Grooming continues, more snow, and bears in spring.

by Bob Truman on April 1, 2014

in Banff, Canmore, Kananaskis, PLPP(P Lougheed Park)

Spring in my back yard today

Spring in my back yard today

It snowed another 4 cm overnight in Canmore. I expect conditions are excellent at the Canmore Nordic Centre where they continue to groom and trackset daily. As John A reported from skiing there, “The snow and tracks were as good or better than at any time during the entire winter. “

Jody speculates that tracksetting will continue in PLPP until Easter. Last night, Wheeler, Woolley, Meadow and Amos were done.

The Banff trail report, which is two days old, shows that Mar 29 was the last time tracksetting occurred in Lake Louise, but I’m hopeful that it will continue on for a bit longer.

Yesterday we went to Banff for lunch. I later took a walk out onto the Spray river trail to see what it was like, and to my surprise, it had perfect tracks. They were not skier-set tracks. There was some fresh snow over top, so I couldn’t make out any corduroy, but the tracks were completely uniform and in excellent shape, obviously done by machine. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and walked out further(700 metres) and there was no difference.

I stopped at the Banff Info Centre and inquired if tracksetting had been discontinued for this winter. The man behind the counter at the Info Centre looked up from his paperwork, as though ready to chastise me for disturbing him, and told me indeed that tracksetting was finished. I told him what I saw at Spray river and was told “they must be skier’s tracks.”

Bear 122 Banff

Bear 122 Banff

According to the trail report, the last tracksetting occurred on Spray River on Mar 7. Those tracks have remained in great shape for the past 25 days, through all the snowfalls, thawing, freezing, and hundreds of skiers. Wow!

Bear tracks on Tyrwhitt(photo from April 12, 2006)

Bear tracks on Tyrwhitt(photo from April 12, 2006)

Regarding Bear 122 who has been spotted numerous times on the Baker Creek to Castle Lookout trail, here’s a link to an article  from last summer. Badass bear no serial killer.

I have a funny story to relate regarding bears in spring. Cheryl and I were skiing on April 12, 2006 on Tyrwhitt on fresh tracksetting, with a dusting of new snow on the grooming.

Bear tracks on Whiskey jack(photo from April 21, 2011)

Bear tracks on Whiskey jack(photo from April 21, 2011)

Skiing blissfully along, I suddenly spotted some unusual tracks. I said to Cheryl, “Why did the tracksetter guy get off his machine and walk barefoot in the snow here?” Cheryl took a look and clued me in quickly.

Cheryl swears she heard the bear in the trees. You could see the bear’s tracks emerging from the trees on the east side, perhaps this was his first foray out from hibernation. It was right at the picnic table, of course. Where else would you expect to see a bear?

Five years later, I spotted the same tracks on Whiskey jack and there was no mistaking them for a human’s.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chuck April 1, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Hey Bob… are you trying to pull off an April Fool’s Day prank!
Where is the proof, where are your pictures?
But it is true… here is proof:
https://picasaweb.google.com/accesschuck/SprayRiverApril12014?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCNzLkYCg6cyqFg&feat=directlink
Yes, it was a very pleasant ski today. Highlight of the day was hearing a Barred Owl, and seeing tracks of Moose and Wolf.
But, by the time we got back to the parking lot, the snow was melting.
The truth is, it is time to head west!

We have a Barred owl in the forest behind our house who returns every year. We hear its distinctive call quite often at 4 a.m.! -Bob

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2 Henry April 2, 2014 at 7:41 am

It must be comforting at 4:00am in knowing ‘Who cooks for you’ . You can probably smell the bacon and eggs.

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3 Bob Truman April 2, 2014 at 7:55 am

Here’s a link to the “Who cooks for you” owl audio http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/spring/OwlDictionary.html

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4 GordN April 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm

My understanding, not to be mistaken with quotable knowledge, is that the females are around the PLPP area and the males wander south come spring to seek them out, then wander back north while the human tolerant and apparently surprisingly knowledgeable about our activities and habits sows, raise the cubs in and around the south end of Kananaskis. But, again, no bear expert, just selective hearing.

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