A little late blogging Dannielle and I’s adventure the other week! It was too cold and I was feeling far too lazy to go on any hikes so we spent the day cruising around Canmore and Banff. After we walked around Bow River we had lunch in Canmore at the Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. and had the BEST bagel sandwiches ever. Then we did the Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive, first time I’ve ever done that drive without seeing any elk… still beautiful though. A well needed, relaxing day spent in the mountains with my best friend. 🙂
We stayed at Emerald Lake Lodge for a few days and it was the greatest! Some of our wedding photos were taken here so it seemed natural to stay here on what was technically our honeymoon. The food was absolutely incredible, probably the best food we’ve ever eaten in our lives. It was super cold and cloudy most of the days we were there but on our last day there the skies opened up for us thankfully!
This was our cabin!! Well the upstairs portion of it.^^Best way to end the day!
On Wednesday we headed to Fernie! We had to go through Golden because of the avalanche on Highway 1 between Field & Lake Louise that morning. We had amazing timing again because just as we got to Fernie it started to snow heavily again, lol! It snowed most of the time we were there and Ryan was in heaven. He had a wicked day of skiing on Thursday and I had an awesome day of snowshoeing. There was SO. MUCH. SNOW. Seriously it was up to my knees at some parts ON the snowshoe trail!
Ryan & I spent last week in the Rockies together! We probably could have chosen a warmer week but it was a wonderful time regardless. We left for Canmore at the perfect time because it started snowing heavily right after we got there. On Saturday we explored a few different trails in the area, some around town, Grassi Lakes & a bit of the Goat Creek trail.
On Sunday morning we did the Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive, you can always count on seeing some elk there! We were planning on doing the Castle Mountain hike after the drive but with avalanche conditions being so terrible we decided to hike from Moose Meadows to the Ink Pots. It was absolutely gorgeous with all of the fresh snow covering the trees and definitely the quietest day I’ve ever seen at the Ink Pots.
A wonderful friend of my mother’s gave us a gift card for Kingmik Dog Sledding in Lake Louise so that is what we did on Tuesday! It was nearly -30°C that morning but such an incredible experience. I absolutely love everything about dog sledding! I want to have my own team one day haha!
Dannielle and I did the Rummel Lake trail on Sunday. It was the perfect Sunday hike! Not too long (10k return, 400m elevation) or busy, beautiful views and not super challenging. We brought snowshoes but didn’t find it necessary to bring them since the trail was so packed down. We did, however, bring poles which I was grateful for at a few spots. Dannielle and I hadn’t done a hike – just the two of us – in what feels like forever so this was a much needed trip! Zoe also had a blast, exploring & playing in the snow. We didn’t see many people on the way up but on our way down we passed a fair amount, a few cross country skiers which is impressive! This is a wonderful alternative to the much busier Chester Lake, and just under five km away!
Last Sunday my new friend, Ainsley, and I did the Barrier Lake Lookout hike. It was a fairly foggy drive in the morning but turned out to be a gorgeous day, sunny and bright. As a hiker it was perfect weather conditions (especially for January!!), but as a photographer I would have preferred a lot more clouds as it was too bright to get decent photos. Normally I wouldn’t even share these photos since I’m not particularly proud of them, but I made a promise to myself to blog all of my adventures so here we are!
This is the same hike as the Prairie View Trail which I did last October. The only difference is the path goes up a bit higher to the Fire Lookout on McConnell Ridge. It’s a fairly short and easy hike, with a bit of a steep incline at the end, about 14k and 600m elevation. The trailhead is at the Barrier Lake parking lot, we got there just in time for the sunrise!
The trail starts along an easy, level path around Barrier Lake until you hit the trees and start ascending via forested switchbacks. There aren’t too many great views until you get to Pigeon Lookout, which gives you stunning views of Barrier Lake and Kananaskis Valley.
After a bit of a break taking in the gorgeous views we continued up to the Prairie View Lookout. There’s a bit of a steep spot in order to get to this lookout but absolutely gorgeous at the top. We interrupted a raven who also seemed to be taking in the views before flying away. From here you get an even better view of Kananaskis Valley & the Morley Flats along Highway 1.
We hung out here for a while, taking it all in before heading Northwest towards the Fire Lookout. The trail to get there isn’t well marked but we managed to find it and man am I glad we did! Absolutely breathtaking views in every direction at the top of McConnell Ridge. Thankfully some snowshoers paved the way for us as the snow was very deep at the top.
We took the same way down, though you can take Jewell Pass which is a bit longer but also beautiful and very popular for mountain bikers. We met up with my friend Sarah & her friends on the way down and walked the rest of the way back with them. We ended the day with some stunning light rays shining through Mount Baldy and headed home.
I married an incredibly wonderful man who was kind enough to wake up at 5:30am to drive to the mountains in time to watch the sunrise and then explore with me until the sun sets. Our plan was to drive to Lake Minnewanka and set up there for sunrise but the roads weren’t great and we didn’t make it in time. Instead, we stopped at Barrier Lake which turned out to be a blast. No one else was there so we waited for the sun to rise while throwing sticks and snowballs for Zoe to chase.
After I took about a million photos of Zoe, we made a quick stop in Canmore and saw a few helicopters while we were walking around! Not really something I’m usually itching to photograph but how great is the timing here?! Crazy!
THEN we finally headed out to where we initially intended on going, Lake Minnewanka! I can’t believe I have never done this incredibly scenic drive. Just a few minutes in we were greeted by two gorgeous elk munching away on the hilltop and then a herd relaxing in the field.
After lunch at the trailhead cafe in Lake Louise we stopped for a bit at Bow Lake just to snap a few photos. Num Ti Jah Lodge is closed for the winter but looks like a wonderful place to stay, seriously look at that view!
Our final stop, after many, was Peyto Lake. I’d never been here before either and can’t wait to come back in the summer to check out that infamous blue water. I had such a wonderful time, even though it was about -20°C. I love exploring the Rockies with Ryan and can’t wait to do so for the rest of our lives.