Alberta snapshot: Prairie View Trail.

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The result of a fun afternoon hike in Kananaskis my hubby and I did back in April.  The peak in the foreground is Mt. Baldy, overlooking the amazing blue water of Barrier Lake. This is a great hike for beginners or parents with older kids (or experienced hikers who want to blaze through in a couple of hours or less). The only significant elevation change occurs shortly after you’ve hit the first lookout. While we encountered only three cyclists at this early date, Prairie View is apparently a popular mountain biking trek, so everyone has to share the trail during the peak season.

Alberta snapshot: Mount Black Prince and Warspite Lake.

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Mount Black Prince with Warspite Lake in foreground, Kananaskis Country – snowshoe trek on 6 February 2016.  Venturing across the lake would have been too risky due to avalanches.  

Absolute majesty.

Snowshoeing trek: Wintour.

I hope the start of 2016 has been good to you!

I’m still trying to catch up on tasks I ought to have done last year (what’s that popular Internet meme again?  “My goal for 2016 is to accomplish the goals of 2015 which I should have done in 2014 because I promised them in 2013 and planned in 2012.”  Yeah, that sounds about right).

I’d rather go to the mountains.

My hubby and I did this snowshoeing trip on New Year’s Day.  The Wintour trail is a bit on the novel side…because you snowshoe (or cross-country ski, if you prefer) on a major highway.  A large chunk of Highway 40 in Kananaskis Country is closed to all vehicular traffic between December 1 and June 1 annually because of heavy snowfall accumulations and the fact that the area is critical wildlife habitat.

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The Wintour is mostly flat terrain and is considered by many to be “too easy” and “not scenic enough.”  But I totally beg to differ on the scenery front.  And the place is so amazingly quiet – we barely met anyone else in several hours on a day when half of the population of Calgary was out in K-Country.

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As for “easy,” I suspect I may have eaten a few too many holiday cookies.  We’ll leave it at that.  😉

Alberta snapshot: Forest Ecology Loop, Kananaskis.

Dashing through the…forest?

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There wasn’t much snow in some parts of Kananaskis Country this past weekend (judging by the cross-country ski reports from Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, that wasn’t the case everywhere, although it sounds like it was pretty icy in spots).  My hubby and I could have easily hiked the Forest Ecology Loop near the University of Calgary Biogeoscience Institute but chose to snowshoe it, even though the snow was a little inconsistent.  This is just a short, super-easy jaunt (about 2.3 km including the connected Forest Loop) and I believe in the summertime you can pick up a pamphlet from the Barrier Lake Information Centre that offers interpretive information for the trail. This would be a really refreshing cool walk on a hot summer’s day – and I bet there are some great wildflower viewing opportunities in late spring.  We also had the unexpected chance to log in some history geocaches and learn about the area, which was the site of a P.O.W. internment camp during World War II.

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Alberta Snapshot: Middle Lake, summertime.

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This is one of my favourite places to photograph:  Middle Lake, in Bow Valley Provincial Park.   I always love how moody this little pond appears, depending on the cloud cover – you can see another shot of it here, snapped when my hubby and I stopped there after an ice walk in February.   These particular photos were taken earlier this month, during a fun, but rather wet camping trip in the Park.  We tent, so rainy conditions are always a bit of a challenge.  It’s really the clean up afterwards that doesn’t hold any appeal for me – we don’t have a balcony or deck attached to our suite, so I usually end up drying the tent in the shower, which means for the next few days, I’m scrubbing tag along spiders and beetles and other assorted creatures off of the walls and ceiling.  Okay, that’s a lie – it’s more like I stand as far away as possible (another room, preferably) and point nebulously and scream hysterically while my husband cleans up the wayward travellers.   😉

Apparently the rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of a truckload of teenagers, who stopped to take a swim in the cold water as we were leaving the parking lot.  The lake is a bit sludgy and wouldn’t be my first choice as a swimming hole, but the nearby Bow River was running too fast for a safe dip.  According to interpretive signs, Middle Lake is shrinking every year and will eventually dry up to become part of the meadow surrounding it.

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My brother spotted this impressive old specimen of a balsam fir just off the beaten path.  Wonder just how long it’s been since it was a seed?

Skeletons in the forest.

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It DOES have a bit of a spooky quality to it, doesn’t it?  On a hike a couple of years ago, my hubby and I came across this grove of dead trees in Sibbald Flats, Kananaskis.  The trees were originally planted in 1974 as part of a logging reclamation project.  Something tells me even more reclamation is in order….

Wishing you a safe and happy Hallowe’en!  Are you doing anything to celebrate?

Snowshoe trek.

The weather has been absolutely beautiful these past few days, with above freezing temperatures and lots of bright sun. It won’t last, but we’ll take it while we can get it! 🙂

On Friday, my hubby and I made a day trip out to the mountains to enjoy the scenery and do a little snowshoeing. The Elkwood Trail in Kananaskis Country was our first destination (we later did a short trek near Lower Kananaskis Lake as well). This well-marked track runs through a large campground in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, and encompasses an interpretive loop around Marl Lake. Stands of white spruce and lodgepole pine predominate, and we had to imagine what the trail will look like once the wildflowers awaken from their slumber. But, in the meantime, there were plenty of other interesting sights to enjoy….

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(Photo credit:  R. Normandeau)

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(Photo credit:  R. Normandeau)

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(Photo credit:  R. Normandeau)

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Happy Monday! I hope you are enjoying the sunshine wherever you are!

Related posts:

Elkwood Snowshoe Loop – Kananaskis – Hiking Alberta (Hiking With Barry – Wilderness Adventure)

Winter interest. (floweryprose.com)