Backcountry Canadian Rockies – Shadow Lake Lodge
Journey or destination? You know the query, edging into your brain at the most inopportune time, irritating your mental state, after you rationalized you just want to get there and you don’t care about the expedition.
Destination – Shadow Lake Lodge in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, just west of the famous resort town of Banff. ETA – impossible to determine as you beat off the most insolent members of the bug kingdom, weighty boots adding to gravity’s unwelcome pull as you slog up Red Earth Creek trail in Banff National Park. Your mind plays with how many more turns in the trail await before you can lie prone in those lofty pillow-soft beds, arms outstretched in angel position with legs released from the cast-like footwear, teasing you from taking pleasure in the moments that make the hike experience. Indian paintbrush and mauve harebells dance their mightiest to draw you, but even the beckoning creek side can’t pull your attention off the destination. At kilometer 14.6 the forest opens into a high alpine meadow and laid out across a west-facing corner is your home in the mountains. The discovery of Shadow Lake, Gibbon and Haiduk Pass await as you sip tea and drink in Mount Ball in the distance. The afternoon refreshment spread out in the 1928 CPR cabin tempts beyond the caloric intake of today’s ascent giving high tea a whole new meaning at this remote high country destination, an oasis of comfort and worth every step of the journey.
For more on backcountry lodges see:
Canadian Prairie In-Between Season
Capricious wind patterns have winter on our necks and spring in our face.
After all vernal equinox is long past, garden centers are brimming with colour, yet monochrome brown tones rule. It is the prairie brown season – new buds struggle to emerge in the face of what they instinctively know as winter. Stubborn, they remain dormant and safe, waiting out the extended winter season with garden centres, cyclists and garage sale enthusiasts. Spring break in most parts accompanies frivolous ideas of emergence from the dark days under cover, snappy skirts and slinky tees, remain in the closet while spring storms gnaw at our extremities; cold fingertips and noses are a reminder “not so fast” summer thoughts. The back and forth reassures spring is coming but it tests our patience.
For more on the In Between Season, which currently shows no sign of giving up the ghost of winter at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park or anywhere else in western Canada, see:
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park – In Between Seasons
There is no doubt about it, we are in the midst of in – between times.
You can feel it in the changeable air. One day the weather teases with a sapphire blue sky and popcorn fluffy clouds but the thermometer is stuck in the “belows”. No sooner have you located last years spring jacket, the one that isn’t down filled, when it abruptly turns with a tempest opener the next day. Warm westerlies breeze across the prairies leaving patchy snow exposing scroungy vegetation. If you squint your eyes you may find a pleasing variation to this non committal, mainly monochromatic landscape, stuck between winter and spring, gasping for the change it wants from Mother Nature but forced to wait out the in between times. While you remain patient for a time you can bask in the temperate again, play with ways to look at the same place, it is always changing, you just don’t always take the time to look carefully.
For more on living through the In Between Season see also: