Magazine article Sunset

Hiking the Canadian Rockies, with a Helicopter Head Start

Magazine article Sunset

Hiking the Canadian Rockies, with a Helicopter Head Start

Article excerpt

Hiking the Canadian Rockies, with a helicopter head start

Krummholz, nunatak, and rock flour are terms that come to life when you hike to a subalpine island of dwarf vegetation (a krummholz), gaze at an isolated outcrop unscathed by a glacier's advance (a nunatak), or dabble your toes in an icy lake colored opaque turquoise by fine glacial silt (rock flour). Even the most casual hiker can take in such scenic standouts in the high Canadian Rockies on guided outings called heli-hikes.

Heli-hiking means you fly to dramatic drop-off points--from glacial icefields to stream-laced alpine meadows--for some hiking, nature exploring, and lunch before pickup and return by chopper.

If a summer visit to Vancouver's Expo 86 can include a side trip to the Rockies, consider spending a day or longer with one of a handful of companies offering such outings. If you like to fly and to hike through scenes of near-fantasy beauty, this is an exhilarating experience.

Prices listed--in U.S. dollars--are per person unless noted. All firms are in Alberta, area code 403.

Assiniboine Heli Tours, Box 6000, Canmore T0L 0M0; 678-5459.

Second heli-hike season runs from July through October. Day trip leaves Canmore heliport for drops near Banff: $250, with picnic lunch provided. …

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