Open Roads

After wrapping up the cross country ski season in late March (I had hoped for slightly longer, but we had a great season overall) we started doing a few short hikes in low lying areas. During this shoulder season I somehow managed to get my hands on the correct bike components to upgrade my single speed to 1×9 gearing to let me get into the mountains more comfortably. In April, we got a little blast of winter again – Calgary weather likes to remind us that winter is never far away.

The neighbourhood snowshoe hares coats have already turned brown.
LEGO – always a nice activity for dreary weather evenings.

Every winter, several mountain roads in Alberta are closed, and don’t reopen until May or June depending on the specific road. Though these roads are closed to cars, as the snow melts in spring, they become open to adventuring on bicycles. We began by exploring the 1A near Banff. This trip allowed us to explore the Johnston Canyon almost alone – I imagine it’s very busy in normal times.

Leaving the bikes at the bottom of Johnston Canyon.
“Inkpots” above Johnston Canyon.

By mid-May, whether or not a trail was snow covered really depended on its aspect (North vs South facing).

Next we repeated a trip we did last spring – to Elbow Lake. This year we took snowshoes with us to avoid any post holing.

Lunch at the lake, not quite swimming season yet.
The post lunch snooze.
Heading beyond Elbow lake towards the Tombstone area.

By late May most snow was incredibly slushy, so it stopped making sense to bring the snowshoes along.

Near the Pickle Jar lakes.

On one occasion we didn’t quite make it to the top of Highwood Pass because of the remaining snow (apparently the highest paved road pass in Canada?)

By mid June the roads were about to open to cars, the days were long, and most snow was gone from the trails – it was almost time to declare the summer hiking season fully open!

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