A glance back at a winter hike taken in late February….
A glance back at a winter hike taken in late February….
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!
If you’ve been following Flowery Prose for a while, you may remember that in July of 2016 my brother, my hubby, and I took a trip out to the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, near Cochrane, Alberta. We had such an amazing time on the interactive tour that we decided to go again in early March of this year. What a treat! The wolfdogs were still sporting their fluffy winter coats and the absence of green grass and leaves on the trees gave us a different perspective than we had in the summer. The Sanctuary has taken in more wolfdogs since we were last there, and staff and volunteers have built more enclosures to comfortably house them.
We did the interactive tour once again and had a blast feeding and meeting some of the beautiful residents of the Sanctuary, as well as learning more about wolfdogs and the unfortunate reasons a rescue like this is so badly needed. The highlight of the trip, however, was when the wolfdogs all spontaneously set up a chorus of howling, joining together to sing for us. My brother was quick on the draw with his cellphone and he generously allowed me to share with you the audiofile he recorded:
So wonderful! If you’re interested in learning more about – and/or supporting – the work that the Sanctuary does, click here. If you plan to travel in this part of Alberta, it’s a highly recommended stop – the staff are incredible and it is guaranteed that you will totally fall in love with the wolfdogs. ♥
The afternoon of the very same Tuesday I shot that frosty photo of Twin Valley Reservoir (see here), my hubby and I intended to do some snowshoeing at Sandy McNabb, in Sheep River Provincial Park. The snowshoeing part of that was thwarted by temperatures that had risen to nearly plus 10 degrees Celsius and the accompanying heavy slush on the trail, so we hiked instead (and were grateful for waterproof boots!). The trails at Sandy McNabb were previously unfamiliar to us, but we’ll be back in the summer, for sure! During the winter, most of the trails are designated for cross-country skiing, so snowshoers, hikers, equestrians, and fat-bikers have to be aware of which ones are multi-use. We chose Death Valley/Death Valley Loop, and despite the ominous moniker, it was an enjoyable, fairly easy 6 kilometre trek through primarily forested area. We were even fortunate enough to make the distant acquaintance of one of the local residents. So fun!
Just the right combination of fog, cold, snow, and frost made for some striking scenery on a trip this past Tuesday to Twin Valley Reservoir, near Champion, Alberta. The dam was built over the Little Bow River for use in times of water scarcity and the irrigation of farmland in the county, and although work was completed on it in 2004, this was our first visit there. Fishing was slow (that’s Anglerspeak for nothing doing) this go-around, but we’re looking forward to trying it again after spring arrives, bringing open water with it.
That distant view of the flat, open prairie is incredible in its vastness – it manages to be simultaneously mind-boggling AND remarkably soothing.
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. 😉