bikes canada general hiking moosling

Saturday adventures

I went out to ride with Kat along the Lake Minnewanka trail, which was in great shape. Clear all the way to the warden’s cabin, with just one fallen tree.

A lazy start meant that we were out on the trail along with quite a few hikers and other bikes, although mostly on our return. We ran into some bird watchers too, and slowed down to spend some time trying to spot a bird that I cannot recall the name of.

Meanwhile the menfolk stomp up Ha Ling, which was also in great condition apart from the band of snow at the treeline.

This year brings another warm and early spring.

canada general hiking

No, no, they can’t take the mountains away from me

So, the update on my knee: it still hurts! (Blah blah, something about ligaments being a lot better, LCL, MCL, blah, mild meniscus damage, gets aggravated when I do things like pedal my bike or run, gradually getting better, trying to be patient, blah)

In the meantime, I’ve decided hiking with sticks is a reasonable alternative to doing nothing but sitting at home plotting to take over the world.

I’ve been lucky enough to have some fun hiking companions along the way, for my umpteenth time on the summit of Ha Ling Peak.

Mount Lady MacDonald solo on a sunny evening was a lot of fun too – and gorgeous at the teahouse… although the teahouse is gone now.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

canada general hiking snow trip reports

Winter Solstice sunrise

We did it! The sun is coming back! Huzzah to all Northern Hemispherians, the evil Southern Hemisphere is now bound to return our sun to us.

We left town at 6am, and hiked up to the summit of Ha Ling Peak to arrive just as the sky was starting to lighten, at around 7.45am. On the one hand, it was beautiful. On the other, it was very windy (the forecast was calling for 30km/hr, gusting to 50km/hr). There may have been some huddling.

Poor Lincoln was just about freezing to death.

There was some attempted photography inbetween bouts of huddling.

Then the rest of the crew made a brief stop at the summit.

At which point we all decided it was time to start heading down.

As we reached the saddle below the peak, the pink in the sky started to brighten with the sunrise proper, and we took a few more photos before scarpering back down the hill.

The trail is mostly in good condition at the moment – some ice lower down, but mostly packed snow. Two years in a row (three if you count the time I went up the day after solstice) this is becoming a solstice tradition.

canada general hiking moosling trip reports

Ha Ling peak all over again

It’s been a while since we’ve headed up Ha Ling Peak as a family. This was the last warm day of our prolonged pleasant Autumn. Well, I say warm, it was going to be about 10oC, which only counts as warm when you’re comparing it to -20oC.

But anyway, pleasant weather, must get out and enjoy it, so we decided to head up Ha Ling Peak together, with the invitation extended to whoever else we thought might be kicking around.

And so the Ha Ling Peak expedition began. We’re trying to stop carrying the Boy these days. So this was his first unaided ascent. Of course, he felt he needed to take his own backpack, so he could carry his trains to the top of the mountain too.

It was quite a busy day – we weren’t the only geniuses who’d come up with this idea. And lower down the trail was nice and clear.

Up higher though, things changed. After the first three main switchbacks, the trail started to get icy. We pulled out ice spikers (well, mine are actually Kahtoola Microspikes, and Alex had the Yaktrax Run) but we didn’t have a small pair. After one falling over incident, I started carrying the boy – so that was the end of his first unaided mountain ascent.

It started to get windy and cold (unsurprisingly), and we ended up making the call to turn around at the saddle, after admiring the always-wonderful views.

Then there was just more cautious trip-trapping down the ice, down into the warmth and calm of the trees.

And as we reached the bare ground, release the Boy, and then attempt to slow him down as he tries to run down the mountain.

canada general snow trail running

Ha Ling peak again

A dusk ascent.

Directly up via the Grassi Lakes trail, and on along the climbers trail to the pass. Past people wearing inappropriate shoes, who warned me it would be slippery coming back down. I had Yaktrax on though, and was invincible!

It’s always a little bit intimidating running up Ha Ling from town – it looms over you so, and seems so high and imposing and improbable

Up above Grassi Lakes, in black and white because the light was so low my phone couldn’t actually capture colour properly anyway.

A couple of people on their way down over the first kilometre or so, not too long after sunset. And then I was on my own. The mountain got darker, but between the snow and the light of the half moon, I didn’t bother with my headlamp. The trail was well packed all the way, thankfully no treeline post-holing and snow-wading this time around.

I turned my headlamp on at the summit, and Alex messaged that he could see me. A quick glance down to the warm orange glow of Canmore, nestled between the mountains, then back down again, looking out west to the last glow of pink on the clouds, up to the warm orange glow behind me, to the half moon casting my shadow onto the snowy slope, and to the trail, always keeping an eye on that slippery snowy trail.


I made good time on the descent, and convinced my legs into a tired jog trot to get home for dinner. Around 3.5 hours door to door, with 3 hours of moving time. Not bad for winter conditions.