Tag Archives: k-country

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)

Old Goat Glacier – thumbs down

Old Goat Glacier is one of the K-Country hikes that is closest to Canmore. Behind the Spray Lakes campground, it’s easily accessible, tucked under Old Goat Mountain. And it’s a nice enough little walk. As long as you don’t go out expecting too much from the glacier. I was underwhelmed. Unfortunately my photographer didn’t capture my thumb silhouetted against the sky, but it’s definitely getting a firm thumbs down rating. The glacier obviously used to be much bigger. And there was a nice moraine to walk in along. But otherwise – not terribly exciting. And walking into the dead-end glacial … Continue reading Old Goat Glacier – thumbs down

Jumpingpound Ridge

Being a stinking hot day on Sunday, it seemed like the perfect day to go and ride a bike up a very steep hill. Note that this is the Bow Valley definition of stinking hot, meaning it was just about 30oC, not over. When it only occasionally reaches 25oC, anything hotter can be a shock to the system. Anyway, it was hot, so we decided to ride up a steep hill, settling on Jumpingpound Ridge (and thinking we’d maybe tack on Cox Hill on the end). It’s one of the best rides in the area, getting the ‘world class’ descriptor … Continue reading Jumpingpound Ridge

Buller Pass

Another K-Country hike which is absolutely amazing (although around this time of year, just about everything is). Buller Pass starts with wending through a mossy forest trail, passing a mushroom which Alex thinks is edible (and which we pick up on the way back, google intensively and then throw in with the BBQ dinner that night). There’s a waterfall, lots of trees, less trees… then a lunch stop. We spent a good chunk of our time trying to identify trees and flowers with the help of a couple of laminated guides that Joel and Kristy had brought along with them. … Continue reading Buller Pass

the weekend of fail

We were supposed to go skiing on the Rae Glacier, but the snow looked thoroughly uninspiring. Also we realised once we were on our way that none of us actually knew where the Rae Glacier was. So after driving around in K-Country for a while, we decided we’d just park where all these other cars were, and go for a walk and see what was there. First we found a frozen lake, which was good for throwing rocks onto.   Elbow Lake   And then we managed to find the Rae Glacier, and weren’t too distressed about the fact we … Continue reading the weekend of fail