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Wanderlust cured’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 28 Jun 2009

Location: Too many..., Canada

MapBoating, Biking & Kayaking...all in a weekend!

The usual thursday night meet for biking was exchanged for a late day at work with the ranch having a function. 2 participants of the function were going on a trail ride beforehand and after a late start the 3 of us Australians were off! Part way into the ride a big brown butt ran into the trees and up a ridge...was it a bear or an elk - their colouring being somewhat similar. Fortunately, we were to ride up and across the top of the ridge to head home (due to the function I had to ride a specific trail to get the horses in and out safely and with little fuss). Then there she was, in all her shaggy offbeat glory, sitting up in a grassy noll, her cub perched up a tree, far enough away that she wasnt startled or scared of the horses, but close enough to watch, take pictures and see her grazing on the mountainside through the trees. There is a link to some photos I snapped - she is such a joy!

Friday was to bring more bears and on a ride with two Canadians there were two cubs playing together, a little further on, their mum. She checked us out awhile and slowly took her cubs deeper into the forest, with so much activity at the moment, and being in the same area the group plans on riding next thursday, bear spray and bells, coupled with lots of yelling is a must!

Friday night got the group all packed up and ready to rock the downhill trail in Banff called Stoney Squaw off Norquay ski mountain. Link is attached for photos. 2 punctures, a few spectacular crashes, some great riding and yummy pizza at the end made for a great time - with the night not ending until after 1am, which was only cut short because of what we had planned for the next day!

Like a James Bond set we were off to enjoy a warm (but a little windy) day in a plush SeaRay boat, with its leather embroided interior, grunting engine, (allegedly a few beers & breezers - tsk tsk in National Park) and some great friends. Lake Minnewanka (pronounced Minnewonka - sorry to take away the fun Australians!) was a little choppy, so we booted right to the end of the Lake, which took us a good 20 mins all revved up. We then stuck to the side of the lake which was partially protected from the wind by the side of the mountains and cruised slowly back. Beats pumping out the speakers, breezer in one hand, cheese platter in the other as we laughed and danced our way back to the docks...lots of fun and we will surely be getting out on the boat on the sunniest and warmest (and calmest) of days this summer.

After some rest and a little leftover pizza 4 troopers remained who wanted to take on biking for the afternoon. The full G8 trail was on the menu and after one puncture to my friends ankle from the sprocket, two falls by another friend which were relativly scratch free the ride was so good. Met some other friends on the trail - which was a first for me, and I feel like Im really becoming a local, they helped with a few directions for the full figure of 8 loop and also a fun new addition to the trail with up and down burms to enjoy. I really like this trail and it stands out as my favorite at the moment - and its basically in my backyard. Woo Hoo!

After a quick burn to a friends house for icecream, a cup of tea and a chat, saturday night was almost over and I needed some sleep for what was to come on Sunday.

Kayaking is something that I had wanted to learn and today's adventures was kind of like being thrown into the deep end when you dont know how to swim. I have had one 2 day course, 1 roll session at the pool and I was taken to the Kananaskis river for a paddle on a lovely sunny sunday afternoon. This river was actually built by some of my friends, its dam controlled which meant that when the water is turned off (its used for hydro power) you can get in there with diggers and engineer all kinds of rapids, waves and other fun features. World class kayakers (of which a handful are my friends) come specifically to this river because it is in their backyard and some of the features they play in the waves and try flips and spins and its something I can never see myself doing :) Good on them :)
I was dropped in after the class III "Widowmaker" and practiced a few rescues (me going upsidedown and waiting for a kayak to nudge me, which I then grip onto and roll/flick/pull myself up to save from pulling out of the kayak and swimming when I go under and cant roll up). Talk about icecream headache - this water is COLD. I had all the gear on...but nothing was there to stop my face and ears from freezing. I was thinking it was to be a paddle/swim, but I actually stayed in my boat the entire time! I got out and walked around two features called Santa Claus and Santas Little Helper because it would have sucked me in and spat me out...I almost went backwards through Pointbreak - which is a nasty little wave for me - but great for the playboaters. I really enjoyed the other rapids and a few features that I could confidently make it through, following my coaches line. The day was finished up with a lovely bbq, drinks and once home a long chat about kayaking and the like and a cup of tea.

I had no idea what the weekend would bring, but as Canmore has usually ends up being Epic. I love this place.

This weeks nutshell: full G8 with a group of female bikers who meet every wednesday. My thursday groupies will tackle the mighty Montane trail together. 3 days of work - 4 day weekend :) and car hunting for some wheels to get me around this gorgeous place even further!

Hope winter is being kind to you all...sunny and avg 20 degrees here :)