Tag Archives: Kananaskis Country

Winter Adventures!

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(Clockwise) Cross Country Skiing at Moraine Lake, Kananaskis and Snowshoeing at Emerald Lake

Winter is really much more enjoyable when you do something to enjoy it. I know, it’s May so winter should be the last thing on my mind, but it’s still winter-y here. Maybe it’s the snow today or I finally feel slightly organized for the first time in a long time, but I thought it was the right time to share pictures from my winter adventures with you!

I haven’t really shared here that I started doing something last year that I used to think I would NEVER do: I tried downhill skiing and I LOVE it. Like “I-sometimes-take-days-off-in-the-middle-of-the-week-to-go-skiing” love it.  Add in some cross-country skiing and snowshoeing and I can say that this (long) winter definitely wasn’t too bad!

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Snowshoeing up to the Fire Lookout in Peter Lougheed Park.

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Downhill Skiing at Sunshine and Nakiska

I even participated in this year’s work ski trip to Whitefish! It was a really fun trip despite a few adventures due to poor visibility and splitting up with the people I was skiing with.

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The best visibility that we had in Whitefish!

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Fun Times at Whitefish! The picture on the bottom left corner is the best visibility we had on the second day!

One day Mr. Bean and I decided that we were going to try going cross-country skiing, not realizing that it was too warm for any of the waxes that we had and that the snow was so bizarre it really wasn’t worth it. It was the “longest” trip we’ve ever had – about 50m of skiing. So we went for a walk at Kananakis Village instead. The sun even came out!

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View from Kananakis Village

I’ve met some pretty entertaining people on the ski lift – from the American guy in Whitefish who chewed us out for trying to put down the bar and then tried to make up for it by calling us “cute Canadian girls,” to the guy who asked me if I took selfies because it was my birthday to the old guys who were complaining how powder was horrible and they hated it.

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Skiing Nakiska & Travels Home

I’d have to say that my favourite day of skiing was my birthday! I took my flex day and you couldn’t have asked for a better day. It was sunny, warm and the snow was decent! By the end of the day the snow had really softened up, which was kind of fun as skiing through slush makes you feel like a hero!

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Birthday Skiing at Sunshine – Pretty much the best day ever! Look at Mount Assiniboine in the background!

Even though, as much as I love skiing, I am ready for spring to finally come!

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Cross Country Skiing

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View of Kananaskis Lakes from Blueberry Hill

Ever gotten back into something that you used to do a lot?

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Upper Kananaskis Lake – Looking toward the Point and Forks Campgrounds

Cross Country Skiing is that for me. As a kid, we used to go fairly frequently and then I went sporadically as a teenager and adult. However, in the last month, I have gone three times. Mr. Bean and I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade our gear so we’re no longer using secondhand stuff from the 80s. It definitely helps!

Cross Country Skiing-4It can be so peaceful skiing through the snow covered trees and seeing things like this creek… Plus, now that I’m used to my new skis, I can snowplow with greater control and don’t do the “ahhh!! I’m going to fall – goodbye balance!!” dance while going down hills. Am I the only person who does that?

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I am so grateful that I live so close to the mountains and have the opportunity to go out and enjoy them – does it make me weird if I want this warm weather to go away so it’ll snow so I can go skiing?

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No twigs or pine needles in my eyes – my safety glasses did their best to replace my broken sunglasses.

Last weekend my mom and I headed out the Peter Lougheed Park and skied up to Blueberry Hill. It was a beautiful and warm day and lucky us got spoiled on the way back – what an amazing sunset to end a fantastic day!

Feb-Sunset

I tried to adjust the colours so they looked similar to what I actually saw – still is nothing close to the real thing!

Have you gotten back into something after not really doing it for a while?

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Fall Hiking in Buller Pass

Have you ever heard of the Larch tree? It’s a deciduous conifer tree that loses its needles every year after giving off a spectacular show of fall colours.

When I went hiking last week with my mom, we hiked up to Buller Pass in Kananaskis Country, which fortunately for us had many larch trees at the peak of their golden-yellow colour. Pretty, aren’t they?

One thing I did learn was to be aware of what settings your camera is at. First, I didn’t realize that my camera was on manual (I usually keep it on aperture priority to counteract my absent-mindedness), so my photos at the beginning were very under exposed. This one looks pretty cool though.

Then I didn’t realize that I had my camera on spot metering for some reason, so many of the photos were over exposed in the camera’s attempt to make the point of focus middle grey. Ooops. So please learn from me and actually pay attention!

The hike to Buller Pass is definitely worth it – it’s just over 14 km long with 670m elevation gain. The trail head starts on the other side of the road from the Mount Buller Rest Area, on the Smith-Dorrien Spray Lakes Trail. (About 30 km north of where the road takes off of the Kananaskis Lakes Trail in Peter Lougheed Park off of Highway 40.) You first start by climbing through the trees and you will cross Buller Creek a few times.

