Friday, December 6, 2019

Prairie Mountain December 6, 2019

It took so much self talk to first get out the door this morning and second to get out of my car at the gate on route 66 across from Elbow Falls.  It's no fuss to get everything ready for a hike up Prairie Mountain and it's an easy drive to the trail head.  The forecast said perfect, no snow, no wind, no cold.  It was a mind game I had to play!  

I played the game and I won!  🏆

This was the prize!
It felt crispy while I geared up and even while I was doing that, I debated whether I should just hop in the car and head back home.  The sky began to turn pink and it looked gorgeous.  I wanted more of this and what else was to come.  So, I just said geesh girl just get your act together and get it done!
the view a bit higher up
then the alpenglow glowed
I was committed!  It was onward and upward!  I was realizing the trail was probably in the best condition I have ever experienced.  There was no ice nor mud.  The trail was packed just enough and it was grippy.  There were no braids, it was just one trail straight up.   As it turned out, I attacked this ascent and reached the summit the quickest I ever have.  
my summit shot
(the flag is in a bad way, it's just half a flag)
I hung out for awhile admiring the scenery.  The snow was solid and wind swept.
The whole stretch of Nihahi looked amazing!
drifted, wind swept snow, solid as a rock
the cloud formations were awesome
There was a very slight breeze!
I spent about a half hour on the summit.  Two soloists arrived while I was there and I met more on their way up as I was descending.  I knew the whole descent would be easy and it was.  One last look back was in order before I headed off into the forest and the long steeeeeep sections.
I am so thankful I won the self talk debate!  

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Spray River Loop Banff December 3, 2019

A month ago the plan for today was put in place.  The friend who I met in Grade Primary and who I would be sharing the trail with is a recent retiree.  We are both realizing that life in retirement is busy and full, well that's because we like it like that and it is what you make it.  Today was the day that fit in for us both so off we went, hitting a trail almost out her back door and aiming for the Banff Springs Hotel archway to reach the beginning of the Spray River Loop Trail.  
I have X-C Skied along Spray River West and my friend has hiked the loop in summer and biked the West side.  Completing the full loop in wintry conditions as a hike would be new for each of us.  Our timing was perfect as there is just enough snow for that winter-like feel, yet not enough snow for the skiers to be out yet.  We crossed the bridge to hike along Spray River East side first.
We had blue sky, a flurry of white gold once in awhile and a cold enough temperature to afford us pink cheeks and rosy noses.  The Spray River is still very wide open.  The only time I have seen it, it has been mostly ice covered.  You can see the Banff Springs Hotel at the base of the mountain in the middle.
 A couple from The Netherlands came along and we had a lengthy lovely chat with them.  
They captured our photo and we reciprocated.  
It was so nice to be meandering along the river-side, hearing the river run, seeing the views, feeling the fresh air and being caught up in sharing stories, some funny, some serious.  
 We came upon a back country campground that I had no idea existed.  
We walked through it.  I was curious about the setup and the lay of the land.  It appeared the cooking area had been used recently.  There was a fresh load of wood for a fire.  I could not see where the tent pads were but they were probably nearer where the entrance sign was.
 We reached the second bridge to cross over to the Spray River West side.  
We took a little time here to have a snack.  The picnic table was gone but the wood structure shelter with a bench inside was the perfect spot to sit.  I savoured my sandwich and had some sips of tea then it was time to get on with working our way back.  We still a good number of kilometres to cover.   The view by the river was pretty as we looked over to Rundle.
We completed the loop, walked through the archway and here we found Christmas in the air with the statue sporting a Santa Claus hat.  From here we made our way along trails through the forest and then arrived back to my friend's home.
 This was truly an enjoyable day and the hours seemed to zip by.  
I look forward to sharing more time together after the new year settles down.
Thank you for today!
We covered just short of 16kms.  
This was the Spray River Loop route we completed.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Confederation Park X-C Ski December 2, 2019

I love Mondays, their my fun days!  
It was just another morning enjoying the view while I work!

