|Approaching Elbow Lake|
|Winter Paradise (Photo: Cam Schaus)|
We headed up to Elbow Lake again last weekend for what will certainly become an annual tradition in late November. We were relieved to see that there was less snow this year and that the trail had been packed down already. I love powder and don't mind breaking trail through knee deep snow for an hour but when you are pulling sleds it's a lot harder! Last year we carried our son but this year he was going to be pulled in his ski pulk. We also had three other families coming with us who planned to transport their kids in Chariots with skis and one family was bringing a toboggan. We had no problems pulling the sleds on the wide packed trail this year but I'm most certain we wouldn't have made it last year. It will be interesting to try this trail again next year at the same time to determine what snow level is the norm for this area in November.
|Using a Chariot with skis is an excellent way to transport kids in winter|
|Two kids are bundled snug and warm inside the Chariot|
|Our son has a ski pulk that we love for off-trail adventures. It too has a cover for cold days or nap time|
We had hoped that the children would try snowshoeing up to the lake and we brought several pairs of junior snowshoes with us, but in reality, the trail is really steep for preschoolers in winter. I'm sure they all could have hiked the trail in summer with a bit of motivation (read - Candy!) but winter is a different ball game. This will be a great family snowshoe adventure in another year or two when our son will definitely be able to hike in on his own without the sled. For the moment however, Thank God we all have sleds or Chariots because it opens up the possibilities for how far and where we can go on our adventures. It also helps with nap time as many of the kids fell asleep on the way back down the trail, our son included.
|We at least got a couple of the kids on their snowshoes for a few minutes. :)|
We got to the lake and found a great spot to have lunch in the campground. Benches and tables make for a great resting spot. Just make sure you bring insulated bum pads if you want to sit down. I sadly had forgotten and had to sit on my mittens since I was wearing every extra layer I'd brought while we weren't moving. We left most of the kids in their sleds to eat - another great reason for having sleds or Chariots with you.
|Elbow Lake at the backcountry campground|
|Trying out my new snowshoes in the deep snow surrounding the lake|
|Mom and daughter have fun tromping through the deep snow|
Beyond the lake, the snow was less packed down so we didn't go too far with the sleds and Chariots but we did hike to the back of the lake for the spectacular views not seen as well from the campground.
|Hiking around the lake|
|Enjoying the views|
So, if you haven't already added this trip to your winter bucket list, I highly recommend the experience! The bad news though - you have 4 more days left this year to get up there. So grab those snowshoes or backcountry skis if you prefer and get going. :)
If you can't make it up to Elbow Lake before Saturday when Hwy 40 closes past the Peter Lougheed junction for the Upper and Lower Lakes, they put a reminder on your calendar for next November. We had 2 families last year and increased to 5 families for this year. Next year, I want 10 families!
November 30, 2013 - Save The Date for the Third Annual Elbow Pass Snowshoe Trip
|Will you be with us next year? (Photo: Cam Schaus)|
For more information on the Elbow Pass Trail or Backcountry Campground, visit the Kananaskis Website.
For more information on snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies, please visit the comprehensive story I wrote last winter featuring the best trails for families, Choosing to Snowshoe.