Larching about

Ouch! That’s a terrible title – a bit of word play, close to larking about – but it’s not really working is it? Never mind. The OldPlaidCamper brain is firing on fewer than usual cylinders this week, so I’d best keep it brief…

After a decent run of weekend getaways into the mountains, our calendar has come up short, and we’re city bound for the next little while, with work and social commitments. No complaints (well, not too many), and a post this week that looks back to a hike up to see some fall larches.

Rest stop – break out the chocolate

We committed to the Taylor Lake hike a few Sundays ago, determined to set out rain or shine. We didn’t really get either, with the weather set in at steadfastly grey, and a few wispy bits of white cloud clinging to the higher reaches, rather like a late middle-aged male hairline (we’ve been studying metaphors and similes at school…)

Taylor Lake, AB

Being familiar with the trail, we felt prepared to take on the ascent at a slow and steady pace, armed with granola bars, chocolate, some almonds, plenty of water, and a willingness to stop and admire the view whenever slow and steady was too fast. That was quite often. Everyone knows that the best way to lighten the load in a heavy pack is to eat the contents. Not the spare socks though.

It’s not a lark, but was slow and steady (very sensible)

With a lighter load comes a lighter heart, at least for this old hiker, and the uphill going was almost pleasant. All a bit of a lark, and we reached our destination in less time than expected – the chocolate was that good!

Emerging into the wetlands

The top of the trail reveals wide wetlands and one end of the lake quite suddenly, an almost startling contrast with the enclosed tree-lined path on the way up. It all opens out, and you see the larches clinging to the slopes, you see sky after being under a canopy of trees, and you have a long view reflected in the rippling lake water. It is quite a release and reward at the end of an uphill stretch.


All you can do is find a spot and sit for a while, let your mind wander, and smile when you know that the return trail is downhill all the way. You might even discover another cube or two of chocolate at the bottom of your pack. Those discoveries and happy thoughts take years off you, and your legs feel fresh and ready – why, you’ll be larking about, all the way back down…

dscf3819Thanks for reading, please feel free to share a story or leave a comment – what’s a hiking essential in your pack? – and have a wonderful weekend!dscf3830

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I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

18 thoughts on “Larching about”

  1. That’s my favorite kind of hike, when you take the time to fully enjoy the surroundings. It’s quiet an extraordinary beautiful place you visited. Thank you for feeding my imagination this Friday morning. My weekend has officially begun 🙂


  2. Well, chocolate (and a few nuts thrown in) is always an essential for me when out hiking, heck even at home! This sounds like a lovely walk and that scenery, sigh, it’s just breath taking. Thank you for taking us along.
    Happy weekend to you. 😊


  3. Oh how I enjoyed this post, pc. You sure know how to hike and describe the process well, too. You do a really good job of describing the best parts of hiking, the freedom, the beauties, and the uncanny way food (and espec. choc.)–even when it’s broken bits from the bottom of the pack–tastes somehow more incredible. How many times hiking have we hikers & campers dropped it on the ground, wiped off the dust, and it’s as good as ever? Great post. Photos are great too — larches are gorgeous right now.


    1. Thanks, Jet! The larches are lovely, particularly this time of year. Our range of fall colours is less here compared to other places we’ve lived, so the larches are a stand out.
      You’re absolutely right about food on the trail – it does taste better! And a little mud or dust on it doesn’t hurt, and if it’s all you have, get over it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Larching About is quite the fitting title, and sounds a lot better than Tamaracking About, although I also like the name “tamarack” as an alternative to “larch.” In either case, it’s a beautiful tree in autumn, the only conifer I’m aware of that changes dramatically with the seasons. Very nice photos, as usual, of another fine mountain walk. Especially like your spruce grouse pic!


    1. Hi, Walt! Glad you liked the spruce grouse photograph. Jet kindly offered to identify the bird and sent me confirmation earlier today that it was indeed a spruce grouse, and now I have double confirmation from you! I followed a link that explained there are sub-species of grouse, and one is the Franklin’s grouse. How about that?!
      The larches are a special coniferous tree, and they do light up some of the slopes in fall. Always a pleasure to hike up to them (and yes, tamarack is a more attractive name!)
      Thanks, Walt, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!


  5. Beautiful photos! I have to admit that the only hikes I enjoy are the ones I read about on your blog, but if I was to go out hiking with the possibility of being lost in the woods I would need these two essentials – Diet Mtn Dew and M&Ms. Wonderful post!


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