Hey there paddlers,
I hope that everyone has had a great season so far. It is slowly coming to an end, but as long as the water is liquid and has safe access I will continue to be out there paddling. Paddling in the fall and close to winter has its challenges, but once you over come them, the rewards are priceless. One just has to be more prepared for the unexpected. Warm, dry protective clothing and warm beverages usually do the trick. So until the water is inaccessible there is no reason not to be out there paddling. Paddling this time of the year also has scenery that you don't see at any other time of the year.
Here in Calgary we are very blessed with the close proximity to the Rocky Mountains. When the Rockies are mentioned, people usually just think of Banff and Jasper as the destinations. Yes, both of those places are beautiful and worthwhile, but usually because of the hype, they are very busy and can be over crowded. Luckily, one does not need to go there to fight with the crowds to enjoy the mountain scenery. Within a two hour drive from Calgary lies a beautiful region where one can enjoy the awesomeness and spectacular beauty of the mountains. This region is one of my favourite destinations to go paddling. I'm of course talking about Kananaskis Country. The area is named for the Kananaskis River, which was named by John Palliser after a Cree acquaintance in 1958. There are all kinds of activities to do here from hiking to skiing, camping, climbing, white water kayaking and more. But my favourite activity to do here is to go paddling in my kayak and enjoy the beauty of it all from the water, on the lakes that exist here. Not gonna yap too much here as words don't do these areas justice.
There are four larger lakes to enjoy. Barrier Lake, Lower Kananaskis Lake, Upper Kananaskis Lake and Spray Lakes. They are all beautiful bodies of water and it's always difficult to choose which lake to paddle on.
Barrier Lake is the closest. However the water level has been very low the last few years. You have to portage your kayak a little ways to launch. However, once on the water the hassle to get the kayak there is worth it.
Both the Upper Kananaskis Lake and Lower Kananaskis Lake are a little further up and the access to them is great. The road is paved and the scenery on the way is beautiful. Both lakes have boat launches and access is simple. Once your there, the scenery is absolutely spectacular.
Spray Lake is a little further. It is accessible by traveling past the Kananaskis Lakes on the Smith Dorrien Trail or through Canmore. This body of water is a bit more challenging to get to, but the awesome scenery makes it worth it. The challenge here is the Smith Dorrien Trail to Spray is gravel and typically turns to washboard quickly so driving can be tricky. As you travel there and back you are kept wondering if your vehicle can stay together in one piece. I'm sure if you brought some milk with you, by the time you get to Spray you'd have butter. I guess that wouldn't bee all bad. Could have sandwiches for lunch. It is a scenic road and the trip to the lake is worthwhile.
You can also find more info and pictures on these lakes by accessing "PaddlingMaps.com". That's all I have got for now. Enjoy the remainder of the season and hopefully I have encouraged you to continue to get out kayaking, even as it get colder here. Until next time.... May your paddles stay wet and your butts stay dry!
By Paul Kolman