Arriving in Calgary for our 10-night Canadian Rockies adventure, the first objective was to get ourselves familiar with our new surroundings, and get some logistics out of the way. After picking up the minivan rental (with just enough space to fit six travellers and all our backpacking gear), a quick lunch downtown and a visit to the local Mountain Equipment Co-Op for last minute supplies, we headed out of the city for the mountains.
Our first day was a car-camp day at Bow Valley Provincial Park, about 45 minutes drive west of Calgary, at the northern tip of Kananaskis Country. The Kananaskis range are the front range and the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, and there are a few short trails in the park that were good warm-ups for the rest of the trip. Everyone was pretty tired from the flight (but also excited) so the easy hikes were welcome in the early evening. Western Canada was the midst of a major heatwave, but luckily our camp was close to the river with a nice breeze.
The Flowing Water Trail is a 2-km loop that follows the meandering Kananaskis River; the Moraine Trail follows the crest of a ridge that leads to Middle Lake, a small depression formed by earlier glacial activity . Early next morning I snapped a few sunrise photos of Yamnuska Mountain across the Bow River – an impressive wall of sheer rock towering over the landscape.