The temperatures here in Canmore have gradually warmed up since our cold Christmas day. Boxing day was warm enough for us to head out for a bit of tobogganing at the Nordic Centre and by the following day we decided it was warm enough to head a bit further afield. Neil had bought me a set of snowshoes for my birthday back in November but until now we hadn't been able to get out on them. We rented a couple of set's for Neil and for the kids and drove south to Spray Lakes. It was beautiful. Spray Lakes road climbs high up above Canmore on a pretty scary winding mountain road with a near vertical drop on one side and phenomenal views across the Bow Valley. At the top there's a dam and then the road winds down into Kananaskis Country away from the town and the noisy highway into a beautiful quiet valley. The road was lined with trees heavy with snow, the kids were unusually quiet and we drove along peacefully admiring the serene scene around us.
We stopped about 22km south of Canmore on the shore of Spray Lakes, got ourselves suited and booted and stepped off the road into the fresh snow. We followed a trodden trail down to the lake at first as we got used to the new shape of our feet :) I was surprised at how quickly the kids seemed to get comfortable with the snowshoes, even Bel who I'd imagined tripping and falling and having a total meltdown. It was all good so we ventured into some deeper snow. In the really deep stuff the snowshoes disappear below the surface a few inches but once you get used to the sensation it's not hard at all. We walked down onto the lake which is apparently a well known Snow Kiting spot. Neil had bought along his little trainer kite and took off his snow shoes to give that a go while the kids and I had some running races and played with a cute dog that was running around while his owner was kiting further down the lake.
Neil's practise kiting was a success and he got pretty excited at the thought of bringing along his snow board another day to try some Snow kiting. Once the kite was packed away and Neil was strapped back into his snowshoes we headed off the lake, into the trees and some very deep snow.
It was so much fun! We'd have been up to our waists without the snowshoes but with them on we could wander through the quiet forest at a nice pace. The kids seemed to love it, Bel got a bit tired towards the end and we had to take turns carrying her but she was still happy and smiling. I think she did pretty good for a three year old! Next time I think I'll take the sled along so we can pull her once she's bored of walking.
We were all having such a nice time out in the fresh air enjoying the forest that as we emerged from the trees it took me a few moments to realize that we were literally right next to a moose! Errrr make that two moose! It was a mamma and baby and I didn't know whether to panic or stop and take pictures so I did both :) I snapped a couple of pictures then swiftly decided to get some distance between me and the moose just incase Mamma got angry!
Once we were back at the safety of the truck we cracked open our thermos of hot sweet chai and munched some snacks on a snowbank while we watched the moose and her baby disappear back into the trees. I swear a cup of tea has never tasted as good as that one! We left Spray Lakes rosy-cheeked and happy and can't wait until our next snowshoe adventure.