Canada - Chasing Chinook Winds to Rawson Lake

Date walked: 27/01/2016

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 8.3km

Ascent: 338m

I've made the trip to Rawson Lake a number of times now but still find each one as interesting and enjoyable as the rest, it's a nice winter hike with a well trodden path making the going fairly easy.

Chinook winds are a frequent visitor to Southern Alberta in winter time, they bring with them huge temperature increases and brief respite from the Canadian winter (though this year has been very mild so far anyway) The temperature today rose to 14C in Cochrane and I couldn't resist getting the hiking gear on and heading out. I actually wore my summer gear but took a winter jacket along just in case. I made my way to Upper Kananaskis Lake which is the starting point for the short hike to Rawson Lake.

The lake and surrounding mountains look stunning as always in their winter whites, there's much less snow this year thanks to El Nino but there's still enough to paint this wonderful landscape white


Even out here in the middle of the mountains the temperature still reached 7C and it really did feel like a spring hike as I set out along the trail, the early part of which is wide and well trodden.


Something I find odd about trails out here is the proximity of seating to the car park, you've no sooner got going when a seat comes into view, but after a few miles where a seat might be welcome there's none :roll:


This crow at the bottom of Sarrail Creek Falls really cracked me up, he came down to the lake for a drink and attempted to get one from the patch that looks like water on the left of this shot....it is in fact ice, he banged his beak on it a couple of times and then sat on top of this ice pile shouting about it for a good long time :lol:


Soon after the falls the trail narrows considerably and the 2.7km ascent to Rawson begins, the forest is hung with swags as the temperatures rise, there's liquid water running through the creek leaving snowballs dotted here and there, soon the ascent is done and I'm looking along the creek to Mt Sarrail ahead.


Trying to get a few shots down by the creek caused me to question the wearing of summer trousers as I waded thigh deep through the untrodden snow, but it was worth it. After messing with photos for a while I made the last few hundred yards to Rawson where Mt Sarrail looms large at the far end of the lake.


After walking out on the lake for a bit I turned to see this nice symmetrical shot of my entrance behind me


A few snow showers brushed the top of the mountain as I stood taking it all in, the usual accompaniment of 'Whiskey Jacks' was absent today which was a shame, I guess they don't need a free handout with such a mild winter


After enjoying the views I make my way back down to Upper Kananaskis Lake where the view to the north shows more snow showers passing by


At the base of Sarrail Creek Falls I spend a while chasing images of the broken ice and the mountains beyond





I think I may have to return to this area at the base of the falls with the 'full photo gear' and get some shots as there are some great images to be had...this one in particular is a favourite from today


Not the most exciting hike today, but worth posting as it's my first of the year and it's pretty scenic too, if the current weather continues it may be another 'bumper' year for me but Canadian winters can turn very quickly so I'll keep that thought......on ice :wink: .................... :lol: :lol:

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User avatar
Location: Cochrane- Alberta - Canada
Occupation: Management Consultant - Semi Retired
Interests: Photography, Walking, Kayaking, Golf, Mountain Biking
Activity: Scrambler
Pub: Sutton Arms
Mountain: Mt Rainier - USA
Place: Loch Muick
Gear: Quality footwear
Member: None
Camera: Canon 5DIII
Ideal day out: A scramble on a high ridge in Kananaskis
Ambition: Lose some more weight!

Munros: 18
Corbetts: 5
Grahams: 3
Sub 2000: 6


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Joined: Jan 25, 2011
Last visited: Feb 08, 2016
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