The air temperature at the Goat Creek trailhead was -12°C at 1:15 pm and a light, gentle snowfall was beginning. There was not a breath of wind and it seemed a lot warmer than -12. The snow temperature was -8. VR40(-4/-12) worked well all day.
Snow coverage is excellent and I saw no rocks or debris for the entire 18.9K to Banff. Well, okay, there’s one rock as you start out, about 50 metres from the trailhead. So it would be 18.85K that’s rock-free.
The downhills to the bridges were edge-able and safe. After our discussion about the dangerous downhill to the Goat Creek bridge, I took note of the landscape around the entrance to the bridge and while I’m not much of an engineer, it would take some major, expensive excavating to make it safer and I doubt if Banff National Park would give it any priority.
There is a spot on the way down to the bridge where you can bail if you’re in over your head, and I saw many tracks leading into this “crash zone.” Better than ending up in the creek or impaling yourself on the bridge railing.
With recent tracksetting, I was expecting to see some well-defined tracks after the Banff boundary on Goat Creek. It was not to be. After skiing on washed out tracks for 1K, I saw the reason. Ahead of me were three snowshoers and one was walking right on the tracks. After a polite discussion, I had excellent tracks to follow down to the Goat Creek bridge.
Goat Creek had about 3 cm of new snow on top of the recent tracksetting. The skating lane on Spray River West was groomed this morning, and I read on the Banff trail report that Spray River East was trackset today.