Tag Archives: banff national park

Lake Minnewanka bikepack overnighter

Last October I attended (and presented at) the Canmore Bikepack Summit – which I still need to write about, but that’s another story. But that led to meeting a lot of very awesome folks who were keen to get out bikepacking, and to me volunteering to host a couple of local Bikepack.ca overnighters, throwing the invite open to whoever wanted to come. And that is how I came to be preparing to go bikepacking when there was a snowfall warning, threats of 20cm or more of snow, and a likely overnight temperature in the vicinity of -20oC.  Despite the weather forecast, … Continue reading Lake Minnewanka bikepack overnighter

When Minnewanka rides get out of hand

The one problem with riding Lake Minnewanka is that it’s an out and back. And it’s a busy and out back, popular with hikers and bikers alike. And so when we rode out, and reached the cabin, I was happy to keep going, and put off the return journey. I’d never ridden past the cabin before (it’s at 15km, and makes for a nice 30km round trip) and Minnewanka was in great late season condition. And so we got up towards the end of the lake. The terrain becomes more technical, and it’s much harder to ride everything. There was almost … Continue reading When Minnewanka rides get out of hand

Mount St Piran: Yellow larches and snow

In larch season in the Rockies it’s pretty much obligatory to get out hiking. In general, September is hiking and trail running season. Tanya had invited us out to head out to hike the Devil’s Thumb, but once we all got to the Lake, the decision was made to go and do a proper summit – Mount St Piran it was. It was even in Kane’s Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies book! First up is easy highway-style trails, the only challenge is traffic management as you hike in among so many other people. But after we hiked past Mirror Lake … Continue reading Mount St Piran: Yellow larches and snow

Fall bikepacking to Lake Minnewanka

Getting out on a family bikepacking trip is one of those things that we kept meaning to do, but somehow we had nearly run out of summer weekends and it still hadn’t happened. We’d initially been thinking of riding the Elbow Loop. Or maybe just going out and back on the north-west side. But our attempts to book a campground failed. Curse you, Alberta Parks with your “oh, sure, we have sites available” website, but then when they get back to you 48 hours after you tried to book online it turns out that there are indeed no sites. Contemplating … Continue reading Fall bikepacking to Lake Minnewanka

Boom Lake

Family Day long weekend was a good chance to get out skiing, and on Monday morning there were blue skies and at least 10cm of snow at Boom Lake. We didn’t realise that when we had organised to go, or when we set out in the morning. But things magically turned out ok. Except maybe for those few moments where it seemed like Tomo’s car wouldn’t be able to make it into the parking lot because there was too much fresh snow. With hindsight, I wouldn’t have used the downhill-skis-and-tow-rope setup for the Moosling. Well, I would probably have still … Continue reading Boom Lake

Amazing Elizabeth Parker hut expedition

Expedition may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but everything tends to turn into a bit of an expedition when you’re doing it with small children – at least when it comes to logistics. We last spent a winter night up at Elizabeth Parker hut when the Moosling was just seven months old – it was his first hut trip. This time it was three families, each with one child, who set off from the trailhead. Only having one child each does certainly make it easier. The two wee ones travelled in Chariots, while the Moosling was supposed to … Continue reading Amazing Elizabeth Parker hut expedition

Frozen lakes and Friday adventures

Alex and I had a day off together, so went riding on the Lake Minnewanka ice (as well as doing more renovations, but that’s neither picturesque nor interesting). The lake was snow-covered for the first kilometre or so, before the snow began to give way to larger and larger sections of clear ice. The forecast was for the wind to pick up later in the day, and as we rode further, the wind at our backs grew stronger. Eventually we decided to be sensible, and made our way across to the shore, where we could pick up the snowy trail … Continue reading Frozen lakes and Friday adventures

Climbing the un-climbable mountain

Cascade Mountain isn’t so much un-climbable as un-climbed. It’s been shadowing my every move for years, continuously reminding me that I still haven’t scrambled my way to it’s summit. So finally this autumn I proclaimed, enough is enough! I shall reach the summit of this magnificent mountain, even if I have to crawl there in a snow storm! (Or more accurately, wait until I finally have a day free with nice weather and not too much wind) The levels of indecision were high in the morning though, and so by the time I hit the road with Lincoln, it was … Continue reading Climbing the un-climbable mountain

Mount Assiniboine Redux: Day One

Many moons ago I was 34 weeks pregnant and hiked from Sunshine Meadows through to Mount Assiniboine and out to Mount Shark in three days. It was wonderful, although getting in and out of a tent was challenging, and on the last day my feet were so swollen I had to hike in sandals instead of hiking boots. This time around we decided to see if we could make it more challenging by taking a 3¾ year old boy with us, and try and convince him to walk the whole way under his own steam. Because he really is getting … Continue reading Mount Assiniboine Redux: Day One

Family Day ski

A little jaunt on Family Day, the Moosling and I headed out to Banff to ski up to Sundance Canyon. We wandered around at the canyon for a bit, then I kept skiing out towards the Brewster Creek trail junction (thinking about skiing as close as I could get to the old trailhead at the bottom of the Sunshine Village access road). But by then my shoulders were getting a bit tired from carrying a great heavy toddler, so after a few hundred metres of winding through the trees, we turned around and skied back to the car. The sky … Continue reading Family Day ski

