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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-16-2021, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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Default Minnewanka on Ice

This was the first. In my BC Coast days crossings of frozen Garibaldi lake to Sphinx Bay and Sentinel Bay rank among the best trips I've ever done. Minnewanka is my happy place, but winter crossing on ice is not always a good idea --- about a month ago there was a Rescue of someone that fell through the ice. But after week long of Arctic freeze I was reasonably sure it would be safe. Beauty of a day, sunny and no wind -- although still a bit cold (around -10). Lots of people (Family Day) -- skating on small rinks they cleared off snow or just walking. Thoroughly enjoyed quite unusual scenery, then set of for leisurely crossing to south shore under Mt. Inglismaldie. I never thought I'd actually get to visit this side -- normally you need a boat -- but this was just a leisurely walk of ~40 min or so. Didn't even have snowshoes or full hiking boots. On other side to my surprise found large cairn, and then followed set of snowshoe tracks along south shore all the way back to Lake Minnewanka Road, finishing with walk of about 1.5km back to the parking. Some pics all with pocket camera should have used SLR as conditions were superb:

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[Large crowds on north side -- in all the years I've been coming here, but never saw this]

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[Minnewanka boat platforms -- when season starts they pull them towards the shore; in winter they stay ~half a kilometer in the lake]

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[Sweet, sweet spot looking south towards Inglismaldie. Red Adirondacks used to be here, but Parks pulled them off back to the beach. From here I basically went across the lake roughly center of photo]

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[About halfway across the lake looking east; Inglismaldie right, normal lakeshore trail leading to Aylmer Lookout on the left side]

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[Very little bare ice, surface was mostly covered with ~10cm snow. This was rare occasion where bit of ice sheet was cleared off by the winds]

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[Approaching the south shore; one thing with these frozen lake crossings is that everything looks closer than it really is]

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[South Shore exit -- note tracks made by snowshoe hiker coming off from the right. Large cairn was on the right side just by first trees. I think that drainage could be followed, how far I am not sure]

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[Sun setting behind Cascade Mtn, leaving entire lake in shade. Track in center of photo is mine. For return I walked on extreme left following south shore & reached Lake Minnewanka Road in about 35 min or so]

Finally I must voice large caution sign to anyone reading this post: Crossing of frozen lakes in winter is serious business. Don't do it unless you have experience and are absolutely certain it is completely safe to do so.
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Last edited by zeljkok; 02-16-2021 at 12:57 AM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-23-2021, 09:43 PM
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Looks like a fun outing on a bluebird day! Is it the surrounding alpine that makes it your happy place?
Another new area for me to explore.
I see Lake Minnewanka has some watercraft for rent. Kayaking the shoreline could be interesting.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-23-2021, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you. Not sure what it is exactly, but whole area speaks to me. It is quite touristy being so accessible, but as soon as you move a bit away hordes vanish. Trail runs on north side of the lake all the way to Ghost Lakes & east boundary of BNP, with several back-country campground along the way

If, or when, this pandemic is over & you are again able to visit, go to see Minnewanka if you can. It is near Banff. You can also take boat cruise, basically length of the lake on pic above. It is touristy, but also beautiful.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 03-10-2021, 09:49 PM
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Nice views! The first things that came to my mind reading this were a pair of skis and a kiteboard kite, lol.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-12-2021, 07:57 PM
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Interesting fact, boat platforms.


Hiking is what keeps you young of mind and heart. When the going gets tough, the tough get going..............
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