Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sulphur Springs Elbow River Loop March 17, 2019

I pulled out my St Patrick's Day decorations a few days ago having them ready to display come the Day.  A couple of hiking options were swirling around in my mind for this Day and I figured I would decide the morning of the Day. Well, that was the plan when I went to bed last night!  I woke at five before midnight and just like that I had a change of heart and was able to quickly find others that I could join up with in the morning.  The morning came, it's the Day, it's St Patrick's Day!       
I'm ready to go!
The plan was to start at Station Flats, hit the Sulphur Springs Trail, follow it out to Route 66, cross the road, aim for the Riverview Trail, follow the ridge that would eventually head down to the Elbow River, enjoy the river views, work our way through Paddy's Flat Campground, cross Route 66, then hike the last few kilometers back to Station Flats, having completed a great big scenic loop.

and so our St Patrick's Day hike begins
We had sun and we had shadows.
It was quite warm and once we began the ascent, delayering was a necessity.  
It felt like spring and it looked like it to out in this part of the playground.  
Lots of the elevation was done by the time we crossed over the Moose Mountain Road and arrived at a fabulous view point.  I enjoyed the cloud dance performance. This big meadow was designated as our early lunch time spot.
Before settling down to dine, I captured a destination shot.
This was my lunch time view.  
As you can see we were afforded a windless lunch break.  See too, no gloves!  Today was a great promise that spring is around the corner.  A few hot cups of tea were really not necessary on this day. It will soon be time to store the thermos for many months.
being one with St Patrick's Day
After our early lunch we climbed up away from the meadow to follow a ridge that afforded mountain views.   The snow here was deep in spots and did not support us.  No big deal though, we got through it all the while I enjoyed the view.
 a vast vista
We crossed Route 66 and began the hike along the Riverview Trail.  
I had no idea this trail existed.  
It was so pretty.
 the sun, the warmth, the shadows, the clouds, the trees, it was all good
From the ridge to the river.  The ice was beginning to break up.  Another great promise spring is around the corner.  We took our time along the trail section that was down by the Elbow River.  No one seemed to be in a hurry, we were all embracing this day and these views.
The trail lead up to Paddy's Flat Campground, my mind drifted to sleeping in my tent out in the wild, then just as quick I came back to reality as we needed to cross back over Route 66.  With a little more elevation gain and then a descent, followed by a meander, we were back at Station Flats.

The blue line shows our route for today.

I'm thankful I got to join up with the others today.  Today's route was a new one for me.  It was nice to catch up with old friends and make new ones.  The spring-like weather felt so good to be out & about in.  In summary I felt lucky today!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Bowness Park March 15, 2019

From full on wintry-like yesterday at Lake Louise to full on springy-like in Calgary today, we have the best of both worlds in this part of our great country.  This was the day to catch up with Happy Hiker to share an urban hike around Bowness Park, capture pretty pictures and exchange our recent life happenings.  We got lost in conversation with so much to share, at times we needed to declare let's stop and look at the view.  These were a few of our river and forest views with some being worthy of Mother Nature's frames.
 This was our 6.3 km route.
With spring on the verge of springing upon us, 
this was a fine taste of what we can expect in the coming weeks.  
Doors and opportunities will open up.

Thank you for today! 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Paradise Plus at Lake Louise March 14, 2019

If the word "paradise" is part of the name of the main destination then I want to be on the go list and go there!  I have been through there in the summer but never in the winter.  When we reached Paradise Valley on our snowshoes today, I wondered why have I never snowshoed here?  Why I asked?  Why?      
Today's route would be another one of those one-way treks beginning at Lake Louise itself and ending at Lake Louise Village.  Our plan was to follow the trail that heads up as if you were going to Saddleback but turn off at the junction and take the Horse Trail, then turn off onto the Paradise Valley Trail, work our way out there for awhile, return back to the bridge but then veer down along side Paradise Creek, hang a left onto Moraine Lake Road until Tramline then follow it to the junction of Louise Creek Trail and that trail would take us back to the Village eventually.

