Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chester Lake - Snowshoeing - February 7, 2010 - From the Archives

With 10-20 cm dumping in the city, and so much more white stuff falling in the mountains (Burstall Pass had over 25 cm base before this most recent storm even hit!), it's time to start dreaming about snowshoeing! While there's still not enough of a base in the mountains for winter recreation yet (and it's still expected to be a snowless Halloween in the city -- with temperatures back up to 9C by the weekend), something about that first real snow fall always seems to get the winter enthusiasts drooling.

So to get through this transition, I thought we'd look back on a snowshoeing favorite... Chester Lake...

Even at the trailhead... deep snow goodness!

Heavy, wet, sloppy late winter/spring snow. It was still hanging in the trees, rounded off and thick.

Pure sunlight and blue sky in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Perfect day!

 It wasn't quite hoar frost, but something else...spiky, well defined ice crystals clung to the trees...


And it was all over our poor frozen snowshoer too.

More ice. More crystals.

At Chester Lake. I'm not even sure the walking stick hit bottom.

Mushroom tree!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bow Valley dreaming....

There's still too much of a taste of fall in my mind. Maybe it's because hiking has suddenly opened itself up to us again, maybe it's because fall can be such a fleeting season in the rockies, summer one day, snow the next, or maybe it's because there still seems to be so many trails left unhiked and life moves so quickly now.

Normally the first look of snow has me thinking about snowshoeing, and counting the days until our favorite winter haunts have enough snow to break out the gear and travel a winter wonderland like no other. Instead, I'm looking at the places in the mountains where snow is only a brief visitor in the winter months.

It was always interesting to read the winter trail reports and see the Bow Valley area was simply left unreported after the other areas started listing snow conditions and grooming, with just a small note mentioning the frequency of chinooks through the Bow Valley area made any snow accumulation spotty at best. Winter hike at your own risk, the report seemed to hint, but it's not much fun.

I think I'm going to check it out. On a recent mountain drive I was able to quickly drive through the Bow Valley campground and scope out the available trailheads. I found:

Bow River Interpretive
Bow Valley Bike Path Trail
Many Springs Trail
Middle Lake Interpretive
Montane Interpretive
Moraine Interpretive

Altogether these trails barely cover 15km one way and only one isn't rated as "easy" (Moraine Interpretive is listed as "intermediate" but only covers 1.5 km one way). But it'll be different. And I bet you it will be quiet.

Middle Lake trail head.

Middle Lake.

More Middle Lake, with amazing scenery in background. Yeah, I think Bow Valley might be a good place to be.