Hogarth Lakes offer year round, easily-accessible recreation in Kananaskis Country.
Recent mild weather and an overnight mountain snowfall have made the Smith-Dorrien Trail sloppy as the Toyota struggles north to the Burstall Pass trail-head.
The Hogarth Lakes snowshoe begins in bright sun combined with a mild breeze.
Fresh snow has drifted to obliterate all evidence of trail. Michael does extremely well on his first snowshoe experience and exceeds realistic expectations. Off-trail drifts provide the opportunity to learn snowshoe extraction, from deep-drift, post-holing, using horizontally crossed poles. The scenery is absolutely spectacular.
A brief snowfall begins near the finish so lunch is consumed in the car before heading out for the short hike to Beacon Hill with sleds. Crazy carpets rocket down the hill.
On the 40 km (25 mile) drive north to Canmore, the trip passes from sun through three snow storms. One of the snow squalls creates high-wind, white-out conditions on the Smith-Dorrien Trail which has basically transitioned into a pot-holed swamp.
In Whitemans Gap between Ha Ling Peak and the East End of Rundle (EEOR), above Grassi Lakes over Canmore, Alberta, Canada, there is an eyeball-to-eyeball encounter with an impressive herd of mountain sheep. The sheep have an ambivalent attitude towards getting out of the way so several minutes of very gradual and intermittent progress are required to pass through the herd. The sheep seem quite interested in checking out the interior of the vehicle so the encounter becomes quite memorable as their noses slide along the side windows exterior.
The return to Calgary on the TransCanada Highway marks the end of a successful first snowshoe experience for grandson Michael who is sacked out in the back seat so it becomes necessary for me drive. There is an outstanding family dinner prepared and waiting back in Calgary.