 The horse trail was narrow lined and with snow laden trees.
 The trail sign along the way which at one point was covered in snow.
We took a few minutes once we reached this junction for a quick energy boost.  
Being mid March, soon it will be time to pay closer attention to signs like this.  
We reached the first bridge and I was in awe!  This was the first time for me to be here in winter.  Why I asked?  Why have I never snowshoed here before?  Others had been maybe many days ago so we still needed to break trail to a minor extent.
 It was looking like paradise to me!
We snowshoed our way into Paradise Valley.  It was so white, so pristine, so beautiful!  Those little puffy white clouds were forming and I did not know where to look.  I admired those clouds, I spied our shadows, the mountain peaks drew me in and then the billowy pillowy snow mounds caught my attention.
 in my happy place mentally and physically
We picked our dining spot in the middle, in the wide open, under the sun, feeling the warmth.  We did not venture far off the trail, in fact we settled down on the edge of it.  A step off too far and you could possibly disappeared into the depths of that white powder.  This is my lunch time view of Saddleback Mountain.
After lunch a couple of us ventured down the trail a tiny bit further before returning to carry on with our day.  Parts of the creek were open.  That's Sheol Mountain behind me and Saddleback Mountain in the top right photo.  I was up on that one twice last summer.    
We passed by the turn off at the bridge and opted to carry on straight down beside Paradise Creek.  
This involved more trail breaking with very careful positioning of snowshoe placement.  
I checked back to make sure the others were close behind.  
It looked so pretty back there.   
Not having snowshoed here before I was curious as to where we would come out.  This was the spot right at the big corner by the bridge along Moraine Lake Road and the X-C Ski trail.  We all gathered together again before heading down the Road towards the Tramline junction.
Gosh, it was beautiful along here too and not busy what so ever.  
We did notice the cloud formation right before our eyes.  
At times it looked like a place, some thought Africa.  
From Moraine Lake Road, to the Tramline and now we snowshoed down the Louise Creek Trail. 
At the bottom of the Louise Creek Trail, we took a round about way to get back to the Village.  We could see clearly over to the ski hill and I imagined while not called paradise over there, it looked like paradise and probably felt like paradise to the skiers.
 We reached the Village and had a few minutes before catching our ride and heading on home.  
This was our route for this beauty of an adventure. 
I was already thinking I can hardly wait to get home to see my photographs of this place called "paradise".  It is quite sweet when you get to just follow all the stars as they align from the beginning of the day to the end.  I think I figured out why I have never snowshoed here before. It happened when the timing was right and that was today! 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Rummel Lake March 10, 2019

After years of wondering what they were like and would I fit it, it was time to try them and see if they were true!   I signed up to try this club with hopes of having a fun enjoyable day snowshoeing to Rummel Lake.  I thought it best to first try with them what I was familiar with.  As it turned out it was a day shared with both new & old friends.   
There's that High Rockies sign again!
The trail up to Rummel Lake intersects the High Rockies Trail.
I always like when you get high enough that you look across to Tent Ridge and see The Fist to the side.  We looked for the big wooden bench around the High Rockies & Rummel Lake Trail intersection but it was no where to be seen.  You know what that means...this place is loaded with snow.
We arrived at Rummel Lake.  The whole Lake was in the sunshine this time around.  We had a later meeting time which meant arriving here later plus coming here in mid March all lined up to afford us a sunshiny lake visit.
We got comfy and then dined for quite some time.  Just as I was savouring the last bite, one of the others was too and he was keen for some destination shots.  I captured his and then he took mine.  I did not have a great deal of success running in the powder as it was too deep.  I tried!
Oh Oh I am beginning to loose balance!
deep down into the snow I go
It was time to pack up and head on back.  We made quick business going along the packed trail through the dense forest.  When we reached the open spaces it was time to move off trail in favour of finding a way through the deep white gold.  It wasn't easy but oh was it fun!
We found our way back out onto the beaten path further down and took a few minutes to admire the scenery before getting on with being done.  I commented that if a first timer was here trying to find there way to the Lake and back again on the real trail, there could be issues.  There were so many beaten down paths heading in all directions.  
What a great day we had making life happen out in this glorious playground!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

William Watson Lodge to Pocaterra Hut March 7, 2019

These Thursdays are turning into discovery days and I'm discovering lots about them, about me, about others.  I think too that I am getting what these Thursdays are all about and I like what I am getting!  Today was another one-way snowshoe along a route I did not know existed from William Watson Lodge to Pocaterra Hut the longer way with a detour.  I feel like these one-ways are spoiling me, how will I manage when it comes time to do an out & back again.  
We were dropped off at William Watson Lodge, geared up then six of us took off down the trail that leads to Lower Kananaskis Lake.  At the start I was already only donning minimal layers.  The sky was clearing and it was pretty right from the get-go.
 I eyed that blanket of white and dreamed of dashing through that snow.  
Oh so white!  Oh so blue!  We could see across the way to the dam which we would need to cross.  We reached it, we crossed it with the wind at our side and blowing snow around our feet.  I like the wilder feel those conditions offer.
 We reached a junction and there once again is a trail sign for the "High Rockies".
 After crossing the dam we took the route for the Penstock Loop.  
After that we were now in new territory for me.  During the many times I drove along the 40, I often spotted a tower off in the distance and wondered what it was, no one ever had an explanation for me.  During our wandering today, we came upon it.  
I wondered about the tower and while doing so, I wandered through the untouched white gold.  There is a beaten path along a road to my right but my preference was to dash through the snow.
 The warning sign says this tower may discharge without warning!
We circled around the tower and found where we had to veer off to head to our destination.  Along the way I saw these cabins.  I often wondered what was down those roads that said "do not enter", well here you go!  They had picnic tables and walk ways at the front of the cabins.
We continued along and eventually made our way to Pocaterra Hut.  
We had a late lunch inside before carrying on with more snowshoeing.
 Now we were three heading off in search of some powder.  
The X-C Ski trail lead us to Sounding Lake which others in days gone by had only ventured out onto a short distance.   We tested the conditions and confirmed it was safe to go the distance to the other side.  We worked our way across and then broke trail in over the knee deep snow along the side to the far end.
 It was time for a little route finding and bushwhacking up a steep slope and down the other side. 
We reached a meadow and broke trail through it which lead us back to a X-C Ski trail. 
We followed the last section along side the X-C Ski trail back to Pocaterra Hut completing a fun loop.      
today's route