Tag Archives: k-country

Solo bikepacking the 40 (Corbin Mine Road – Fernie)

The last day was a bit of a blur – it was forecast to start raining around lunchtime, so I wanted to get a move on. The way my gps line told me to go through to Fernie had a logging sign saying private property, so I tried going down and around the way I’d come through on the Kootenay Gravel Grinder in 2016. But it turns out that now too had active logging going on. As it was a Saturday, it wasn’t an issue, but I wouldn’t want to try and make the connection during working hours. As I … Continue reading Solo bikepacking the 40 (Corbin Mine Road – Fernie)

Solo bikepacking the 40 (Racehorse Creek – Corbin Mine Rd)

Another frosty morning, I hit the road by 9am and didn’t see a single logging truck. There wasn’t much traffic at all for the first few hours, as I slowly climbed and climbed. I’d started out just 26km from the end of the haul road, which means I was nearly at the Crowsnest Highway, and in Coleman. Loose gravel and corrugations. I watched the landscape pass me by, admiring the bright yellows, and thinking that this was a great time of year to ride this route. If I ever ride the Alberta Rockies 700, maybe I’d do a weekday ITT … Continue reading Solo bikepacking the 40 (Racehorse Creek – Corbin Mine Rd)

Solo bikepacking the 40 (Cataract Creek – Racehorse Creek)

My accommodations were wonderfully comfortable and warm, but by the time 9am rolled around, I decided I’d really probably had enough time lying in bed. Traffic had been whirring past occasionally for an hour or two, but no-one came into my little picnic area. I breakfasted in my bivy and slowly packed up. By the time I’d re-filled my bottles in the creek and was ready to go it was 10am. It might have been getting on in the morning, but everything was still covered in frost, and the sun was only just above the mountains.     The road … Continue reading Solo bikepacking the 40 (Cataract Creek – Racehorse Creek)

Solo bikepacking the 40 (Kananaskis Lakes – Cataract Creek)

I woke slowly at dawn, lying there listening to podcasts and waiting for the sun to come up above the mountains before peeking out of my bivy to see everything was covered in frost. So it was cold! I hopped up and found somewhere to lie my sleeping bag and bivy out in the sun, letting them dry a little at least. When I set off from Canmore I hadn’t been entirely sure where I’d go, or how far I’d be able to get. Wildfires were still burning, narrowing my options. My body was unreliable, also narrowing my options. But … Continue reading Solo bikepacking the 40 (Kananaskis Lakes – Cataract Creek)

Solo bikepacking the 40 – Day 1

This was a bit of an impromptu adventure. I had vacation time to spare, but hadn’t had the energy to do anything with it earlier in the year. But the weekend bikepack out to Elk Lakes hadn’t actually felt too bad; sure I’d felt weak, and had to push up the hills, but I could keep going. And I didn’t have anything in particular going on at work in the coming week. So I turned up on Monday just to ask if I could disappear for the rest of the week… sure? Excellent. Tuesday morning was spent packing (which always … Continue reading Solo bikepacking the 40 – Day 1

Elk Lakes Cabin

It’s been such a long time since we’ve been out for a winter hut adventure. Nearly five years! So we (I) decided that to avoid having another winter drift away, it would be a good idea to start getting organised, and so the Elk Lakes Cabin idea was born. I’d cycled past there last year, as I headed south to Fernie, but hadn’t actually checked out the hut. But I knew it was there somewhere, four or five kilometres beyond the groomed Peter Lougheed Provincial Park ski trails that take you to Elk Pass. The three of us had a … Continue reading Elk Lakes Cabin

Autumn and the Little Elbow River

We have been wanting to ride the Elbow loop again for a while now, but with the conditions on the Elbow River side still a little wild, we decided we may as well day trip out and back on the Little Elbow River side. My dodgy knee was hurting after getting over-excited and over-doing it, but with the dirt season nearly done, it was difficult to say no to a bike ride. That first bridge is still out though. Wading through an icy cold river is better than coffee for a Sunday morning wake up. We waded back and forth … Continue reading Autumn and the Little Elbow River

West Wind Pass

Hiking adventure! West Wind Pass is just 5km return, but a nice taste of Kananaskis hiking. You get some of the views, and none of the scree. Perfect for flat-landers who still don’t have the hang of hikes with huge elevation gain, and perfect for boys who are declaring loudly to all and sundry that they don’t want to go up a mountain, and they just want to play minecraft/lego. We had a short picnic session at the pass, re-enacted the scene from the Lion King (I’m very tempted to borrow another baby and come up and try this another … Continue reading West Wind Pass

Kananaskis wanderings

A lazy morning, then I wandered out with a loaded bike, and pedalled up the Spray Lakes Road. I hadn’t decided quite where to go, but ended up thinking of a Spray River/Goat Creek loop… but when I got down to the Spray River turn-off, I realised that the wildlife closure had come into effect a couple of weeks ago. Change of plans! And so I decided to try and push through the Mount Shark area – which is exactly where the Tour Divide route goes. Up until then, there’d barely been any snow. As I got closer to Mount … Continue reading Kananaskis wanderings

North-nearly-over Ridge

Grandmothers are very handy for enabling quality adventuring time with Alex. So handy, that we took advantage of one more opportunity, and had a go at running Northover Ridge with Al and Lincoln. This year the southern side of the lake trail had re-opened, with the flood damage largely repaired. We did a slightly better job of picking a route around Hidden Lake this time (compared to last year), and flew up the trail above it to the scree beneath Mount Sarrail. Sadly wildflower season was basically over by this time though, so we missed out on the gorgeous splashes … Continue reading North-nearly-over Ridge

