I couldn’t have timed this any better. As I was returning to the parking lot, the moon was rising directly above the trail. The setting was awe-inspiring.
Another good thing about getting a late start is that skiers who were out earlier will have skied-in the tracks. That tells you there was some fresh snow on the trail, and judging from some of the recent comments, it was needed.
The snow cover on the first K is still pretty thin, with a few pine needles, so you want to use caution when coming back down as it is steep and fast. Conditions were pretty good for the rest of the way.
Being as late as it was, I only went as far as the campground, about 7K. The previous skiers only went that far as well, so there’s trail to break for the next skier who goes all the way to the warden’s cabin. The snow temperature at the campground was -13C, and the air temp must have been even colder.
This trail gains about 270m of elevation over the first 5.5K. When you reach the high point, you’re also on an avalanche slope. I’ve seen cougar tracks on this trail frequently. Scared yet?
I took a side trip to Cascade Fire Road today to check snow conditions. Very thin snow cover. We seemed to get more snow in Canmore last night than in Banff. The cold temperatures should preserve what’s there and hopefully we’ll get more soon.