Between my work schedule and the weird weather around here (no snow, then extreme cold), snowshoeing isn’t really happening this year. My hubby and I have managed one trip so far, in January. Due to the huge avalanche risk nearly everywhere on our side of the Rockies at the time, we headed for a safe place: the first few kilometers of Wintour, in Kananaskis Country. In the couple of hours we were out there, we heard the thundering crack of EIGHT avalanches in the peaks several kilometers west and east of us. That gives you a bit of an idea of just how risky it would have been to head out into the backcountry that day!
Another photo from our snowshoeing trip to Fullerton Loop, near Bragg Creek, Alberta, a couple of Sundays ago. The snow and cloudy skies turned the whole world black and white…with just a hint of blue. The silence was magical.
I don’t recall such a snowy February here in Calgary…we’ve definitely got good snowshoeing weather at the moment. The thing is, the risk of avalanches in the mountains is massive right now and sticking to safe terrain is crucial. Fullerton Loop, outside of Bragg Creek, fits the bill perfectly: it’s a no-risk snowshoe trek, fast and easy and short (just over 6 kilometres). It’s fairly heavily trafficked right now, so if you don’t have snowshoes, you can simply hike it (and at this very moment, you probably don’t need microspikes).
We headed out there last Sunday morning and it snowed the whole time; in fact, Highway 66 wasn’t even ploughed when we arrived at the trailhead, beating the crowds that arrived later in the day. For us, it was snow…trees…quiet. Blissful.
Don’t let that perfect blue sky fool you. We took a ridiculously cold (and quick!) snowshoe around Wedge Pond in Kananaskis Country on December 23. The snow was blowing from the tops of the peaks and the humidity in the air was literally (and I mean literally) breathtaking. Given the assault by Jack Frost, we weren’t even halfheartedly debating whether or not to cut the trip short…and then my hubby saw two wolves on another part of the trail. They were skittish and promptly vanished, but we suddenly got to worrying a bit (especially when the tree branches were cracking just so), and besides, there was hot chocolate and Irish Cream waiting at home.
I completely understand why this is considered one of the finest snowshoe treks in Kananaskis Country, in the Canadian Rockies. My hubby and I did this one a week ago, and we were fortunate to share this utterly incredible space with a few cheeky gray jays and a moose that gave our salt-flecked truck a helpful (!) scrub. 😉
Well, we couldn’t be faulted for trying. We had the snowshoes with us yesterday, but the trails at West Bragg Creek are only just snow-covered and heavily compacted by foot and fat bike traffic. We had a lovely hike instead, despite the crazy high (but warm!) winds – in this shot, it looks pretty peaceful, actually. You don’t see the snow spiraling up off the ground or the ice crystals that blasted us (or the fact that I could barely stand upright enough to keep the horizon from wobbling in my viewfinder). Gotta love the weather in Alberta!