Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Hiking Up Lake Minnewanka

Any one that knows me, I think, knows I have this debilitating fear of bears...

I honestly don't know where it comes from... I do recall as a child, going through the park gates at Banff and having my dad pass back the YOU ARE IN BEAR COUNTRY brochure...

I remember it detailed foot prints, photographs of the differences between a black bear and grizzly bear.

Whether that's what scared me or not, I'm not sure, but the fear of bears has stayed with me my entire life. It keeps me from heading into the mountains, which is unfortunate, considering where we live. 

So, our decision a few weeks ago, to hike a bit around Lake Minnewanka, in Banff National Park, was not taken lightly. An area known for it's bears and cougar attacks. [Funny thing, I'm not as scared of coming across a cougar, as I am a bear, though I know both are just as deadly]

The Scouts had hiked this trail a few weekends before, while at Scout camp in Banff. Mason was eager to take us and show us where they'd gone.  Recently, Mason has shown a real desire to get out and hike in the mountains. He's even trying to convince his Dad to hike in and camp somewhere this summer. And although the hiking in and camping doesn't appeal to me one little bit, I'm excited to get out and do some hiking together as a family. I'm attempting to put aside my fear of bears, and go for it.

We got to a certain point along the trail, that we came across a sign, very similar to this: [I wish now I would have taken of a photo of the actual sign, but I was trying to appear, aloof...

It talks about seasonal trail restrictions: You must travel in tight groups of 4, you must have bear spray, you are not allowed to have dogs with you, no cyclists, no walk in campers from July 10th-September 15th, and the I'm thinking... "Wow, bears know this? So thankful we were there at the end of May... Because the bears must realize it's 6 weeks before the trail restrictions are in place..." Not. So, for a faltering moment, I was ready to turn back, my heart hammering in my chest, but we didn't... We carried on.

The trail wasn't busy. We came across campers hiking in. We got out of the way of cyclists. We passed a few others with dogs [Miss Libby came with us for her first ever mountain hike] We made it to the same lookout the Scouts had made it to. We didn't encounter any bears. We did run into some deers that were absolutely not afraid of us, and were stubborn about getting out of our way.

I did it.

By the time we got back to the car, we'd hiked nearly 12 km. Not bad for our first time out this season. And I'm looking forward to more. The scenery is breath taking, and we're an hour away from it. So, my goal this year is to be brave.

Here are a few photos of our trip, and also a layout I created:

 I never tire of these types of photos.

 Checking out the lake at a look out point along the way.

 Kids and dog, at our turning around point.

 Barry and Mason.

 Madelyn and myself.

 A highlight for Madelyn for sure, is finding a chipmunk. She would love to have captured it somehow and brought it home.

Taking it all in.

Looking so small against the mountain back drop.

A trail selfie.

Sahlin Studio Products used:

Country Road Embellishments

Paper Piercing Stitch Holes

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