Bikepacking Canmore to Lake Minnewanka (via Goat Creek)

“We should bikepack Lake Minnewanka this weekend.” “Going there from home, via Goat Creek?” “Yes!!” And so was our most recent adventure planned. We had company on the first leg, biking up to the pass from Canmore, and then dropping down the Goat Creek trail to Banff. We weren’t expecting the snow though! I always forget how this little valley is so much colder and darker than our big wide valley next door. Following the floods, one of the bridges is still a little bit out. Definitely not open for business. Could be that it’s possible to cross the river … Continue reading Bikepacking Canmore to Lake Minnewanka (via Goat Creek)

Simpson Pass – Healy Pass touring

With the wee Moosling safely in daycare, Alex and I headed out with friends for one of our rare “doing-stuff-together-without-toddler” adventures. We headed up to the top of Wawa chair, and then skinned out across the meadows, dropping down through the tress to Simpson Pass for some surprisingly spectacular untracked powder. Unfortunately our awesome tree run ended all too soon, and then it was the interminable slog across to Healy Pass. Despite threats to the contrary, the ski to Healy Pass didn’t last forever though, and so eventually we crested the pass, took some photos, admired how well we’d coordinated … Continue reading Simpson Pass – Healy Pass touring

Brewster Creek Trail

Along Brewster Creek Trail we skied, from the parking lot at the base of the Sunshine Village access road, and up to Banff Sundance Lodge. The trail was groomed all the way to the lodge, and we climbed and climbed. Finn skied for a while, and then ran for a bit, and then fell asleep in the Chariot. After lunch on the verandah of the lodge, we headed back downhill, zoom zoom. The day never quite manage to be properly sunny with blue skies, but the overcast weather that threatened never really settled in either. A fun day out, that … Continue reading Brewster Creek Trail

Sunshine Meadows: The Return

Oh Sunshine Meadows old friend, with your ground squirrels and your recently departed wildflowers. The Citadel, and Mount Assiniboine in the distance We returned to the Meadows with more family, and this time we left them Moosling-sitting while we headed out for a run. Towards Citadel Pass, although not all the way there, as we didn’t want anyone to be eaten by bears (or driven mad by screaming toddlers). Looking back towards Sunshine Village across the meadows It was a fantastic day for it. But then we descended into Banff, and rode the Sulphur Mountain Gondola. More amazing views, and … Continue reading Sunshine Meadows: The Return

Cory Pass – Edith Pass hike

The Cory – Edith Pass loop has a little bit of rave surrounding it online, as being possibly the best in the Banff National Park. There are also notes about it being strenuous, and easy to lose the trail at one point. It’s definitely a little strenuous. But it’s a hike up a mountain, so you tend to get that. Nothing out of the ordinary though, and certainly not as bad as the spirit-crushing sort of sidewards scree walk of Grotto Mountain or the Tower of Babel. So the uphill wasn’t so bad, but the mosquitos were enough to drive … Continue reading Cory Pass – Edith Pass hike


On Sunday we revisited Boom Lake two years after I first went there. So this time around I was wise to the fact there really isn’t much elevation gain, and it’s basically a rolling trail both ways. At the moment the trail is a mangled mess of tracks left by hikers, dogs, snowshoes and skis – or perhaps that’s the way it normally is. It’s not the best trail for the Chariot – you can get it along, but with difficulty at some points, as it tends to be a bit off-camber and narrow in spots. The Ergo would have … Continue reading BOOM!

ice-capades on a frozen lake

Looking through the guidebook for an ice climb to do on a windy day with high avalanche risk, we struck upon the climbs down by the edge of Lake Minnewanke. The guidebook told us that the first ascent team had used iceskates to get to the climbs – but for later in the season recommended bikes. “Ok”, we thought, “bikes it is, that sounds like a great idea”.   Walking the bikes across Lake Minnewanke   Arriving at the lake we had to hunt around for a while to find a good place to get onto the ice – neither … Continue reading ice-capades on a frozen lake

chronologically speaking

A visual diary of my afternoon/evening:   I am at work. I look at Mount Bourgeau.     I am at Mount Bourgeau. I look at work.     I go from Mount Bourgeau back down to work.   In between, I look around at the mountains and the yellow aspen, and listen to the wind blowing through the trees, and I climb and do not fall despite the strange slanting of the rock which gives the disconcerting sensation that the mountain is casually shrugging you off.

the larch

Where we have the Larch Pilgrimage from Moraine Lake (in the Valley of the Ten Peaks), up to the Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass. I found out afterwards that this is some sort of Rocky Mountains tourist mecca – well, more accurately I found out as we were walking, and there were all these other people walking next to us. “What are you all doing here?” I asked. “This is a nice hike,” I said, “but I’ve done many others that were also nice, and no-one else was doing them.” “It’s written up!” they said “in the guide books and … Continue reading the larch