Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Feb winter activities

Got lazy with updates. Must get last winter's stuff on here before it snows! Too late, it snowed in Canmore already. Anyway here comes a torrent of updates:

We XC 'd the spray River trail starting from the Historic Banff Springs Hotel and meandering down the valley towards Spray Lakes. It was a triffle warm but any time you can get a sunburn in the winter is a good day methinks. Its an easy trail with some long glides and great scenery a mere double pole from downtown.

Johnson Canyon is swell trip made better if you can go when there are no tourists. Winter we thought might be just such a time. So we donned the spikes and headed up the canyon. Its a wonderland in the winter with massive curtains of icicles and the frozen river makes access to nooks and crannies much easier.

In the pics, Suz walks right up to the frozen torrent that normally one sees from high above behind a railing. At the upper falls a team of ice climbers studies a route.


Another crowded spot that winter emptied for us was Lake Minnewanka, on Banff's outskirts at the eastern flank of Cascade mountain. There we found some curious ice formations, pressure fractures piling up against the rocky shoreline.
Along with our friend Jim, we moseyed along the lake down to Stewart creek which we followed for several kms. The snow depth finally turned us back

As beautiful as this lake is, it has seen its share of grizzly events. There's been a few cougar attacks here and Aylmer pass leading out the north side is often closed because of heavy bear density. This lake is a popular trail to cycle around in the summer but winter is a great time to visit the places usually crowded in the summer.


For minimal effort and a great reward, Stony Squaw Mountain is an easy outing. The trail starts at Mt Norquay and rumbles up a several hundred feet to the top yielding a great view of the Bow corridor and Banff. Again, I can only assume that this trail is crawling with people in the summer, but then again, the summer crowds seem to be pretty predictable in their reluctance to get off too far from the pavement. Not much snow had fallen recently and we didn't even need snowshoes to get to the top.

We did a few other ski trips that muddle now in my mind 8 months later! Had some great powder days alpine skiing though pictures would mostly be white!

In this pic, snow piles up in the Louise backcountry

I had one very trying experience traversing Louise's back bowl in a total whiteout. The snow was deep and fluffy enough, and visibility was so bad that I honestly could not tell if I was moving or not. A strange sensory deprivation. The picture above was one of those perfect days. I had this pitch to myself for the day.

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