|A classic Canadian moment, our family paddling on Upper Kananaskis Lake|
The dads canoed in with the gear while moms and kids all hiked the 3.5 km to the Point Backcountry Campground on Upper Kananaskis Lake. The hike didn't take more than a couple hours and we stopped a couple times for snacks and water play beside the lake. It was a crazy hot weekend in the high 20s the whole time (that's hot for Kananaskis) so we cheated a bit on the way out - allowing all of the kids a ride back. We were fortunate to have a motor on one of the boats and this made it easy to make multiple trips back and forth across the lake.
|Canoeing in across Upper Kananaskis Lake|
|Rest break on the hike in|
We made a few jokes about the motorized canoe at the beginning of the weekend but once we realized we could ferry 7 people plus a dog to a private island to go swimming, the idea grew quickly on us. It was further appreciated when we didn't have to hike out on Monday. I appreciate a nice day hike with my preschooler as much as the next person but one big hike with little feet per weekend is kinda my limit.
|Packing gear, four people, and dog into the motorized canoe for one of the trips out|
|7 people and a dog in a canoe (it's too bad you can't see the third child but she's in there)|
|North Interlakes Day Use Area|
|Upper Kananaskis Lake|
The campground has 20 sites, two giant bins of fire wood, private tables and fire pits at each site, food lockers and two outhouse bathrooms. It's rather unique for a backcountry campground in that each site is very private. In a typical campground, the tent sites would all be together in one section of the campground. Meanwhile picnic tables, lockers or bear hangers, outhouses, and maybe a fire pit would all be clustered in another section. I have to admit that I feel safer knowing that eating and sleeping quarters are separated (bears and all) but it was nice to have your own picnic table per site. I've camped in places where there's only 3 tables to share amongst 8 sites. Not so fun.
|Noah and one of his friends running around the campground|
I found this campground less than ideal for a group such as ours because of the campsite privacy.
I was hoping we could all eat, play, and hang out together but this was kind of hard since our four sites were widely spaced apart from each other. I believe some of the sites were closer together but they were already claimed when we arrived. Because of this, we spent a LOT of time with our friends on the beach below site #20 - hands down the most beautiful site in the campground.
|Site #20 looking over the lake|
We had a lot of fun on the beach throwing rocks in the water, swimming (note to self - bring bathing suit next time), and just hanging out. I probably shouldn't admit that we lit a fire on the beach and spent all of our evenings down there but I didn't light it, didn't carry the wood down for it, and take no responsibility for it. (Read the disclaimer for more information on fires at the end of this story.) In our defense, it was the only way we could have a communal fire without disturbing sleeping kids. Most of the adults took turns on parental watch up at the tents each night (our son is freakishly ok by himself in his tent) and we tried to keep the children up as late as possible with s'mores, Jiffy-Pop, and beach-side fun.
|Note - the lake is very cold!!|
|Playing with the kids in the lake|
|Life on our private beach below our campsites|
|First S'more experience|
|Evenings on the beach|
We also spent hours taking turns in the canoes paddling/riding around the lake. As mentioned above, we fit 7 people plus a dog in the motorized canoe to go over to a private little island that had a good swimming beach. The beach at the Point is very rocky and not as great for small kids. While paddling on the lake we saw bald eagles, heard the call of loons, and discovered neat little places such as the small island near the Hidden Lake outlet that had a spring bubbling up into double waterfalls flowing in opposite directions.
|Morning paddling to the little island at the Hidden Lake Outlet|
|The lake was like glass Sunday morning (note that it isn't always that calm and it can be quite windy)|
|A final paddle on Monday morning|
|Kids enjoying a classic Canadian experience|
|The island we went to for swimming|
|Having a snack at the waterfalls|
|My favourite wild Canadian animal - The Marmot|
|Looking out at the Falls|
It was an awesome weekend with perfect weather, great friends, and memories built that we will treasure for years to come. Thanks to those who came with us and thanks to our friends Jen and Ashley who ensured I actually had photos of our family on the trip. Several of the photos used in this story (of our family especially) were taken by them.
|Our Junior Camper on his first Canoe Trip|
All pets are required to be on leash in a provincial park - at all times. I am pretty sure the regulations were not made with a cat in mind but it should be said that I take no responsibility for whether it was on leash or not as it was not my animal to care for. For more information, follow the link here to the Provincial regulations.
Also, despite our bad example, park regulations request that you use the fire pits provided when backcountry camping. For more information on this, follow the link to Minimizing your Impact.