canada general hiking moosling trip reports

A lake full of Helens

Maybe one day I’ll be up to date again, but in the meantime, here is another post finally coming about a month after the actual action.

This day was gloriously warm, and felt more like summer than post-leaf autumn.

With a visiting grandparent, we decided to get out hiking somewhere different. And for some reason, we’d never hiked up to Helen Lake. It lies just by Dolomite Peak up on Hwy 93 – an area we’d ski toured, but not visited in summer. Which is crazy, because it’s amazing.

Up near the treeline, views were gorgeous.

The lakes had started to freeze, which just meant there were lots of ice chunks around to throw into them.

We spent some time up there disturbing the peace as the boy gleefully threw ice into lakes.

On the final alpine stretch of trail to the lake there is quite a lot of trail braiding – it’s hard to pick the right trail to walk in.

There was a certain amount of bribery going on as we hiked. We haven’t been doing enough family hikes this summer, which of course we only realised now that summer is over. The boy did pretty well though for a 12km hike with around 420m of elevation gain – but occasional distribution of m&ms and raspberry jubes helped matters.

Dolomite Peak lurks dramatically trailside for most of the hike – looking even better for a sprinkling of snow on top.

My cunning plan after the hike was to ride back to Canmore. It was a great plan, but not as well thought out as I’d imagined. By the time we finished hiking, there was not an awful amount of daylight left.

They ended up dropping me off at Castle Junction, and I rode the 50km or so home. Which didn’t hurt my knee too much!

But the Helen Lake hike is highly recommended, and we’re already working on our hiking to do list for next year.

canada general snow

Finding powder

A day out at the Crowfoot Glacier Glades. We hit the slopes early and got to ski a lot of un-tracked chutes, hoorah!

The snow kept falling all day, and the powder was lovely to ski (even if it was heavier than usual for the Icefields Parkway).

And so we skied down, and skinned up, and skied down, and skinned up. The way these things go.

canada general hiking moosling trail running

The Icefields Parkway tourist expedition

Bow Lake was freezing cold of course, but not so cold a toddler couldn’t demand to have his shoes and socks taken off, and then run in and out of it.

Touristing Aunt and Cousin, and photo-bombing toddler

Playing on the boardwalk at the Columbia Icefields Centre

Running out to Nigel Pass and back again – it’s a 10 minute drive to the trailhead from the Icefields Centre, and then about 14km return with less than 300 metres of climbing to go all the way to the Pass and back. We didn’t quite go all the way, as we were trying to fit in around having sent everyone else off on an Icefields glacier tour which didn’t last quite long enough. But a nice alternative to Parker Ridge if you want to do something quick while having visitors entertained nearby.

canada general snow

a wintery day on the icefields parkway

This was last weekend, at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway. So cold and windy that even the ravens were just sitting tucked against the ground, their beaks towards the wind. Though it didn’t stop them from hanging out in parking spots hoping for handouts from tourists.

There was a lot of snow on the ground, and the road was icy – a long way from the conditions in our valley, where it really hasn’t been snowing much, and is continuing to be suspiciously warm for this time of the year.

canada general travel

chipmunks and RVs – tales of the road

After living here for nearly a year, we finally visited Lake Louise and drove up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper on the weekend, in a bout of touristing with Mum. It wasn’t fatal, but camping and road trips sure are popular round here in Summer. We fought our way up the highway through streams of traffic, and battled for campground space with RVs. Vicious chipmunks attempted to eat our shoes and car tyres, and vicious panpipe and trumpet players attempted to assault our ears. We were not crushed by the relentless retreat of the Athabasca Glacier, and no tourists fell down a crevasse, despite crossing the barriers and dancing round on the glacier and posing for silly photos. Oh, and we also escaped unscathed from the man-eating Canada Geese at Maligne Lake.


Golden-mantled ground squirrel, at the Lake Agnes Teahouse near Lake Louise


Poppies outside the Lake Louise Chateau


Athabasca wuz ere in ’82


Train tracks outside of Jasper

Tomorrow we’re jumping on a ship and sailing up to the Yukon, where I’ll wrestle a moose, then tame it and ride it back to Canmore. And also drive up to Dawson City, and the Dempster Highway – well that’s the plan anyway.