Come on over, have a seat in one of our comfy chairs and share our picnic lunch with us as we enjoy a spectacular view of the Spray Lakes in Kananaskis Country.
After a Freak Early Blizzard, Summer Returns
Given the lovely sunshine and warm late summer temperatures we’ve been basking in this week, few would suspect that just last week we got hit with a huge blizzard which dropped some 20 cm of wet snow on Calgary! While it’s rare for us to see snow in the summer months or this early in September, it can certainly snow here in any month of the year. Happily, a quick return to summer-like temperatures made fast work of the unseasonable and unwelcome snowfall.
This past week my partner and I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and took off for a fun little day trip to the mountains of Kananaskis Country.
The Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes Trail
The Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes Trail, a scenic gravel road winding through Kananaskis Country, is one of our favourite mountain drives, even if it is a notoriously dusty road. It stretches from the town of Canmore, Alberta to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, a distance of about 62 km. The road winds its way through the mountains, hugging the shores of the beautiful sparkling blue-green Spray Lakes and past many crystal clear mountain ponds and rivers. There are many great hiking trails to be found along the road. If you love the great outdoors, and particularly if you love wild backcountry hiking, mountain climbing, mountain biking, trail riding, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, this place is for you.
Here, you can see the The Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes Trail as it angles up the mountainside from behind the Town of Canmore, Alberta.
“Each man’s life represents a road toward himself.”
~ Herman Hesse
The Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes Trail winding up the mountainside, just south of Canmore.
A vista seen from the Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes Trail: looking down at the picturesque town of Canmore, nestled in the Bow River Valley of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. The beautiful blue mountain lake is the reservoir for the town’s water supply.
The Grassi Lakes are two beautiful turquoise blue lakes located just south of Canmore, along the Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes Trail. If you look carefully at the upper left of the image below, you can see a family enjoying a picnic. The Grassi Lakes are reached by a scenic 4 km hike.
What makes these mountain waters turquoise?
Particles in water can scatter light. The Colorado River is often muddy red because of suspended reddish silt in the water. Some mountain lakes and streams containing finely ground rock, such as glacial flour, are turquoise. Light scattering by suspended matter is required in order that the blue light produced by water’s absorption can return to the surface and be observed. Such scattering can also shift the spectrum of the emerging photons toward the green, a color often seen when water laden with suspended particles is observed.
The Spray Lakes were once a string of separate lakes along the Spray River, which were united when the river was dammed, forming the Spray Lakes Reservoir. The Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes Trail winds along the perimeter of one side of this beautiful chain of lakes. The views are stunning.
“In the mountain, stillness surges up to explore its own height.
In the lake, movement stands still to contemplate its own depth.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore
After the September long weekend, most picnic areas in the backroad parts of the parks are closed for the winter. While we can’t drive into the picnic sites, we are still able to walk in to enjoy the beautiful vistas and have a little picnic. It just means parking along the road and walking in a ways to the picnic areas, which works out perfectly for us, as we get to be all alone at our favourite spots overlooking the spectacular vistas of the Spray Lakes.
Late afternoon light on the Spray Lakes creates beautiful receding tonal gradations.
All photographs by madlyinlovewithlife; © 2012 and 2014 madlyinlovewithlife