Merlin Castle

Merlin Castle. Photo by Chuck. (Click for larger image)

Chuck took the above photos on his trip to Point Camp Meadows, which is somewhere beyond the couch on the Pipestone river.

Giles and Amber try out MaSid’s new couch on the Pipestone river. Photo by Chuck

Included in Chuck’s amazing photos is the mythical creature who breaks trail for some of Chuck’s backcountry exploits. 

Year of the walker

Heritage Guides’ update today contained this gem:

Lake trail (#4): Double trackset ski trail with a separate walking path, Jan. 26. Good condition, but this will not last long as people are attracted to walking in the tracks. 

Lake trail (#4) at Lake Louise

The separate walking path is well-packed and seemingly would be easier and more enjoyable to walk in than trying to fit your boots in the ski tracks.

Seldom a day goes by without a story about people walking in the ski tracks. Today was no different. Mary was on Lake O’Hara fire road and reported this…

“below the 5 km. picnic table, walkers had walked on the uphill tracks.”

Unfortunately it can create a dangerous situation for skiers as Mary discovered on her descent…

“the centre of the road had been trampled by walkers, so the steep sections where snow-plowing is necessary were painfully bumpy, just trying to keep control.” 

Tom also had a report…

“We were at Pipestone today and (for me at least) it was quite challenging snow-plowing down some hills when they are all churned up people walking up/down them. I had a hard time keeping my balance skiing over all of the bumps they created. It’s a accident waiting to happen!!!”

Hikers at Emerald Lake

Yesterday at Emerald Lake, as I was approaching the Alluvial Fan, two hikers were coming my way on a separate trail for walkers and snowshoers. As soon as I passed by, they switched over to my ski trail which had lots of fresh, loose snow. 

I am willing to agree with the conclusion of the Heritage Guides. There is some unexplained attraction to walking in ski tracks. 


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  1. The Parks Canada foldable signs along the trail say something like “Share the trail”. Below it is a schematic of a ski track with separate showshoe and walking trails. The schematic must be confusing, and walkers seem to heed the suggestion of sharing the trail.
    Clearly this is not working. How about signs that say “HIKERS AND SNOWSHOERS: STAY OUT OF THE XC SKI TRACK” or something like that. It’s maybe not as gentle and nice, but grooming is expensive.

  2. Wow photos Chuck. And thanks for continuing to report on his exploits Bob. You may need add another drop down menu titled as such. In other news, there were many Loppet heads to be accounted for at Nipika with -as I’m told, record setting turnout for the classic races. And that wasn’t the only record broken, the 30km challenging (to wax for) course record was also set by a well decorated Olympian (guesses?) Good hosts, great fun, outstanding skiing and spectacular scenery and camaraderie among all -young and young at heart!

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