canada general moosling snow

The Ski Season That Never Was

On what was probably the last cross-country ski of the season, Alex had a biathlon class out at Mount Shark. It had been relocated there from the Nordic Centre, seeing as all the snow at the Nordic Centre had melted.

I set off there earlier in the morning, riding my bike out along the Spray Lakes Road, in the rain. As you do (it was good practice).

Once we had all arrived, eyed the rain with resignation, and donned ski gear, I skied around with the boy while the others skied around in the rain and then shot at things.

There were ludicrous puddles everywhere though. And it just kept raining. The boy and I ended up doing small loops near the car, after an attempt to bypass this puddle was turned around by the fact that we just couldn’t get around it. I did like the fact that he was the one who suggested we try taking off our skis and hiking around the puddle in the bushes though.

And meanwhile these guys tried to pretend it was fun to lie on wet mats in the snow while it rained on them and they shot at targets.

So, the ski season is dead! Long live the bike season!

canada general hiking moosling trip reports

Mount Assiniboine Redux: Day Four

Day Four dawned, another clear day with warm weather. Marvel Lake campground is a little dark and claustrophobic, so I didn’t mind escaping it. The boy was very unimpressed with the fact he had to leave his friend behind though.

He did cheer up a little when he discovered all trail signs had a chocolate button at the top though. You get someone (Lincoln) to lift you up so you can push the button, and then you get chocolate! Hurrah!

The trail widened to double track in to time, and we started working the child entertainment mojo. With some good trail breaks in there to keep everyone happy. It was blissfully cloudy for some time, for which we were all thankful, but still pretty warm.

At one point, the boy discovered that my backpack had a turbo button. Press it, and I had to (reluctantly, and with flailing arms) run for 10 – 15 metres. He took to this with great relish. Everyone else seemed to have some sort of turbo button as well – although they worked with varying degrees of effectiveness.

The boy stole a flower flicker and claimed it as his own though, beginning to pore over it with great interest.

When you’re hiking in this sort of weather, every lake is for swimming. We discovered just how shallow Watridge Lake is though, it’s possible to walk across the entire thing. And there’s so little current that footprints of others remain for some time.

It was at Watridge Lake that we were finally caught by the boy’s friend, and he enthusiastically joined her in identifying flowers for the final walk out to the car park – hurrah!

The final section was, as always, a bit of a slog. And, as always, raised many questions as to why the signage does nothing more than tell you that you’re on a road. We know that we’re on a road! It’s a large straight road! It’s blindingly obvious! What we would quite like to know, is how far it is to the carpark. Or the lake. Or both.

But we did it! And the boy did it! And none of us went mad and strangled any of the others after the three hundredth rendition of the bear hunt song! The weather and views and company were wonderful, even if the mosquitos were not. And although I wouldn’t recommend a 3.5 year old as a hiking partner to anyone planning to cover long distances, I was pretty pleased we managed to cover our 15 kilometres a day. Next time, I won’t underestimate just how much tasty bribery food would be ideal though.

Hiking distance: 14.5km
Distance covered by small child: 14.5km plus additional running to and fro and general gallivanting metres
Flowers species identified: 23
The 2010 version: Here

canada general snow

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 I wasn’t towing the Chariot, I was still feeling fresh though. So I convinced myself it would be a good idea to get Alex to drop me off at the Nordic Centre on the way back to Canmore so I could ski another 34km, thus bringing my total for the day up to 50km.

The only pitfall to this idea was that I decided to ski a whole lot of the harder trails I’d never skied before, so it took quite a while, and without a headlamp I had some fun making my way home in the dark. Nevertheless, the mission was a success! The crazy plan for January is to ski all of the Nordic Centre trails in a day. What could possibly go wrong?

canada general moosling snow trip reports

Return to Watridge Lake

The last time I passed by Watridge Lake I was 34 weeks pregnant, feeling too warm, with sore feet, and generally feeling as if I’d hiked far enough. We’d hiked through from Sunshine Meadows to Mount Assiniboine, and I’d already travelled 19-20km that day. I was kind of hoping for a travelator to take me home. Or a small helicopter. Perhaps a tame and friendly moose.

This time I returned with a baby on the outside, and a tame snow-shoer to pull along the Chariot.



It took us less than an hour to reach the lake! I was flabbergasted.


Watridge Lake



A happy moosling in his Chariot


After having lunch on the far side, we returned home.


I remember these signs all too well. Six months ago, they kept promising me that I was really near the end. “The car is this way”, they would say. But no mention of distance. It seemed to take forever. Obviously I’m not the only one to have felt this way.


On the drive back to Canmore we came across some moose! They were standing on the road, and weren’t entirely sure what to do as I drove slowly up to them. After running along the road for a while, in a remarkably sheep-like fashion, they worked out how to dive off into the trees (where they glared at us balefully).


Spray Lakes Road Moose