First Event: Saturday, February 24th
Whatever your experience & comfort levels in the mountains, winter hiking can be an exciting way to get some fresh air, exercise, take beautiful pictures and spend time with friends and family while exploring the peaceful snow-covered wild around us.
Whatever your motivation come join us on Saturday, Feb 24th!
Where are we going?
We have chosen a hike that will be accessible to anyone, and still gives you a taste of the mountains. We will be assessing snowfall and temperature the day of the hike and make a final decision based on safety and overall experience.
We will either be hiking: Chester Lake or Grotto Canyon.
Chester Lake is a classic Rockies snowshoe trail; some elevation, a snowy meadow, views of the mountains, and we can go explore the "elephant rocks" (large boulders covered in snow) at the top of our hike.
Grotto Canyon walks you up a frozen river bed (so, already a unique sort of trail) and through the canyon walls of beautiful warm colored rock set against the stark ice and snow. We will pass by a popular ice climbing waterfall and into a snowy meadow and a beautiful view of the mountains down the valley.
Either option is worth the walk!
Where are we meeting?
We will be meeting at 8am with a HARD 8:30am departure from the PetroCan off of HWY 1 ( 42148 Hwy 1, Calgary, AB T3Z 2P2 ). When you exit into the Petrocan parking lot, you will see a gravel road to your right (as you face the gas station) that winds up along the highway back towards HWY 22. Take that road (there will be lots of cars parked there) and drive all the way up to the top near that exit to 22 and park there. We will have signs and markers for our group and if you cant find us, text or call: 1-587-437-4051
We will gather into cars at that point and carpool as needed, but we are not providing transportation so some people will need to volunteer as Adventure Uber drivers ;)
What should I wear/bring?
One of the main reasons that many people stay out of the mountains is this exact issue: what do I need to own, what do I need to bring in order to be safe and enjoy being outside in the winter!? Adventure gear is intimidating and expensive! But, don't let the gear stop you! With a little bit of planning, you will have more fun, go further, play longer and most importantly, feel better when you get outside!
- Snowshoes are a good idea this weekend, but you can also look into crampons (ice grips)
- If you are looking at snowshoes, I suggest looking for a shoe with an "ascension bar" which will make a huge difference on uphill/steep sections!
- Poles are optional, but can help relieve pressure from your knees - especially on the downhill sections!
Whats in your pack?
- Bring a small backpack if you have one!
- BRING WATER! You can carry a cold water bottle or a hot thermos - or both, but bring water! If you bring a camelbak (or any kind of hydration system), I would make sure the hose is on the inside of your pack so that it does not freeze while we walk.
- Snacks! Lightweight snacks like nuts, meat, cheese, or granola/power bars are great!
- Lunch! We will stop for lunch so bring something simple to eat
- An extra warm layer (if you can fit it) and/or an extra waterproof or wind layer (if you don't want to wear it the whole time).
- A headlamp (if you have one, this is something you should always have with you when you head outside)
- If you have a small first aid kit, feel free to bring it along!
- Camera or cell phone (if your phone dies when it gets cold, consider bringing a pocket charger to reboot your phone/camera).
- Hat, toque, gloves, balaclava, scarf, extra hot pockets (hand warmers), etc
- Leave an extra pair of socks in the car if you want to be able to get your feet into some warm, dry footwear when we get back!
Let's start with the most important rule - absolutely no cotton! None, nada, zip, zero, zilch.
Why not cotton? My fluffy pajama pants are so warm and cozy!?
Cotton is a terrible technical fabric; first and foremost because when it gets wet, it stays wet and gets cold! So, as you climb up a steep section of a winter trail, your body will heat up and you will sweat into your cotton layers. Once they are wet, those layers will get cold and then stay wet and cold for the duration. This is especially important on your feet! DO NOT wear cotton socks, I can't state this enough...ok, one more time: DO NOT WEAR COTTON! (read more)
Great, thanks Jess, so now I can't wear my cotton socks or my comfy hoodie, so what do I wear?
Layering for outdoor activity is a bit of a personal choice: there are a lot of different systems and you can spend a lot of time and money collecting gear. But, really all you need to know is:
- Think layers! Start at your base, then a mid-layer, and then an outer layer. Having layers allows you to add things on, and take things off as you get hot on the trail, or cool down at the summit.
- Baselayer: tighter fitting clothing that breathes
- Mid-Layer: thick, fluffy, thermal!
- Outerlayer: waterproof, water resistant, wind resistant, your basic weather protection
- Shoes: I love waterproof shoes in winter, but that is your call!
- Gaitors: these are amazing for snow and wet weather - a great basic purchase
- Socks: one more time (just for kicks) - no cotton socks! But, another common mistake is to wear two or three pairs of socks thinking that will keep your feet warmer and it WONT!
- Your foot will heat the air trapped in your shoe outside your sock. If, however, you wear several layers of socks, then there is no air for your foot to heat. PLUS, the socks are so tight, you can often cut off the circulation to your feet which is vital in cold weather hiking.
- Get a good pair of socks, it's worth the money!
HEY HEY HEY...for those of you who will not read any of this and have just scrolled to the bottom of the page looking for a Final Thought....fine, I hear you (I can get a bit carried away talking about gear). But, then do me a favour and watch these videos:
That about wraps it up, our team is excited for a beautiful weekend adventure with you all!