Canadian Rockies Hiking Blog

Ticks, Permethrin and Canadian hypocrisy

Once again, tick season is upon us. For most in the Rockies wood ticks are an annual nuisance that we suffer for a couple of months. The only defence is to tuck our pants into our socks and check ourselves carefully for the beasties following every hike. But in many...

Spring hiking with crampons

With the onset of spring, most well-travelled winter trails turn into skating rinks with the daily freeze-thaw cycle. That's why I decided to store my skis and snowshoes and try a well-reviewed pair of Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultras. For serious hiking on snowpacked...

The Canadian Hiker’s & Backpacker’s Handbook

When Ben Gadd asked me to write the Foreword to The Canadian Hiker's & Backpacker's Handbook back in 2008, I was surprised and a bit taken aback. Wasn't there already a wealth of "how-to" books about hiking and backpacking on the market? And backpacking was...

Aileen Harmon: Requiem for a hiker

January 14, 1912-January 9, 2015 Aileen Harmon was a pioneer hiker and naturalist in Banff National Park—the first child of Banff landscape photographer Byron Harmon and the last of the pre-World War I Banff "kids" who would become the park's first climbers, skiers...

Coping with gridlock in Banff

Planning a trip to the mountain parks this summer? Prepare for gridlock. Canada, the Canadian Rockies, and particularly Banff, are everywhere you look these days. On the cover of the December-January issue of National Geographic Traveler and as the subject of a...

A hiker’s bucket list

      Despite what many people believe, Bart and I haven't hiked all the trails in the Canadian Rockies. There are still trails we've missed and would dearly like to hike before we get too creaky to manage them. When I was making up a "bucket list" for...

Jasper’s backcountry trail crisis

      Washed out bridges that aren’t replaced. Deteriorating backcountry campsites with grotty outhouses. Landslides and fires wiping out sections of trails, some permanently. Tracks over alpine passes awash and churned into muddy soup. Numerous trails...

Park wardens: past and present

When we published the 2nd edition of the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide in 1978, Jim Thorsell provided the cover photo of two park wardens in wool knickers packing from Floe Lake to Numa Pass. When Jim revisited Floe Lake last month, he discovered two very different...

A case for park trailminders

The recent citation issued to a civilian trailminder in Kootenay Park has brought national attention to a question I've been asking for quite sometime. Why is it that provincial parks, lands & forest agencies, and municipalities can work with volunteer groups to...