Monday, 10 October 2011

Hiking with Kids in Kananaskis: Tryst Lake (A death and life situation in Kananaskis)

With kids: tiny fairy shrimp
With adults: a big moose
Tryst Lake with adults.
Tryst Lake with kids.
October 1, a bunch of us adults hiked to Tryst Lake in Kananaskis to see the larches turning gold. The day was overcast. In the parking lot, we saw a mother moose and her calf. On the trail to the lake, we saw a third moose grazing beside the path. On the hike back, we saw a massive male moose lying beside the path, munching on grass, its antlers absolutely huge. The larches? Although they towered over us on the slopes above Tryst Lake, all we could see were there faint, gold outlines through the clouds that were socking us in.

On October 9, I returned to Kananaskis and Tryst Lake for a kids hike with eight kids and their parents. Halfway up, the trail was covered in slippery snow although the sky above was blue. At the lake, most of the larches had already lost their needles, but the kids didn't care. They'd found fairy shrimp--or sea monkeys as the kids called them--in the frigid lake and collected them in a jar. Tiny little swimming creatures spotted by tiny little eyes and curious, growing minds.

Click here for more kids hikes in Banff, Kananaskis, Kootenay and other areas of the Canadian Rockies.

It was a reminder that as adults, we've lost sight of the details that make the mountains, and life, such a mystery. We see the big things. They see it all. On the first hike, we'd gone to see the wonder of the fall, literally the fall of the needles that mark the end of growth for the year. On the second hike, the kids discovered new growth because they weren't burdened down with the preconceptions that we older, wiser ones were carrying.

Distance: About 6.6 km round-trip
Elevation gain: About 260 m
Hiking Time: 4 to 6 hours
Directions:  From Canmore, take the Smith Dorrien / Spray Trail to Mt. Shark Road (about 35 km from the Nordic Centre). Follow that road for a kilometre and turn left into the parking area. Hike down the old logging road for about 1.5 kilometers. A cairn on the right marks where the trail to the lake starts.

Click here for driving directions.

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