Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Elk Pass & Kan Lakes

Trip Date: July 2015

At the end of June I was selected as an Alberta Parks Ambassador for 2015.  There were over 70 applicants and I was one of the lucky recipients of the position, along with 11 others from across the province.  Our job is to promote and share stories and experiences from our time in provincial parks in Alberta this summer.  This trip was the first camping trip since being appointed as an ambassador and I was looking forward to a long weekend away from the city.

Christine, Rome, and I headed to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, which is part of the Kananaskis Country system of parks.  We had reserved a site in Boulton Creek Campground, one of several campgrounds inside the park.  This wasn't our first time staying in Peter Lougheed and you can read about our previous experiences right here and here.  

A map of the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park area
We didn't leave Calgary until after work on Friday, so by the time we drove to the campground, checked-in, and got our site set-up it was already dusk.  We took Rome for a short walk along the shoreline of Lower Kananaskis Lake where we found numerous tracks from the resident wildlife.  

Christine's hand beside a small bear track, likely from a Black Bear
Mt. Foch and Mt. Sarrail as viewed from Lower Kananaskis Lake
Lower Kananaskis Lake
Sun setting behind Mt. Indefatigable
After a leisurely breakfast the next morning we were driving out of the campground to go hiking when something unexpected happened.  There were a few kids riding their bikes on the road in the campground and one of them looked really familiar.  Turns out it was one of my second cousins.  My mom's extended family was on their annual family camping trip and it just happened to be on the same weekend and in the same campground as us.  This made for an unexpected turn of events, but also a lot of fun over the course of the weekend.

We parked at the Elk Pass Day Use Area and prepared to hike the Elk Pass Trail to Fox Lake.  Elk Pass sits on the Continental Divide between Alberta and British Columbia, so the first section of the trail is in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, while the second portion is in Elk Lakes Provincial Park, British Columbia.  The hike itself isn't very strenuous as you only gain approximately 210m of elevation over 6.1km.  Round trip the hike was 12.2km, but neither of us felt like we had to work very hard on this one.

Mt. Indefatigable and Lower Kananaskis Lake as viewed from the Elk Pass Trail
A bridge crossing Fox Creek
Hiking along the Elk Pass Trail
The Elk Range as viewed from Elk Pass on the Continental Divide
The trail to Fox Lake
Fox Lake sits at the base of Fox Mountain and is quite a small lake.  Although the hike was enjoyable, I think there are other opportunities in the area (ie: Rawson Lake) that would offer better bang for you buck.  The biggest draw with this hike, however, is the lack of other hikers.  It's not as popular as the previously mentioned Rawson Lake, so the trail is quieter and less busy.  

Fox Lake sits below Mt. Fox
Making some adjustments to Rome's backpack
Fox Lake
Christine standing on a rock in front of the lake
After our hike we headed back to the campground to gather the troops and head to the lake.  Chris and I brought our stand-up paddleboards (SUP) along so we had a great afternoon in the sunshine paddling with the kids.  The water in Lower Kananaskis Lake was chilly, but the warm temperature outside made it quite refreshing.  This is how we spent the better part of the afternoon and most of the next morning!

Mt. Indefatigable
Rome and I on Lower Kananaskis Lake
Paddling in the sunshine
Lower Lake Panorama
My NRS Earl 4 SUP
Rome exploring a small, sandy island
Rome's point of view!
Lucas, Shawn, and I relaxing on the beach
After dinner on Sunday evening we all enjoyed a leisurely stroll along the Marl Lake Interpretive Trail.  This 1.5km loop starts in the Elkwood Campground parking area near the Elkwood Amphitheatre.  It winds its way through the forest to picturesque Marl Lake.  This was a great way to wrap-up the weekend since we were leaving the next morning.

The Opal Range as viewed from the Marl Lake Trail
Marl Lake
It's located in a very picturesque location
Nate, Lucas, and Shawn relaxing by the lake shore
Lucas and Nate on the trail
Susan, Shawn, Lydia, Lucas, and Sidney
The kids and their grandparents (my aunt and uncle)
After a quick breakfast and breaking camp we said our goodbye's and headed back to Calgary.  We obviously had a great time, but it was completely unexpected.  Luckily we ran into the kids along the road or we might not have known they were even staying there.  What a coincidence!  

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