Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I have 2 more hikes to show you that we accomplished this fall. Now that we've had some days of cold temperatures and a day of wet snow, it seems much longer than 3 weeks ago that we hiked the Upper Kananaskis Lake trail! We did this hike on a Saturday, and it was PACKED with people - I think because it is an easy hike as far as elevation goes. But it is 16 kms. long, so you have to plan for enough time if you are going around the entire lake. 

There are 3 parking lots you can choose from to begin your hike. We chose the parking lot that was closest to the beginning of the trail, and started from there. The first photo I took was looking out toward the Lower Kananaskis Lake, and you can see what a gorgeous day it was. (Be sure to click on the photo to see it enlarged.)

View of Lower Kananaskis Lake from the trail

On theis side of the trail, everywhere I looked, there was a new photo waiting to be taken! It was just spectacular...especially because the beginning of the day was so calm.

every view of the Lake from the path was beautiful
this part of the  path was easy to walk

Along the way, there were many beautiful waterfalls which were low at this time of the year... what I LOVED about this falls was the color of the rocks which the water tumbled over...beautiful!

As we were having lunch, a boat was troll fishing, with a silent motor of some sort. It just floated past this island in the lake, with the fishing line extended out the back...such a serene shot!

Upper Kananasksis Lake

After finishing up lunch, we carried on, but now the terrain changed dramatically. Suddenly we were crossing a huge area of large scree. It was hard to imagine the force with which this rock came down and covered so much territory! There were only a couple of large tree trunks to see for much of this section of the trail. And this is where we left most of the hikers behind. They knew something we didn't...

Shortly after the "plains of desolation" (that's my term for the area of scree), we descended to lake level again, going around the end of Upper Kananaskis Lake, before reaching the other side of the lake. There were ponds, and meadows here, with fantastic jewel-toned water!

a gaggle of geese!

So those other hikers that we left behind? The something they knew that we didn't? It was the Forest of Shadow. We were on the other side of the lake, and it was early afternoon, yet it was at least 10 - 15 degrees cooler in the trees, and heavily shadowed. We were above the shoreline, deep in the trees, catching only a few glimpses of the lake, none of which were scenic. As beautiful as the other side of the lake had been, with so many opportunities for gorgeous photos, with light and warmth and beauty, this side of the lake was shadowed, with filtered light, moss, roots, trees, cold and silent, as we trudged for hours through the Forest of Shadow. It seemed like this part of the hike would NEVER end - that we were caught in a denseness of trees which had captured us and would not release us before night fell. 

When we finally reached this waterfall, there were other "hikers" who were there, taking pictures and videos. These foreign visitors had on hiking gear which was suitable for winter...I couldn't imagine how uncomfortable they must have been! But the sight of them meant that we were close to a parking lot...and within about 40 minutes, we were sitting on a hill, facing into the late afternoon sun and eating a snack. We thought we were almost done...until we checked the map. We had parked in the parking lot closest to the start of the trail, and the parking lot we had at our backs was 4.5 kms. from our parking lot! So back into the woods we went, traveling as fast as we could. At this point, I just wanted the hike to be over. Although it was an easy hike, and only 16 kms., it seemed like the longest one we did this fall. That was probably because the majority of it was in cool dark forest, which seemed unending. The last 4.5 kms. we did in just under 1 hour, so you know we were just about running!

I did stop along that last stretch of the trail, though, to take a few photos of a juniper bush which had gorgeous berries on it. Today, I will begin to paint a full sheet watercolor based on those photos. So I am NOW happy that we parked where we did. :-) Later in the week, I'll post what I get done on that juniper berry painting over the next few days.  


tess stieben said...

stunning photos, hope you intend to do some paintings of the views you captured, hugs!

Joanne Giesbrecht said...

Hey Tess! Thanks for the comment...I am glad you think the scenery is fantastic too! I just might do some paintings of this place through the winter... How are you doing? Hugs right back to you. :-)

renate said...

Beautiful Joanne:) I wish we had such a surrounding. Very nice!