As soon as we got to the trail head, we noticed a big group of people coming back with snowshoes. This was in January so we expected to have a little snow, but not enough to need snowshoes. All the information we had gathered said that this trail was wheelchair accessible, to us that means easy, so when we saw the group I got a little concerned. Not only that, but one of the girls (in her mid 30s max) in the group was talking on the phone with someone else and she was telling him, how that hike had been the most difficult thing she had done.
I slowly approached one of the guides and asked him if we would be in trouble without snowshoes with 30+ pounds on our backs (Emma and Sophie). He said that as long as we stayed on the northern part we would be OK.
We put Sophie on Christelle's back and Emma on mine and started our hike. The lake was completely frozen, which was great to see, as we hadn't seen it like this in any of the pictures. The hike starts very easy, there are two loops you can do. The short one, which goes just around the lake, you can see the complete loop from the trail head, this is the wheelchair accessible loop. You can see it on one of the pictures on the slider below. We took the longer loop. At first it goes up for a while, but it is still not very steep it climbs about 100 feet. At times we did have to guess where the trail was going as the wind had blown the snow tracks from other people away.
After about 10 minutes you get to one of the highest points, this is where you can really start to enjoy the view and beauty of the lake and surrounding areas.
Below you can see pictures from the first part of the trail.
We wanted to keep going higher, but there was no trail and that part was very steep, with the girls on our backs we decided to just keep going around. The further west we got the more snow we started to encounter to the point to where we had no idea where to go, the snow covered the trail. I think one of our next investments will have to be a GPS computer, so we know exactly where we are at all times, this would have come in handy. Finally after about 5 minutes of guessing and imagining other people's footsteps, we saw snowshoe tracks. We decided to follow them. For me this was the best part of the trail, we were surrounded by trees and snow, it was so quiet, Chris took a picture while we were in there, which you can see here ->
By this point Sophie had fallen asleep but Emma was wide awake saying random things, which kept the hike very amusing, I really love to hear her talk, although I understand 20% of the things she is saying as she deliberately chooses which language to use. We kept walking and then we started messing around a little, I took a quick video of Chris throwing snow up in the air. She thought I was talking a picture, but I was actually trying out the slow motion feature on the iPhone, turns out, it is not bad, video below.
As you can see from the map above, we didn't really stick to the trail, instead we walked a couple of loops trying to find the trail. Once we found the snowshoe trail the snow was packed so it was easy to walk just with our boots. We didn't have snowshoes with us anyway, so we were simply hoping that the snow was either not too deep or packed enough, which it ended up being.
The whole loop took us about 2 hours to complete, we took our time and took a ton of pictures, towards the end since it was close to 2pm, the snow was getting softer and that is when we started going into the snow with the amount of weight that we were carrying. You can see Christelle with her leg half way in the snow in the picture below. We didn't have to deal with that long, maybe just a couple of hundred yards.
Once we got to the end we got the girls down the backpacks and had a little lunch.
After lunch we had to, of course, put Sophie in the snow and take some pictures of her with her sunglasses. It is amazing how much she likes the snow, although once her hands get cold, she gets mad and starts to complain.
- Great Family Trail
- Can be made more challenging if you take the outer loop
- Looks very different in the winter
If you'd like to get more information about this trail please go to:
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As usual, thank you for reading, feel free to leave a comment and see next time.