Sparrowhawk Tarns, Alberta

Discussion in 'Hiking & Camping' started by SteveR, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. SteveR

    SteveR Member

    Messages:
    34
    This one is from a few weeks ago now in early July, as a busy work schedule and trying to cram in a variety of activities on the weekends has cut into time for photo editing at home, with a backlog of more recent trips still "in the can". Better late than never I guess...
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    Sparrowhawk Tarns in the Spray Lakes valley south of Canmore is a perennial favourite of ours. While not an officially designated route, a mostly very good trail, beaten in and improved by the growing number of hikers who visit these hidden gems, climbs easily through forest, and then into the kilometre long rockpile section. Marmots are abundant here, but were not co-operating for portrait taking on this day.
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    This moss campion was willing to oblige the photographers in our group of friends, though.
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    Columbine were profuse, in the pockets of meadows between the masses of boulders.
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    Beyond the boulder field, it was union lunchtime at the first tarn. By now, after several weeks of hot dry weather, this and many of the other tarns will be much depleted as they are largely fed by the melting snowpack, with the water draining away into the porous limestone of the basin.
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    A look ahead at the stream feeding the first tarn, and onwards to our off-trail route which circled the head of the cirque on scree and limestone pavement.
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    A look back as we climbed higher.
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    With plenty of water along the way, the hike was a good choice on a hot day for Piper, our year old retriever.
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    Snow provided a welcome respite from a looser rocky section.
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    The second tarn on our route, cradled between limestone slabs.
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    Tarn #3 at the head of the valley is the largest, at least when still fed by the melting snowpack. We have been here later in the summer and have found this one to be little more than a small pond.
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    Might as well linger for a while on a perfect afternoon....
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    Leaving the uppermost tarn, we circled a series of interconnected pools, on the small plateau that cradles the majority of the tarns.
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    Between tarns, some small cascades feed lush alpine meadows.
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    A steep rocky trail descends from the plateau, next to the ribbon of white water fed by the tarns.
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    Which leads to a wonderful stretch of meadow wandering in the company of the gurgling stream.
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    Rockier hillsides above the meadows were carpeted in mountain avens.
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    A look behind as the route begins to descend back through the rockpile. Although a bit tedious at times- a reasonable trail through the jumble of boulders is developing. Nonetheless- it was a relief for hot feet to hit the soft forest path, for the final few km out to the very dusty spray lakes road.
     
  2. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em!

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    Beautiful! Thanks!
     
  3. Ugly

    Ugly Member

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    Draper
    I came back and took a second look at this.

    I could look at Ka-na-na-na-na-na-nanaskis country all day.
     
  4. andyjaggy

    andyjaggy Member

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    Is there any place prettier than the Canadian Rockies? I'm not there is.
     
  5. WasatchWill

    WasatchWill Ready For More

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