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Upper Kananaskis Lake, Peter Lougheed Park, Alberta March 22-24, 2015


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Several weeks ago, my 15 year old nephew and I went winter camping southwest of Calgary in Kananaskis. Kananaskis is a series of provincial parks on the east side of the Rocky Mountains, south of Banff National Park.

This particular lake, Upper Kananaskis Lake, is 90 minutes away. We left the city about 9 AM in the morning and after picking up our backcountry camping pass, set out for The Point backcountry campground at the far end of the lake. The winter was very mild this year so crossing on the lake was not advised and we instead took the upper trail along the north side of the lake.


Here we ran into our first of several obstacles and had to bushwhack a bit.


The trail into the campground is approximately 4kms with little elevation gain, which I felt was an appropriate length since winter camping is new to me and if really bad weather came about, getting back out wouldn't take too long.


In this photo, we are just getting ready to cross a steep scree slope, over which we had to make sure the pulk didn't slide or slip away from us. After that, we had to pull the pulk through about a kilometer long scree field. I had expected somewhat more snow in the scree field and worried some sharp rocks would shred the bulk but it survived.


Our "home" for the next two nights. We rented the tent and winter sleeping bags from Mountain Equipment Coop, which is the Canadian equivalent of REI. The temperature was quite mild, around freezing during the day, and only as low as -5C/25F during the night.


After a very windy and rainy night, the next morning was sunny and beautiful and we went hiking for a few hours. With the hard snow we didn't need our snowshoes.


Early afternoon it started snowing and got very windy again. The fresh snow was nice because the older snow we melted/boiled to drink tasted lousy while the fresh snow was great.


The snow and wind stopped about 7 PM so it was supper time! The main reason for the pulk was to bring in firewood and fresh food. Too bad I forgot to bring kindling :P and had a hard time getting the fire started until I used a tent peg to split some of our wood. This night we had pork ribs. For my nephew, the campfires each night and good food is what really made the weekend for him.


With about 4 inches of fresh snow, hiking out was the only time we used our snowshoes for any amount of time. We both really enjoyed the trip as this is a campground we have been to in the summertime and found camping at The Point in the winter to be just as enjoyable, just more work. Next winter we hope to do this same trip or possibly try a more challenging trip in Banff National Park.

Edited by PaulGS
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Aaron Zagrodnick

Great report Paul and thanks for sharing...Looks like an awesome trip! Sounds like some pretty serious backcountry cuisine, as well. :D

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