Passes, lakes and flood damage

This one wasn’t my idea, but instead Lincoln came to me and said: “I have a cunning plan”. The plan was to run Rummel Pass, to Guinn’s Pass, to North Buller Pass. Possibly with a side trip to a summit thrown in. Heading up towards Rummel Lake was the typical Rockies start – get out of the car and start heading straight uphill. The lake came and went without much fanfare, and then eventually we topped out on the first pass of the day. It was quite windy – we probably weren’t going to be hitting any summits today. Dropping … Continue reading Passes, lakes and flood damage

Bikepacking Jumpingpound Ridge

With a couple of sunny days at our disposal, a new set of bike bags for Alex finally complete, it seemed about time for an overnight bike adventure. We’d been hoping to do a big loop from home and out into K-Country, via the Elbow loop. It’s still in poor shape following the floods though, so instead we opted for good old Jumpingpound Ridge, where the camping is free and the views can’t be beaten. The road is still closed to cars, hurrah, and so we had a quiet ride out, much like last time. This time we were riding … Continue reading Bikepacking Jumpingpound Ridge

Scouting Elk Pass

My next cunning plan was to ride my bike from Canmore to Fernie. But part of this plan involved convincing someone else to come with me, for at least part of the journey. For company, and so the bears would have someone else to eat. The only difficulty was that the person who seemed most likely to come was being told that Elk Pass was under four metres of snow, and the whole expedition was foolhardy madness. We would be starting our joint journey at the Elk Pass trailhead. Elk Pass is the highest point between Kananaskis Lakes and Elkford, … Continue reading Scouting Elk Pass

Invasion of PLPP

More new trails! Peter Lougheed Provincial Park is down in K-Country, and has an absolute nest of cross-country ski trails set for classic skiing. And that’s probably why we’ve avoided it for so long. Because up until this winter, we’ve only ever had one pair of classic skis between us, and we’re both much more competent when it comes to skate skiing. Our classic skiing is slow and a little bit painful. PLPP is a lovely spot though, and as we went to explore the trails it snowed and snowed and snowed all day. Not much in the way of … Continue reading Invasion of PLPP

Boxing Day ski

Boxing Day dawned a bit grey and dreary, but at least it wasn’t terribly cold or windy, so we headed to Mount Shark for a ski. It was surprisingly quiet as we set off, with very few other cars or people to be seen. Somehow I ended up being talked into skiing out to the Spray River bridge, despite being on my skate skis, which were totally unsuited to the trail. I think this largely ended up happening as I had no idea what I was agreeing to. But it worked out to be a nice little 16km jaunt. As … Continue reading Boxing Day ski

Our first bike-packing adventure: Jumpingpound Ridge

We’d been hoping to get out on a few overnight trips this summer, but our options had been limited by the flooding in June. Thankfully Kananaskis had finally opened up a little, and so we set on Jumpingpound Ridge as a likely destination. Here’s my faithful steed all kitted out for the ride. Thermarest strapped under saddle, all our sleeping gear strapped onto handlebars (with some dodgy home-made straps we knocked up). Extra water carrying capacity on front fork. We both wore hydrapacks to carry our spare clothes/extra layers plus a few other bits and pieces. After unloading and packing … Continue reading Our first bike-packing adventure: Jumpingpound Ridge

Black Prince Cirque is a hike. A mosquito-ridden hike.

Mosquito-ridden it may have been, but at least it was scenic. It began with a roadside bull moose, as we were on our way to the trailhead. We set off, and the Moosling did a lot of hiking, until we hit the uphill. He was very interested in the river though, and made a few side trips to see if he could get into it. Bridges were fun though, for trip-trapping over, and for throwing things off. We reached the cirque, and Warspite Lake, and ate lunch while running around in circles being eaten by mosquitos. And then on the … Continue reading Black Prince Cirque is a hike. A mosquito-ridden hike.

Biking the Elbow Loop with a Chariot

The Elbow Loop is one of those rides I kept coming across in lists with descriptions like: “Classic K-Country Rides”. And in fact it is a classic – in the sense it comes from the days when mountain-biking was all about riding on rough dirt roads, back before the day when someone realised they could ride single-track, and that was actually a lot more fun. With all that double track, we figured we may as well take the Chariot along. I’d never ridden the loop before. Alex had, but seemed to think it was worth doing again – and it … Continue reading Biking the Elbow Loop with a Chariot

A backcountry birthday treat

As a birthday treat, I went out backcountry minus baby for the first time since being pregnant (well the timing was coincidental as much as anything, but it worked well as a birthday treat). It wasn’t exactly a bluebird day, but there were buckets of fresh snow to play in. It was my first time out at Burstall Pass, and I discovered what a long way it is along the flat to get to just a few short turns. I’d renew my vow to avoid skiing to lakes, but I’ve the feeling the Tryst Lake chutes could be on the … Continue reading A backcountry birthday treat

Read’s Tower (a.k.a. Read’s scree slog)

In front of Mount Sparrowhawk in K-Country, there sits a little jutting lump of rock, covered in scree. I didn’t know beforehand that it was covered in scree, I just knew it was called Read’s Tower, and we were going to hike up it instead of Mount Sparrowhawk as it was supposed to lack the slightly dodgy-with-baby scrambly sections. Spray Lakes views from Read’s Tower   It was completely lacking in dodgy scrambling, but the trail had plenty of steep and unpleasant dirt sections, and lots of the slogging variety of scree. Not the worst track in the world, but … Continue reading Read’s Tower (a.k.a. Read’s scree slog)