Last minute trips are the best trips! We got an invite to bikepack out to Elk Lakes, and who could say no to that? We’d been kind of planning to hike Arethusa Cirque with Tanya on the Saturday morning. But it had snowed a lot, and hiking motivation wasn’t high. I struggle more with hiking than biking, and the boy wasn’t in a hiking mood. So rather than fight that, we decided to keep it short, and get to the trailhead for the bike trip. It was a bit chilly – the forecast had been threatening snow, or maybe freezing … Continue reading Elk Lakes overnighter
The forecast for the Bikepack Canada Summit overnighter wasn’t exactly looking optimal – and that’s even with the summit being shifted back a month closer to summer. The forecast threatened a day of riding in snow, and a possible overnight low of -10oC. Given that it’d been sitting above 25oC for most of the last few weeks, it seemed a bit rude. Nontheless, eleven happy riders and Jeff showed up to the start, enthusiastic to be getting out riding their bikes. Jeff was a bit worried about a repeat of the freezing cold snow camping temperatures we’d experienced in February, … Continue reading Bikepack Canada Summit overnighter
A post that was split into two not because I have so much story to tell, but because there are so many photos it was getting a little overwhelming. Before everyone started heading off on their separate ways, we got some photos. Chris and Jeremy and their daughters had arrived at dusk last night, having made it through on the Big Elbow side of the loop. The kids were absolute troopers, and were all set to head back via the Little Elbow side today. The one hiking family set off back via Elbow Lake, and the rest of us set … Continue reading Bikepack.ca family overnighter: Part II
A tentative booking of Tombstone campground earlier in the year turned into a crew of seven families heading out to the campground, one way or another. In hindsight it might not have been the best option for a big family trip – the idea had been that it’s ideally placed for quick access from the Elbow Lake side, but in reality that side isn’t great for bikepacking, and access from the other side means a longer day for small kids. Oh well! Everyone needs an epic every now and again. A few of us started from the Little Elbow campground … Continue reading Bikepack.ca family overnighter: Part I
Thanks to the excellent Tanya at Canadian Rockies Family Adventures I won a stay in the Mount Engadine yurt! I might have a thing for yurts. I’ve spent more time than strictly necessary browsing yurt websites and looking at photos on pinterest. I’ve only stayed in one once before though, in Bend, Oregon. Winter yurting was a bit of a different experience – this yurt is tucked away 100 metres or so past the rest of the Mount Engadine lodge accommodation. A little packed snowy trail winds through the trees and deposits you at the little yurt. The outside was … Continue reading It’s yurterrific!
Bound to leave for a visit to Australia, I wanted to get in one last good ride before we left. Was it Felix who came up with the plan to ride this route? I can’t remember now. But we set off around 8.30 on Sunday morning, up the pass, and towards the High Rockies trail. I’d been dreaming of trying to ride the further south section, beyond Buller. Sadly the recent snowfall gazumped that plan. But we still thought we may as well see how far we could get. Seeing how far we could get seemed to involve quite a … Continue reading One last ride for the season!
After saying goodbye to the others, we set off towards North Buller Pass. First, back over the bridge and up along that strip of snow that angles into the creek – none of us fell in. Back up and over the huge snow patches *trudge trudge trudge* I even let the boy have the camera to get a photo of us. Wandering across to North Buller pass is a route rather than a path. We spread out and picked our way across the tussocky grass, before reaching… what’s this? Yet more snow! Thankfully it was fairly easy to cross, although … Continue reading Out from Ribbon Lake via North Buller Pass
Camping at Ribbon Lake was another cunning plan of Tanya’s, come to fruition while my mother was visiting. A bunch of us had booked camping sites up at Ribbon Lake, and four families gathered in the parking lot to hike in together. The Ribbon Creek bridge is much further away when you’re hiking instead of riding the High Rockies trail. There were four kids along in our group hiking in. All good little hikers, but enjoying the stops to check out the river and throw rocks into them. Our lunch stop was at the scenic circular waterfall. After a break … Continue reading Ribbon Lake camping
Mostly about the photos this time round, because I’ve kind of already given the rundown of the High Rockies trail. We stopped and had a picnic lunch at our favourite mossy spot. There were a lot of stops to play. And then also stops where I jumped out and went to take photos of everyone else, then dropped my lens cap in the waterfall and made the wise decision not to jump into the waterfall to rescue it. Some bike swap action happened. The conclusion was that the boy still fits in his Singletrailer, but noone wants to pull him. … Continue reading Family High Rockies ride
This is as much of a warning as anything. Do this ride if you’re up for some old-school mountain bike suffering, Kananaskis style. Glory at the deadfall you have to lift your bike over, revel in the fall line climbs, exalt at the loose fall line descents. It’s all even better if you do it on a warm day, underestimate how long it will take, and don’t bring enough water. We started from the based of Powderface Ridge, rode up Ford Knoll then along Ford Creek – this took a long time, and involved being beaten by a large amount … Continue reading Thank you Sir, may I have another!
