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

SNOW SEASON

The busy Busy Season is over at the cabins – at least until the Holiday Season – and we’re into Getting-Ready-for-Winter Season. Our annual Fall Wood Weekend was a resounding success thanks to Richard, Matthew, Elizabeth, Angie, Mike, Iona, Chris and Val and my two faithful volunteers Amy and Nick. Fair weather and long days allowed us to bring in enough firewood to see us through until late winter/early spring.  The only serious casualty was Amy’s pinky finger . . . that decided (of its own accord, of course) to test the power of our new 22-ton hydraulic log splitter.  … Continue reading

Identify this skull?

Amy and Nick, my trusty volunteers, found part of a skull up on the Berland.  Closest I could come to identifying it would be a wolverine or lynx.  Can anyone give me some insight?                     Views from the top of the Berland Ridge, gorgeous as always . . .    Until next time . . . Happy Trails!       … Continue reading

A Piece of Heaven

It’s called the Munn Creek Pass.  Ten miles from the ‘Escape cabins, up the gently rising Munn Creek Trail, to the base of the Pass and a well-established camp.  Another 2 miles, over a rise populated by Marmots and Picas, through a moose meadow and up the stiff climb to the top of the Pass – and one can only gawk at the magnificent vista into Willmore Wilderness.  No people (other than your hiking companions).  No sign of human habitation or destruction.  Just mountains and wilderness. The Mountain Goddesses – Lori, Irene and Brenda – joined me on this 3-night, … 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