Reflections and images from my travels

Archive for October, 2019

Winter is Coming!

Saturday, September 30, 2019- I awoke, still unsure as to my plans.  The sky was quite grey and snowflakes were starting to come down, but, not really accumulating in the city. I decided I just had to go for it and started packing which took longer than expected.  Because I was going solo, I had the perfect shelter with a four season one-person tent that could certainly withstand the predicted snowfall and still keep me warm and dry.  I definitely had enough food with the purchased backpacking meals from Yamnuska and also had the right gear for the weather.  I tried to pack as lightly as I could, but, since I would be based out of my car one does get a little bit lazy and includes things one would never include if you were on a fully self-supporting trip.  I also packed my lightweight snowshoes as I thought they would come in handy.  I had no idea what activities I would undertake, this was going to be dependent on the weather once I got out there.

I finally left the city about noon, picked up an extra hot latte and drove off with relaxing music playing to get into “chill mode”. The roads were wet, not slippery, but there was definitely more snow as I got into the foothills.  I decided to have a nice lunch at Bow Valley Provincial Park which was pretty much deserted.  My stomach full, I drove back into Kananaskis country [my favourite place in the world] and decided to stay at the Mount Kidd RV Park as my home base.

I drove around before checking in. There were 3 or 4 other vehicles staying there total. I certainly had my choice of spots.  I found a nice spot on the edge of a small hiking trail in F loop and decided this is where I would stay.  I checked in at reception and the woman staff receptionist appeared eager to have some work and happily took my payment for two nights.  I then proceeded back to my site to set up my tent-my home away from home!

Having finished setting up my tent, I decided a nice little walk on the Mount Kidd trail immediately adjacent to my site was in order.  The weather was not really that bad and I did bring along my camera for some purpose. I really enjoy this relaxed pace as well as the focus on simple pleasures like walking in the woods which always seems to improve my photography.  It is something rare to have a singular purpose as well as have the freedom to just do it.  The trail was somewhat wet with many of the surrounding deciduous trees overburdened with snow hanging over the trail forcing me to plow my way through ensuring a snow shower!  There was no one else there further enhancing the experience.  It was a “tiny little walk” full of huge enjoyment.

After completing this walk, I continued walking along the perimeter trail on the outer boundary of the campground enjoying the solitude.  This RV Park during summer months would be absolutely packed and have a completely different sense of busyness even though the environment would be completely the same.  I much preferred my experience despite the inclement weather.

I returned to my campsite and came up with the system for food transportation and went back to the Camper’s Centre where I had access to an outdoor table with a covered roof to keep me out of the snow which was coming down heavier.  I brought along two separate single burner stoves allowing “two pot cooking”. Yamnuska provides individually packaged meal portions of dehydrated food as opposed to freeze dried food which I find is much superior in quality, taste and satisfaction.  You do pay extra for this, but, I find high quality food is essential for the overall enjoyment of these trips.  One stove was used for hot beverages and soup/appetizers, while the other, was used for the main meal.  Because the food was originally for a backpacking trip, the main entrée could be prepared in a single pot. The meals themselves were substantial and, in my opinion, gourmet compared to the usual freeze dried packet foods one generally brings.

Upon completing my meal washing up the dishes as well as myself, I retired to my camping site and climbed into my tent as the temperature started to drop and the snow began to fall even heavier.  I brought along a book of short stories I have been wanting to read for the last year-another luxury afforded by this trip type. I generally only bring an adjustable headlamp for reading but do not rely on any other artificial light sources.  Unlike regular life, once the sun goes down and it is dark it is time to sleep.  After one short story I was ready to fall into a deep slumber at the exceptionally late time of 8 PM.  Unheard of at home!  I fell asleep to the sound of snow gently falling on the roof of my tent.  Under these conditions, sleep always comes easily.  I wondered how I would keep myself entertained over the next several days.  Read on to find to out!



Friday, September 27, 2019-after completing some laundry, looking at the weather forecast for the upcoming weekend and email conversations with my travel mate Bob, we finally decided to cancel the Rockwall backpacking trip.  This was the second year in a row! How disappointing!  We did make preliminary plans to attempt it next year but definitely would have to schedule earlier to try and avoid the snow.

The weather forecast for this upcoming weekend looked pretty bleak.  The city of Calgary, surrounding foothills and mountain parks were to get a significant accumulation of snow between 20-70 cm depending on the location!  The Rockwall was a relatively high elevation backpacking trip over 5 days and simply would not have been that much fun.

This left me with what to do with the backpacking meals I had picked up the day prior and the remaining time I had off now that we were not going on the backpacking trip.  I could just stay at home, but, what was the fun in that!  I had some thinking to do today as I would be going solo and the weather forecast argued against camping even in the mountain park valley.

Would I stay, or would I go?  The decision would be made Saturday morning.

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