A Bit of a Cold Snap

After an incredibly warm Holiday Season and start of the New Year, Old Man Winter came back with a vengeance this past week.  We hit a low of -35 C one night, with the remainder hovering between -25 and -30 C.  Daytime temperatures were actually not bad up here in the mountains – ‘warming up’ (it’s all relative!) to between -15 and -10 C.  Usually calm, sunny days and crystal-clear nights.   I understand from Chris that the prairies did not fare so well . . . Machines – and other ‘moving’ parts like my hands and knees – tend not … Continue reading

Hiking . . . LOTS of Hiking!

With Barbara and Mark (all the way from the UK!) in for a week before the July long weekend, we managed 5 solid days of hiking . . . despite the rain and unsettled weather!  Between rain showers on the Summer Solstice, we had a leisurely stroll along Munn Creek.  We saw that the Yellow Dryas was out in full bloom, along with Lung Wort and the start of the Labrador Tea bloom.  Our resident Grizzly was around – fresh scat and a few fresh digs.  Munn Creek has carved new channels and many trees along the bank succumbed to … Continue reading

Rock Lake Access Under Water . . . AGAIN

After over a year of assessing the situation, Alberta Parks (http//www.albertaparks.ca) sent heavy equipment to fix the Rock Lake Road access to Rock Lake and Willmore Wilderness on Tuesday, June 18, 2013.  We passed the fellow working the backhoe and grader on our way to the Osprey nest (the female is sitting, by the way – hooray!).  Surely, I think, surely they’re not going to just push more gravel on the road – like they did last year and have it all end up in the willow AGAIN.  NOPE – this year, in addition to pushing more gravel onto the road, a … Continue reading

More RAIN . . . and best laid plans

Soooo typically JUNE . . . Clouds hanging low and moving UP the valley – never a good sign.  As they say in Alberta:  Only bad weather and politicians come out of the east. Despite the rather dismal weather, we did get a short hike in on Saturday.  Jennie and Greg returned to the ‘Escape to introduce their two girls to the wilderness – and 2-year-old Avery carried her own backpack on our stroll to the Osprey nest.  Tessa, not yet walking, was content to ride on Dad’s back.  The female Osprey is not sitting on eggs yet, but the nest … Continue reading

Rain . . . and more RAIN

It’s springtime in the Rockies! And that means wet. The typically patchy weather of June has arrived, bringing with it rain, sleet, hail, snow, and the occasional glimpse of sunshine. All of this moisture does have its upsides though: the grass is green, the leaves are out, and the first wildflowers are beginning to emerge. One of our absolute favourites is the Fairy Slipper (Calypso Orchid), a tiny purple beauty. Despite the weather, our guests have made the most of the mountains. Karen and Judy, local artists from Edmonton, spent their days painting, writing, reading, and generally having a lovely … Continue reading

Green-up, great guests . . . and a Grizzly

May long weekend brings the start of the summer season along the eastern slopes of the Rockies. Poplars are shedding their leaf-bud coats, which promptly get glued to shoes and dog fur The first flower appears in the subalpine (the inglorious dandelion) New shoots of grass are poking through the drab brown of winter Mosquitoes make an appearance. These are the big B52 bombers that are S-L-O-W and heavy enough to feel land on you so you can whack one before she takes her pint of blood The migratory songbirds are trilling and chirping, busily establishing breeding territory, attracting mates and … Continue reading

Rock Lake Trails Groomed and Track-set

With a couple of inches of new snow yesterday and mild temperatures today, I spent the day re-grooming and track-setting trails down at Rock Lake for cross-country skiing.  It’s 13 km from the cabins down to Rock Lake, with track set down my 3-km road as well as the next 10 km to the Lake.  The ski track is on the far right-hand side of the Rock Lake Road . . . surely (hopefully?) there will be no yahoos in quads or pickups who would deliberately run a tire track down the middle of my ski trail this time! I … Continue reading

Cross-country Skiing at Rock Lake

With guests due in for the weekend, and gorgeous powder snow to work with, I was able to get about 30 km of ski trail groomed and track-set.  Scott and Lauren from Grande Prairie (via the US) and Brian and Tasha from Calgary joined in on a beautiful ski down at Rock Lake . . .AND helped Laura get the pickup out of the ditch. . .     Unfortunately, and all my back-breaking work aside . . .little of the ski track remains intact after two quads were on the trails.  With more snow forecast for the next few … Continue reading

Soft ‘Shoeing, Hard Skiing – LIFE IS GOOD!

We have enough snow to snowshoe, although I didn’t get any trails track-set for cross-country skiing before guests arrived last Saturday for the Remembrance Day long weekend.  Chris had come in Friday night to give me a hand getting the ski-doo out and running for the season.  Best laid plans . . . Mark and Becci opted for a short Saturday afternoon jaunt on snowshoes up the little valley towards the base of the mountain.  That trail had been ‘shoed before, so the going was relatively mild.  Jon and Karen took advantage of a warm, cozy cabin and decided R&R … Continue reading

First snowshoe of the season

With guests arriving on Friday for a weekend get-away, I made the trip into civilization on Thursday to pick up fresh supplies.  Lots of wildlife were out and about that day, including several grouse, a group of Mule Deer, a few White-tailed Deer and two Golden Eagles slumming with the ravens on a road kill. The temperature was exceptionally mild for the weekend, and Cheryl and Paul were keen to try a short snowshoe trek.  So, down to Rock Lake where the ‘shoeing would be relatively easy, and on to the flat terrain around the Equestrian Overflow, Jackson Creek and … Continue reading