Local Adventures: Hiking Jura Creek

It’s a long weekend in Canada and so with neither work nor school for anyone on Monday we skipped off to the mountains for some nordic-style fun in the alpine climate.

We travel out there quite often. To relax. To hike. To just be somewhere beside home.

And we always try to squeeze in at least one hike, though hiking in the winter is often a bit more challenging than hiking in the summer.

The week before we left town I hunted down three pairs of crampons, over the shoe ice spikes with steel grips two centimetres deep and enough grip to walk us up any icy path the tourist-grade hiking scene could throw at us.

So we bundled up, packed some snacks and water, stuffed a couple cameras in my backpack, and drove about fifteen klicks out of Canmore to an off-the-beaten-path trailhead for Jura Creek.

In the summer, I assume, Jura Creek is a flowing mountain creek washing down the side of a mountain. The creek bed, frozen during out visit, made for a great short day hike in winter. We hiked up through the water channel, climbing up and over a few small rocks and then out into an open vista with views of the mountains around us.

Jura Creek is apparently named for the false “jurassic” fault line that greets anyone who is able to hike the approximately four klick gradual climb to the first waypoint. As it turns out it is neither a fault line nor appropriately attributable to the jurassic era. Instead, the rock formations which resemble an exposed fault are something else entirely, including a layer of ash from some ancient volcano. It was still pretty, though.

We made the round trip, grateful as always to be back at our car, and refuelled back in town with some local amber-coloured recovery fluid.

Check it out if you’re ever in Canmore.

Suburban Ski Day

A sunny Sunday afternoon in January was the perfect day to go check out a few kilometers of trails through a local green (winter white) space in the Edmonton suburbs.

I thought Sundays were for run days, you ask?

That too.

But with my knee-hab progressing at the snails pace that injured ligaments are wont to do, I made my rounds at the gym this morning logging some klicks on the stationary bike then logging a couple klicks of running intervals on the treadmill and…

Those ski trails through the vast swath of snow in the utility corridor were calling.

By chance we live near a utility corridor. There are at least two of these in the city that run laterally, east to west, across the suburbs. About fifty meters wide and spanning the width of the whole city, ish, their purpose is to leave some big open space to run transmission powerlines or major infrastructure without going over, around or through homes. And since there only a minimal day-to-day danger associated with well constructed infrastructure, the utility corridors become huge greenspaces where the only development that can legally occur is an asphalt path or an unfixed trash bucket.

If you live right up against one of these corridors (and many people do) you are, of course, dealing with the generally unsightly view of massive power transmission towers out your back window.

If (instead, like me) you live just a few blocks away, you are less bothered by the view but still close enough to walk to a place where long straight asphalt trails make great running paths or groomed ski trails emerge mysteriously in the winter and stretch for kilometers upon kilometers of gently rolling straightaways.

We parked in the recreation centre parking lot adjacent to where the ski trails passed and hopped aboard, exploring for an hour of exhausting skiing on a Sunday afternoon.

My knee was a bit tender from my morning workout, but in the end it was a perfect day for some low-impact outdoor sport, and a bit of suburban skiing adventure, too.

adventure dog adventure

This may seem a bit silly, but I started editing together little one minute videos of my dog and posting them on Youtube.

We go for a long walk, explore some trails, capture some 4k footage on my phone or go pro camera.

I have a couple of these that I did with my last dog but I regret not taking more video of her when she was still around.

The thing is, people seem to like them.

Most videos I post get a few dozen views from friends or family.

These have crept into the 1000s.

Such as, our adventure walk through the snowy local river valley:

Or, the new one I posted earlier today about a wandering adventure through some local suburban trails:

I know she’s cute, but the interest has caught me off guard a little bit.

… in a good way, of course!

Check them out and tell me what you think. Cute dogs are an easy sell online? Or are people suddenly vibing for some dog-meets-world video fun?

Public Service Announcement: Ski Trails Aren’t Walking Trails

To be clear, everything that follows is NOT about either an inflated feeling of entitlement or a misperception of my rights. Public parks are public places for everyone to enjoy.


But imagine a huge suburban field covered in snow.

After a long winter, that field will almost always be crisscrossed with trails of various sorts. People of all ages trudge through the snow and make walking paths. Animals run into the crisp snowfall and tramp down courses. A maintenance vehicle might drive through to clear a path or empty trash. And skiers lay tracks that are groomed by repeated use into great recreational loops.

Yet, even after a months-long winter these paths need rarely cross.

Walking paths can pack and trace to useful places like benches, sledding hills, ice rinks.

Ski trails can loop and whorl away from the walking trails.

Even with almost no planning or coordination, the two uses of this space need never interfere with each other and still but a mere fraction of the field of snow be disturbed.

So, it was a little upsetting that after a week of work to cut, groom, regroom, use, groom yet again, and eventually make into a useful ski trail…. that someone decided to use that trail as a walking path and crush the effort that myself and other local cross-country skiers had put into building our trails.

Again, we’re not entitled to respect of those trails, but it has long been an unspoken courtesy that unless it is unavoidable or has cut through a high traffic area, you DON’T walk on ski trails.

Walk on the walking paths.

Ski on the skiing paths.

And we all get along.

There’s no sign. There’s no law. There’s no one to yell and say ‘no’ when someone does this. There’s no tit-for-tat revenge plot. There’s nothing at all whatsoever stopping someone from doing this.

It’s just kinda rude and frustrating. Unneighbourly.

Thanks for understanding.