Thursday, March 8, 2018

Smoke and Snow: Upper Kananaskis Lake, Part One

Work on the new spa complex for the Delta Lodge resumed outside our window on the morning of September 19th. 
After a slow breakfast service Joan and I picked up lunch: a sandwich to share and a banana apiece at the Market Cafe, and we still had a chocolate bar.

We reached the Upper Kananaskis Lake Day Use parking area just before a bus and a large van from Olds College showed up!
We quickly set off in the opposite direction from the mob, counter-clockwise.
The conditions were chilly and blustery, but only partly cloudy at first.
There were several signs about the history and ecology of the area. The lakes have been expanded by dams created for electricity generation.
There was a lot to see. A driftwood necklace draped the eastern, downwind, shore.
The clouds continued to lower, so Joan and I decided as a precaution to don our rain gear, and put away the binoculars and pigs. This was the view across to the western shore.
Another view of the little peninsula, and more wood.
We trod on and it began to mist, but our waterproof outer layer kept us dry and warm. The cloud ceiling dropped to fifty feet or so above the lake. But by the time we reached the North Interlake Day Use area, there was only one more shower left to endure, and then the skies began to brighten. I brought my camera out again.
The day use area offered us a privy, a place for lunch, and a view of the dam. We decided that today was not the day to attempt a complete loop around the lake, just under ten miles, and instead began to return the way we had come.

In places the trail had been rerouted due to erosion, or rebuilt above piled and anchored logs.
This photo, taken the next day, shows the path crossing a vulnerable slope, easily washed away.
There were various waterfowl on the lake, but never close enough for firm identification. This picture was taken with full zoom, 20x, and cropped.
Joan and I scrambled down to explore the driftwood rows, and discovered that sculptures or "shelters" had been crafted from the debris. They don't look wind- or water-proof.

A typical view across the lake to the higher mountains.
We encountered a red squirrel who was reluctant to interrupt his meal merely because we were staring at him.
Eventually the day use area where we had begun the hike came into view. The Olds College group conveniently departed ten to fifteen minutes before we reached the parking area.
Joan and I suspected that tomorrow we would return to further explore these intriguing shores.