Many Springs hike.

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Rain threatened, but it was warmer during this hike than it looks in these photos!  Many Springs is a really short (1.3 km) and easy walk within the boundaries of Bow Valley Provincial Park, a wonderful place for spotting wildflowers and just enjoying the fantastic scenery.  It’s a great educational site (and would be ideal for anyone with young children), as there are interpretive signs throughout the loop that give some idea of the flora and fauna of the area and the “mystery” of the springs.  Hiking mid-week, in poor weather, meant we had the place to ourselves…ah, bliss!

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Have you done any wildflower hunting lately, or walked in a new (or favourite) spot?

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?

Snowshoeing at Hogarth Lakes.

The past couple of weeks have been a bit too cold (understatement) and mostly too busy (also an understatement) to head out to the mountains and strap on the snowshoes – but here’s a look back at a trip my hubby and I took in January.  We’d never been out to Hogarth Lakes before, so the scenery was a real treat for us, even if the skies were grey and snow fell the whole time.  It’s a sheltered spot and there was very little wind (yay!), except for a massive gust at one point when we rounded a corner and the trees blasted powdery flakes down on top of us.

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Hogarth Lakes is a hiking/snowshoeing loop in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, in Kananaskis, Alberta.   We got there by driving south on the Smith-Dorrien Road from Canmore until we reached the Burstall Pass trailhead – the road was in surprisingly good condition that day, considering the snowfall.  Even so, we were reassured by the sight of a snowplough as we headed up towards the parking lot.  Mountain roads…not to be trifled with!

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This short (4.4 km) loop is relatively flat and great for beginners – it would be one families could take their younger children out on, especially if the trail is packed down.  We found a bunch of side trails that looked like fun, but we stuck to the main loop, especially after we were warned by a group who had stopped for refreshments that they had noticed some open water on one of the side trails they took.  Better not to risk it, especially as we aren’t familiar with the landscape.

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Here are a couple of shots of the Spray Lakes Reservoir near Canmore.  I took these photos on our trip back into town after snowshoeing.  You can see the sun had briefly emerged – of course!  🙂

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I would love to see the Lakes in other seasons as well – I’m looking forward to heading out there again.  We’ll definitely be back with the snowshoes!

You can find a link to a map of the Hogarth Lakes Loop here.

Another account of an excursion to Hogarth Lakes can be found by clicking the link in Hiking With Barry’s post 5 Great Snowshoe Trips – Kananaskis.

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?

Mountain walk.

I hope everyone is enjoying the festive season! Have you had a chance to get out and do some gardening? (Weather permitting, of course!). Or perhaps you’ve gone on a nature walk?

My hubby and I attempted to work off some of the holiday cookies on Christmas Day and did a bit of wandering around Canmore and Kananaskis Country. We live less than an hour’s drive from the Rocky Mountains and it is always such a treat to head out there! No matter what time of the year, there’s always something new to see…while I’m especially fond of going on wildflower hunts in the late spring and early summer, you simply cannot beat wintry scenes like this:

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One of my goals for 2013 is to spend even more time outdoors!  Have you made any resolutions yet?

Have the happiest of New Years!  Make every moment count!  🙂