Alberta snapshot: Chester Lake.

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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.  😉

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Alberta snapshot: West Bragg Creek.

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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!

Alberta snapshot: Wintour snowshoe.

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Amazing views, bright sunshine, and perfect crystalline snow made this snowshoeing trip to the winter road in Kananaskis a few weekends ago a real treat.

 

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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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.

Nothing but blue sky.

Happy Monday!  I can’t believe it’s already the 20th of January…the first month of 2014 is flying by!  My hubby and I managed to get out and soak up some sunshine on Friday afternoon at the Cross Conservation Area, just south of the city limits (you’ll remember me writing about previous walks in January of last year and again in September).  We really regretted that we hadn’t brought our snowshoes, as the crusty deep snow was a bit of a slog with boots on.  Last year when we went around this time, the informal pathways were more defined, with less accumulated snow.  Oh well, the extra exercise was definitely good for me – I think I’m still packing around all that holiday baking!  😉

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All this sun and the steadily increasing daylight hours are definitely putting me into a gardening frame of mind…I placed a couple of orders for various herb seeds last week, and all the important dates (meetings, bed clean-up, maintenance days) for the community garden are now inked onto my calendar.  I just harvested some fenugreek microgreens (YUM!) and I’ll put up some basil this week – I haven’t grown as many MG this winter as I usually do and I miss them.  It’s nearly time to start the ground cherries, too…maybe this is the year I will finally have success with them.

Enjoy your week!  What projects (gardening or otherwise) do you have lined up for the next little while? 

(If you want to read a bit about the history of the Cross Conservation Area, I’ve written a post about it here).