Lower Kananaskis Lake - Winter
Date Walked: 2nd March 2012
Distance: 6 miles (9.7 km)
Actual Ascent: 534 ft (163m)
Time Taken: 2 hours
With more snow falling this week I grabbed the opportunity to get out when a break in the weather occurred. Some snow showers were predicted so I stayed close to home with a second trip to Kananaskis lakes, this time I visited the lower lake commencing at the Canyon day use car park.
the trail sticks to the East bank of lower Kananaskis lake and incorporates an optional additional 1.8km loop at the Southern end of the hike. The start has various warning signs about the unsafe condition of the ice on the lake so I follow the snowshoe trail into the woodland leaving all the open space to my right hand side as I walk.
the path is narrow with (as usual) impossibly deep snow should you step to the side of the trial. The views across the lake are still available as the path stays very close to the lake shore.
at one of the open sections I see the reason for the ice condition warnings, as the water has receded the ice has collapsed leaving open gullies between vertical ice slabs in places, with so much snow it would be easy to walk right into one of those gullies and disappear into the murky depths
the sun and the snow showers are doing battle at the south end of the lake and the wind that comes with the showers is biting cold, fortunately the trees provide quite a lot of protection
the trail undulates through the forest but always remains close to the lake, the open sections allow sight of the showers to the south though as yet none have reached this end of the lake
with the sun still shining through the trees and a firm empty trail I make good time along the lake noticing a shed like structure up ahead on a small spit of land jutting out from the East bank
as I reach a spot adjacent to the structure I come across a cleared section of snow with just a few feet of compact snow lying around information boards, fencing, litter bins and the constant hum of a small electricity sub station
it seems strange (out of place) to see these thing here and I move past them quickly as they detract from the natural environment considerably, the trail now climbs steeply upward and turns away from the lake slightly
soon the reason for the sub station and associated clutter becomes apparent as I pass a small number of nice looking cabins tucked away in the trees
the trail then continues up, down and around until reaching a very open ended section cut in two by a road, that is my sign to turn according to my map though there is clearly room to go further
turning around I see the familiar orange diamond trail marker showing a loop round what I suspect will be a swamp area when not in winter time, to the left the sunken pattern in the snow is actually a stream winding through the open section
the sun and snow are still doing battle but as yet I've not suffered a shower overhead though the wind associated with the showers is prevalent along this open section and damn cold, with temperatures at -9 without the wind you do feel it when it blows.
the trail continued out across open space and looking back showed the battle raging between the sun and snow, still for me the sun was winning
the cloud comes and goes quickly making for dramatic changing skies as I walk
looking back toward the trail home the sky is still clear and I stop for a while to have a cuppa and watch the clouds go by
mindful of the warnings about the ice condition I make my way back to the trail adjacent to the lake
with my back to the wind and the sun shining down it was a nice wander back through the forest
almost back at the car park a wide open section allows for a 180 degree view across the lake
just a short distance along I see the dam where the truck is waiting and stunning mountain range beyond
on the road home I stopped in a roadside pull out to grab a shot of the scenery along highway 40 that leads back to the Trans Canada Highway ............ even the route home is stunning.