Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Snowshoeing with Kids in Kananaskis: Canyon Creek

You know all your efforts to get your kids outdoors are working when your 12-year-old says he'd like to go snowshoeing instead of laser tag for his thirteenth birthday party.

The day of Mack's birthday, his younger brother Michael had an indoor soccer game that ended at 12:15 p.m. (he won, go Rangers!) so we needed someplace close to Calgary. It also had to have snow. Calgary had just experienced an unseasonable week of 9 C weather, and much of Kananaskis within an hour's drive was brown and dry. I selected Canyon Creek, west of Bragg Creek on Highway 66. While other parts of the Elbow Valley tend to melt quickly in warm weather, Canyon Creek is in a tight enough valley that it doesn't get as much sun and holds its snow longer. Still...9 C can melt a lot of snow, even in the shade, so I didn't know what we'd find when we got there. And considering our less than successful mountain biking trip at Canyon Creek...

I needn't have worried. As soon as we turned off onto the road to Ing's Mine parking lot, it was clear that we'd have plenty of snow. This was a new activity for two of the boys, who only moved to Canada from India a few years ago. You could see the excitement in their faces as I helped them put on the rented snowshoes (three pairs of MSR's for $30 from the University of Calgary Outdoor Centre--way cheaper than laser tag). As soon as they were strapped in, they were off.

From the parking lot, we made our way down a short steep section to the creek bed and headed upstream. In places the snow was up to our knees, even with the snowshoes. In other places, we found bare ice, which the kids had a blast crossing, stomping the spikes on the bottom of their snowshoes into the ice for traction. And of course there were big grey rocks. Using their snowshoes like ice climbers use crampons on mixed ice and rock routes, they scaled the rocks and pelted those below them with the loose snow on top.

After an hour or so of tromping up the creek bed, the boys were soaked. So when clouds blotted out the blue sky and began pelting us with snow, we headed back to the car. I'd like to say they were tired out, but by the time they got home they were ready for more. Add three more fresh kids who showed up for the sleep over portion of the party, and it was a late night at the Schmaltz house.

Distance: 4 km return
Elevation gain: Negligible
Hiking/Exploring Time: 2 to 4 hours
Driving Directions: Heading south on Highway 22 from the Trans-Canada, go straight through the traffic circle. At Bragg Creek, turn left at the four-way stop. You'll come to a T-intersection. Turn right onto Highway 66. Follow this until you reach the Ing's Mine day use area.


Need help picking out kids snowshoes? Read this post:

Kids Snowshoeing Gear: Picking out Kids Snowshoes

Wondering where to go snowshoeing with kids? Read these posts:

Snowshoeing with Kids in Kananaskis: River View Trail
Snowshoeing with Kids in Banff: Lake Minnewanka
Snowshoeing with Kids in Kananaskis: Hogarth Lakes
Snowshoeing with Kids in Kananaskis: West Bragg Creek
Heli-snowshoeing with Kids in Kananaskis

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...