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.

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