With the temperature on an upward swing, it's time for me to swing into action at Confederation Golf Course and I don't mean swinging the clubs I mean gliding in the X-C Ski tracks.  The gate was due to open today and it did which meant having a proper place to park without a long walk.  I was surprised at the number of vehicles already there when I arrived shortly after nine, I'd said there were a dozen.  It took no time to gear up and I was in the track shortly after arriving.
  It was a beautiful morning with the fluffy white clouds scattered throughout the bright blue sky. 
The blue flags marked the trail for classic skiers.
The tracks were O.K. in some sections and not so much in other areas.  
I do better in defined tracks that have some depth.  
There were times when I was confused with where I should be so took short cuts to get back on track.   That's when I made my own tracks which were probably over top of fairways.
out of the way bunny or I will run you over
wildlife sighting of the day
As the morning went on, it became even prettier.

When I was getting close to covering 10kms, I aimed for the hill and herringboned up it.
That's my kind of Monday. 
That's my kind of work!

This was the ground I covered today.  

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Lake Minniwanka Trail November 30, 2019

Today's destination was decided in a split second once the car was loaded at our rendezvous location.  I was the driver and I wanted easy smooth sailing with all green and no red.  The only option for that would be hitting the highway straight west with no veer offs until Banff.  That's where we veered off with a plan now in place of hiking as far as we felt like it along the Lake Minniwanka Trail.     

We had loads to catch up on lifes' happenings because it has been months since we shared the trails.  Besides sharing stories and admiring the scenery, we made sure to stay warm.  Who knows what the temperature was, but it warranted four layers, one being a down.  The heaviest of heavy mitts were necessary too along with a neck and face gator.  

This photo says it all! 
 Did they not get the boat out of the water in time?
It appears to now be there for the winter!
We hiked along the lake shore on the way to the main trail.  
As you can see not much of the lake is frozen yet.  
 our view along the way
We reached Stewart Canyon and made our way across the bridge.  Yes that's us down there with the unusual stance.  The sky was full on blue with not a cloud in sight.  For me that meant it would not be a most favourable day for photography.  I can give you this great shadow shot though!
We continued hiking along the trail for roughly six to seven kilometers when we decided this would be as far as we wanted to go.  We found a spot in the sunshine to dine.  It was so cold, we had to settle in the sun or else!  The sun shone on the shore of the lake plus the rocks looked inviting to see with the ice formations around them.

It was time to get back up onto the trail and make our way to the parking lot.  
The sun was higher now and on us for a large part of the return trip, thank goodness.  

We stopped at a picnic table in the sun to finish off our tea and snacks but once the sun went behind the trees we were out of there.  It was still very cold while we geared down so we accomplished it rather quickly.  I blasted the heat in the car and then we were on our way.

How our day transpired turned out to be an enjoyable way to say good-bye to November!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Rawson Lake & Area Snowshoe November 28, 2019

I wondered right up until the last minute would today happen!  Roads reported red & windchill showed double digits beginning with a 2.  We waited, we questioned, we put a call in, then a positive confirmation was made that we are going to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park to play.   We hit the highway and then veered off to where life begins, down Highway 40.  It was a slow go, our driver stated it was like driving on a sheet of ice.  As we drove that road, the sky cleared and the scenery became outstanding.  We made it to Elk Pass Parking Lot! Whew!  
A brave nine of us bundled up and we quickly strapped on our snowshoes.  It's on frigid days like this I am thankful for the type of snowshoes I have, there is no fussing with straps and they are secured in place in a matter of seconds.  We found our way along the connector from Elk Pass Parking Lot over to Upper Kananaskis Lake.  This is what we were presented with!
 following my friends
 view of Upper Kananaskis Lake as we circumnavigated it
We took the trail towards Rawson Lake and just made a business out of getting to the top.  This was one of the very very few times my down jacket remained on while ascending a trail.  I needed it!  We arrived at Rawson Lake to see it looking splendid with fresh snow and lots of it.
 my destination photo
 working up an appetite
Lunch was not long and we did not linger.  We had additional distance in another direction to cover once back down at Upper Kananaskis Lake so we got going and descended at a good clip.  In between clipping I was still snapping.  The views remained incredible.
 still following my friends
 we gathered here for a few minutes to admire the view before carrying on
 view as we snowshoed along the dam
At the edge of the dam we headed down a short steep hill towards the Everest Expedition Trail.  
We meandered through meadows, along paths, crossed roads.  
Hours had passed and the shadows were getting long. 
It was time to find our way back to where we strapped on our snowshoes at the start so we could unstrap them, stow them, then hop into our warm and cozy ride for home.