As you start climbing, you will hike through the remnants of the prescribed burn area done in August/September 2011 (an attempt to battle some of the pine beetles that are taking over). Unfortunately, it appeared that it got a bit out of control and burned down a large patch of spruce and larch trees in the sub-alpine.

You will come across a pretty little waterfall. Since it frosted the night before, part of it was still frozen.

Then you will continue to climb until you reach a valley with tons of larch trees.

View Looking Down the Valley

There’s also a lot of neat geology on this hike, including some neat looking fossils. (My mum will soon be publishing a “Take a Geology Hike” pamphlet on this hike, so if you’re interested, let me know and I can give you the link when it comes out.)

View Up the Valley to Buller Pass

From there, you will continue to climb up across some talus slopes until you reach Buller Pass. It looks a lot harder than it is, but it goes by pretty quickly and affords amazing views. From there looking east, you can see Ribbon lake and Guinn pass (on the right.)

Click for Larger Image

If you look west, you can see Mount Assiniboine (on the right).

My mom and I managed to do this hike in just over 5 hours, which included plenty of picture and geology breaks.

This hike was definitely worth your while – we had absolutely beautiful weather, amazing views and fabulous fall colours. I definitely recommend going in the fall to see the larches in their splendour, but I imagine it would still be very pretty during the summer as well.

Where is one place that you like to visit in the fall?

Many of these shots are Straight Out Of the Camera and shared at this week’s Orange themed Good to Wow: Shoot and Edit.

One of the shots of my brother and his fiance was nominated as one of the top SOOCs in September (Thanks Jill!) – please go and vote for me! :)

  

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Another Backpacking Trip to Remember

Maude Lake - Click for Larger Image

Every time I go out to the mountains, it makes me want to return the moment I leave. Last week’s backpacking trip to Kananaskis with my mom was no different.

I thought I was going to be really nervous about the whole experience – I guess I got rid of most of the first time jitters last year – but the moment I slipped on the much lighter pack than last year, I was good to go. It took us a bit longer than expected to hike in the 8 km (5 miles) – apparently it takes much longer to get somewhere when you’re carrying a 50 lb backpack and it’s over 25C (77F) outside.

Photo for this week's Good to Wow Photo Challenge

We set up our base camp at a lovely campground called Forks (aptly named as there are many rivers and streams meeting). One of the reasons why I liked it was because it had a communal eating area with fire pits and bear lockers. I think bear lockers are fantastic as it means you don’t have to string all your food up and hope that a bear won’t get it.

Lower Kananaskis Lake by the Trailhead - Click for Larger Image

Upper Kananaskis Lake - Click for Larger Picture

Speaking of bears, there were a few bears in the area while we were there. My mom and I didn’t see any, just lots of scat. The thing with bears is to make as much noise as you can and if you see one, to respect it by quietly backing away and letting the bear move away. I was glad to have my mom there as she has lots of experience with bears from working in the field and thus isn’t paralyzed by the thought of meeting one, so that helped me not to be so afraid of them.

You definitely get to meet some interesting people while backpacking. One of the other groups that was there while we were was a family of eight: a mom, 5 siblings ranging probably from 18 to 6 (4 boys and 1 girl), a girlfriend, a cousin and their dog. They made popcorn and baked potatoes over the fire every night, brought up a huge kettle and went to bed before dark. All the younger boys spent their time running around with their burnt walking sticks and jumping in the glacier fed river, so I guess it’s no wonder why they all went to bed so early!

My mom and I went on two hikes – one up to Turbine Canyon, Maude Lake and the North Kananaskis Pass (~20km) and the other to Three Isle Lake and South Kananaskis Pass (~16km). Both had pretty big elevation gains but the views were definitely worth it!

Self Portrait at North Kananaskis Pass

View Near South Kananaskis Pass

Like on last year’s trip, I couldn’t resist swimming in an alpine lake. Holy man is it ever cold but so worth it!

For your entertainment - me swimming in an alpine lake

That's right, I swam in this lake - Click for Larger Image

It may surprise some of you that I took absolutely no photos of our food on this trip despite putting in lots of effort to make dehydrated meals. It could be because I was hungry and I essentially made the same things as last year’s backpacking trip.

I learned a bit about geology on this trip from my mom as she put stations in for various outcrops – did you know that a syncline is where the rocks on a mountain are shaped like a “V” and an anticline is where they are shaped as an “A”? Well, now you do. You’re welcome.

A mini lake on the way to Turbine Canyon - Click for Larger Image

I’m kind of sad that the trip is over – we were blessed with gorgeous weather and a great time. I was happy to see Mr. Bean, though!

How was your week?

*Please see all the rest of the SOOCs for this week’s body-of-water themed Good to Wow: Shoot and Edit Photo Challenge! I used the picture of the creek as the lake panoramas technically aren’t SOOCs as I used photoshop to put them together.

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