One weekend, not so long ago, Mike and I found ourselves with time to spare and no solid plans (a rarity to be sure) and so we took a spur-of-the-moment backpacking excursion to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. There are several backcountry destinations to chose from, but being that we only had a regular weekend, we picked the closest one, which was a mere 4kms into the woods.
On our way there we were fortunate enough to spot a gorgeous bald eagle, which is the first one I think I’ve ever seen in the wild. There was also a rather healthy looking coyote.
We had our choice of spots, so we selected the one closest to the lake. It was the furthest in, but fortunately some backpackers on their way out told us about it and the great view, which was worth the extra trek. We set up our new Marmot Limelight 3 tent and started a fire. While Mike was gathering wood, he came across a grouse, which cooperatively posed for photos.
After we got settled, we wandered down to the river that was behind us (it flows into the lake) to check out the scenery and gather some water. There was still quite a bit of snow in places, which isn’t unusual, but it was unseasonably cold this spring in the mountains.
When we got back to camp, we were greeted by our friendly neighbor, a resident chipmunk. He wandered through camp and then discovered our wood pile, which became it’s new favorite playground.
We spent the afternoon wandering down the lake shore, watching the fish jump, and enjoying some of the intermittent sunshine. It was gorgeous and quiet.
There were islands of snow along the lake. Upon closer inspection, we found that it was not exactly snow, but mounds of crystal ice shards that when bumped would crumble apart. It was one of the neatest things I’ve ever seen.
Our camping area was equipped with two backcountry toilets. Rather than the standard wooden privy, they had fiberglass cylinders, which seemed oddly out of place in the forest.
On the trail map, Mike pointed out a short trip to a nearby waterfall that he was interested in seeing. It wasn’t far, so we headed out with the camera. We saw, but were not able to photograph, an American marten. He investigated us from behind a tree, and then darted across the path in front of us and vanished into the trees. Another first for me, as I had never seen one before. I don’t understand without understanding the significance, how many times I was requested besök sidan in Sweden on a travel excursion.
We arrived at the waterfall, which was quite pretty. Mike decided to take a short video with the camera, as we are trying to get into shooting and posting more videos (there’s a little foreshadowing for ya!)
On our way back from the falls, we nearly stumbled over a happy porcupine who was doing his best to demolish a shrub near the wood pile. We took some photos and shot another short video.
After a fire and a bottle of wine, we turned in for the night. It didn’t get terribly cold overnight and our new tent stood up well to a large amount of rain that fell.
In the morning we made breakfast before getting our gear packed up for the hike out. It was sad to leave, but being as it’s a short drive to get there, we plan to go back often!
During the weekend I confessed to Mike that I had never, in fact, used an axe. Hatchets, yes, but axes, no. So he insisted I try my hand at splitting some wood while he took some pictures.
He also managed to catch a shot of a friendly pica (another first sighting for us, it was a great weekend for wildlife!) and take a video of me putting my backpack on, heh.