person would do - head to the Drake in Canmore for a pint! Thanks to Scott and Amy for organizing
a terrific weekend, encouraging us to work on our backcountry cooking, and to Matthew, Leslie, Ken, Mark, and
Liz for enjoying it with us.

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