bikes canada general

Legacy Trail to Banff

Probably my last ride along the Legacy Trail before the weather turns and covers it with just enough snow to make it un-rideable, but probably not enough to make skiing the whole thing a fun idea (I have dreams of them grooming it for skate-skiing, that would be just awesome.

Photo taken with fancy new phone – amazing camera!

canada general moosling snow trip reports

12 hours of Saturday


8am – Peaceful breakfast :)



9am – Finn helping me with the laundry



10am – Another warm day! And it’s snowing like crazy.



11am – Back in the car after finally meeting up with everyone, now off to the trailhead



12pm – Skiing along the Goat Creek trail, starting from Canmore, heading to Banff



1pm – Lunch break at the first bridge



2pm – Crossing the second big bridge – still snowing like crazy



3pm – Still snowing! (the Chariot behind me is covered now)



4pm – Skiing with Finn on my front. Nearly there.



5pm – Finally got to the carpark (18km later), then hike up the hill to the Banff Hot Springs.



6pm – I opt for hot chocolate instead of hot springs (too dehydrated!)



7pm – Car shuffling complete, we all head back to Canmore



8pm – Hanging out on the sofa with the boys


More 12 hours captured here.

bikes canada climbing general trip reports

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 of us were keen on heading out across the middle of the lake, but along the southern shore all the ice was buckled creating huge impassable water trenches. So we cycled along the the half-way parking spot, and followed some fishermen out onto the lake. “It’ll be fine”, they reassured us, “at least six inches of ice as far as you can see”.


Ice heaving at the edge of Lake Minnewanke


So we set out across the lake with our bikes – initially there was too much snow to ride. Then suddenly there was no snow at all, and the glossy smooth ice threw had us walking immediately. “That’s ok”, we said, “it looks like it’ll be more rideable near the shore”. So we headed off towards the southern shoreline… and walked … and walked… and shuffled… and it got no closer. The ice was clear, and the water beneath was dark and deep. Huge cracks were running everywhere – deep lake-crossing cracks that looked to be nearly 3 feet deep, and tiny 5cm cat cracks, and everything in-between. The cracks were unsettling but the smooth patches between the cracks were worse, as there was nothing to convince your brain you weren’t just walking on water.

At this point we still didn’t have our crampons on, and so were shuffling across and trying not to fall over. This makes no sense of course, but we didn’t want to anger the lake monsters, and the ice was just so pretty! Our crampons would damage the perfect surface. So the bikes were being caught by the wind, and we’d be blown along bike and all, sliding along the ice.

By the time we reach the shoreline we’d both fallen over at least once and were well and truly over any worries about damaging the ice. Stashing the bikes, we decided to put crampons on, the headed off down lake again.


Reflection in the frozen lake


All the time walking up the lake we had a tailwind behind us – ice skates would have been scary, but maybe a sled with a sail? After walking for an hour, it still felt like we hadn’t covered much distance. That lake really is enormous. There was a stop for lunch, and then we finally reached the ice climb (which I haven’t included a photo of, as it wasn’t particularly exciting).


Sitting on water – Amy adjusts her crampons


Post ice climb we stuffed ourselves with some more food, then trudged off into the headwind. It was about as fun as could be expected. I developed a wind rating system:

Gale Force 1 – Necessitates modification of walking style, although progress can continue.
Gale Force 2 – Must stop walking and brace yourself into wind.
Gale Force 3 – Must stop and crouch to provide smaller surface area to wind.
Gale Force 4 – Must turn around and crouch with back to wind.
Gale Force 5 – Even crouching with your back to the wind you get blown over. Best option is to sit with your back to the wind and lift your crampons – you will get blown along the lake.

We experienced all of those. The only consolation was that it was a sunny day, the mountains were beautiful, and the frozen lake was still pretty amazing. And as we picked up our bikes again and headed for the car, the sun was setting.


Sunset across Lake Minnwanke


bikes canada general

another silly bike adventure

So apparently it’s largely uphill along the highway from Canmore to Banff. Only 700 metres gain over 25km or so. Gradual enough to make you think it’s flat, and that you’re just really unfit – until you turn around and go the other way.


Riding along the 1A


Despite the cool temperatures on Thursday (it was around minus 13oC at 11am, I don’t know that it got much warmer), we went Banff-wards by bike – largely to go and see the new Warren Miller movie (Children of Winter, much better than other Warren Miller movies I’ve seen in recent years).

Friday morning brought fresh snow to telemark in, and then the homeward-bound cycle (with the added bonus of a brand new balaclava, which led to much more warmness).




canada general

decapitated in a blogging accident

Last weekend was lovely and sunny and warm, so I was out stocking up on Vitamin D for the Winter. And climbing, and jumping into lakes, and scrambling up small mountains.


I’m not the bearded one in the water, this is just to demonstrate the fact that it really was warm. This is Lake Minnewanka, a glacial lake that probably isn’t pronounced how you’re thinking it’s pronounced, and that’s Mt Rundle hanging out in the background.

It seems like the sun has cut down on it’s visiting hours considerably over the last fortnight. Suddenly we’re getting up in the dark, and walking to catch the bus along murky streets lit sporadically by street lamps, with silhouettes of mountains hanging in the gloom on either side of the valley. And it’s actually dark when going to bed at 10pm now. It might be warm for a few weeks more, but Summer is on its way out. By the time we get back from our visit to Australia (September 23rd to October 12th), no doubt it will be cold and rainy and snowy and generally a bit unpleasant until it gets cold enough for the snow to start building up properly.