canada general snow trip reports

Running into Assiniboine – A Winter September Wonderland

A few months before my Mum came to visit, I checked in with the Assiniboine Lodge folks to see if there was any availability in the Naiset Huts in the weeks she would be staying with us. There was – but there were only two nights left. So we booked them, and hoped for good weather.

Based on the other weather we had while she was here, it could have been much worse. But it was far from perfect.

While she and the now 4-year old boy flew in by helicopter, Alex and I ran in together from Sunshine Village.

At least it had stopped snowing – mostly. And it was fairly warm, there was barely a breeze, and it was quite a novelty to actually get out for a run with Alex for once.

As we ran towards Citadel Pass, the snow got deeper and deeper. The larches looked miserable under a heavy load of snow on their green needles. As it warmed up, snow on the trail turned into enormous puddles. I was tremendously pleased that I’d remembered to wear my goretex socks – my feet were toasty and warm, despite the occasional drenching in snow melt.

As we dropped down from Citadel Pass though, we quickly lost elevation, and snow.

The transition back into summer was joyous – we didn’t know who had killed the White Witch, but were pleased that someone had finally gotten around to it.

Also, we were excited to actually be running the high trail above the Porcupine Campground for once, instead of having to drop all the way down into the valley, before climbing all the way back out again.

The Valley of the Rocks always seems to last longer than you’d expect. Although we did spend most of the run marvelling at how quickly we were arriving at places. Our pace was four or five times faster than we could travel with small child in tow. Distances that would have taken us an hour or more with him were only taking 15 or 20 minutes, which was continually amazing.

In no time at all we were running our squelchy footed selves along the final stretch of trail from Lake Og to Assiniboine Lodge – where we found the grandmother and boy, who had enjoyed a non-eventful helicopter ride, and had just been for a walk down to Lake Magog which had been rapidly aborted when a bear was sighted wandering along above the lakeshore.

What luxury, to travel here without a heavy pack to carry! How bourgeois, to pay a helicopter to carry our things to a mountain hut!

Most miraculous of all, my legs were still holding up after the epic weekend I’d just put them through. Hurrah!

Distance: 27km
Elevation gain: ~1100m

canada general moosling

Winter being ridiculous

A bonus foot of snow for the morning. Thankfully it was basically all melted by the end of the day.


And a bonus picture of the Moosling with a bucket. He likes the bucket. And now he can crawl, so he can get to the bucket whenever he wants.

bikes canada general snow

Winter Meltdown Triathlon (more of a ‘Do your worst winter, who wants spring anyway’)

Despite all rumours to the contrary, it’s supposed to be Spring by now. No-one has told the weather yet. They’re worried it will start hitting us with -10oC days to go with the snow.

Anyway, somehow I ended up doing a Winter Triathlon. Sensibly, it involved no swimming. Instead there was a ski leg, which I ended up doing. As a result, there are no photos of that part, so instead I bring to you photos of people trying to bike in 15cm of fresh snow (heh heh), and running through 15cm of fresh snow (heh heh heh).

A bike pedals through a field of white


Alex coming round past the Red Bull girls for his second bike lap


Anya, the runner for team Finn’s Minions, arrives back after a slog through the snow


Alex finally finishing after skiing 10km, biking 10km and running 5.6km


Team Finn’s Minions – victorious in our own minds, if not in actual fact, thanks to the copious quantities of elite athletes and excessively fit people in Canmore


canada general hiking snow trip reports

The first hike of the year

“Do you wanna go skiing?”
“Yeah, ok.”
“How about Mount Shark?”
“Yep, sounds good.”
“The road over Whiteman’s Gap keeps being closed due to avalanche.”
“And it sounds like the trails will be bullet-proof anyway.”
“Yeah, lets not go skiing there.”
“I’d still like to get out and do something.”
“How about we go for a hike?”

And so we hiked up Lady Mac. The trail was actually dry or just a bit muddy for maybe 10-20% of the way. Then there was just a lot of packed snow. Which got less and less packed as we got higher. We stopped at the teahouse for a quick bite to eat (the Moosling had a suck on a vegemite sandwich and a banana), then fled the horrible wind, and did some good butt-sliding on the way down. The butt-sliding was the main reason I kept carrying the Moosling on my front, as I’d have much preferred the weight on my back.

Photos from Kristy (because I forgot my camera!!)

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