Picking hikes in spring is always a bit tricky. Trails have started to dry, snow has kind of melted – but there are still snow patches and ices lurking about the place. It was really a bit too early to try hiking Pigeon Mountain. Based on what you could see from the road, Alex was convinced it would be dry – I was a little more dubious, but figured a little snow wouldn’t kill us. We set off fairly late – it was afternoon by the time we started hiking. The day was sunny and warm, but slightly unsettled. I … Continue reading Pigeon Mountain
With a knee that was starting to feel a lot better, I decided to make the most of having a whole Sunday to play. First up was a ski at the Nordic Centre, where conditions were surprisingly pleasant – although would certainly have been better if I was skate skiing. The main plan was to keep Miles company as he hit 1000km of skiing for the season. Next up was loading the fat bike, and then waiting for the road up the pass to clear of crashed vehicles (it had been an icy morning). A few centimetres of fresh snow … Continue reading The return of adventure Sundays
This was the first example of Instagram making me do something I would not otherwise have done. Because I kept seeing photos popping up of people hiking up Prairie Mountain, and beautiful mountain-filled shots with the Canadian flag at the summit cairn. And so when we were trying to come up with a run to do, I suggested Prairie Mountain. The reports I’d read had led me to suspect a fairly dry trail. This was a lie! The trail was dry low down, but then a good solid sheet of ice for a good while. We scampered about back and … Continue reading Prairie Mountain
So, the Prairie View – Jewel loop is definitely fun in winter. Particularly when riding with someone who doesn’t have studded tyres, and they’re squealing as they keep losing traction. No photos of the trail, as we were too busy riding. On the way up it was just solid work. Then on the way down it was just solid fun… or making sure we didn’t wipe out on ice. The descent from Prairie View summit down to the Jewel Pass turnoff was more fun than ever, and we were whooping as we soared through the trees. There’s nothing like packed … Continue reading Prairie View – Jewel 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
Scrambling up the Rimwall on my own – it’s mostly a hike, although with a couple of exciting moments thrown in. Hiking doesn’t seem to be bothering my knee too much, as long as I take it easy on the descents. I’d never been up the Rimwall before, so it was good to cover some new terrain. The view back down to Spray Lakes is old and familiar, but at a marginally different angle to previous hikes. The Sunday Rimwall hike was followed up with another wander up the East End of Rundle on Monday. There the rapture came and … Continue reading More mountain days
Can’t really ride a bike, can’t trail run, can only hike if I’m slow and cautious. But it was going to be a gorgeous warm summer weekend, and it had been nearly four weeks since I’d left town. So we packed up the car and went driving, and found somewhere nice to camp… The boy is a pretty confident hiker these days. Although so far his load tends to consists of nothing more than 500mL of water, a snack, a hat, and a couple of toy trains. We slogged our way up steeply through the trees, then burst out above … Continue reading A small adventure
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
We planned a grand adventure for the day – from Canmore, then out to Smuts Pass, along the slopes of Birdwood, and over Burstall Pass, then back to Canmore. First of all to ride along the dusty roads, through biting headwinds, along rough gravel, by many cars. We attached the magnificent velocipedes to a hidden tree, snacked and tied on some speedy shoes. Beating through the vicious creek until the valley opened, we began our ascent to Smuts Pass, where the trees finally relinquished their grasp on our flesh. There we found snow, and trod carefully for fear of getting … Continue reading Smuts Pass, Birdwood Traverse and Burstall Pass
Another hike we’ve been wanting to do for a while. We considered doing it dressed as pirates (no reason), but in the end went for normal hiking clothes. It all starts with a lot of slogging up through trees, then up and into the valley surrounded by the horseshoe shaped Tent Ridge. The boy did a good job of hiking up the hill, with the aid of his mountain climbing stick. On the top of the ridge (on the east side, we were going clockwise) we stopped for lunch. Then Alex and the boy decided to avoid the scrambly sections … Continue reading Tent Ridge, finally!