Between the rain and the snow…

…a chance to have a final paddle before winter really takes hold.

Being almost outdoorsy, we’ve hiked around Emerald Lake, snowshoed and skied over the frozen surface in winter, but we’ve never been out on the blue-green water. Last weekend, feeling adventurous, we hired a canoe – and what good timing! It was the last couple of hours the outfitters were going to be open and renting canoes for this season. We really left it to the last minute…

dscf3852On Saturday, the forecast was for snow and more snow in Yoho. Above the tree line that was certainly true, but where we were staying, down in Field, we received rain and more rain. Freezing rain, rain that said drop your notions of paddling, and stay in front of the fire instead. So we did.

On the water, blue skies, and it’s not freezing
Sunday, the rain stopped, and skies were blue, with a few large clouds floating down the valley. Friendly clouds, the sort that weren’t carrying snow (or rain), and the temperature rose a few degrees above freezing. As much as we love cabins, there can be too much fire time, so we dressed in layers and made the short trip to Emerald Lake.

Expecting a busy parking lot, we were surprised to see few cars, and happy enough to watch two busloads of visitors depart just as we arrived. I know, I’m such a misery. Anyway, after a stroll around the lake and a picnic lunch in a sunny spot, we decided just above freezing is plenty warm enough to take out a canoe. Didn’t want to miss out and wait over six months for the next chance…

A sense of scale (spot the canoe)
With calm conditions, the paddling was enjoyable, and seeing the slopes from the lake offered different perspectives and a sense of scale. We’re so small, as I always seem to say after a mountain stay. Quiet off the water, and quiet on the water, save for the small splash of a paddle and the ripples we created. Generally speaking, I’m against making unnecessary waves, but these were okay.

Please don’t make waves
Thanksgiving weekend, with the rain stopped, clearer skies, some warm(ish) sunshine, and floating across an emerald lake  – it’s not always calm waters, but we had plenty to be thankful for right then – and right now.

Heading back
As we clambered out of the canoe and slipped off our life vests, the wind picked up, and a few flakes of snow began to fall. Good timing! That’s about the end of paddling for us this season, but with the snow beginning to fly up top, and the white stuff steadily heading down the mountain along with dropping temperatures, there are plenty more different outdoor delights to be looking forward to. We’ll squeeze in a few late fall hikes, but I’ll admit it, it’s the snow I’m looking forward to!

dscf3845Thanks for reading. Please feel free to share a story or leave a comment, and have a wonderful weekend!

Published by


I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

23 thoughts on “Between the rain and the snow…”

  1. That was indeed good timing. I’m glad that you were able to get out on the water. I’ve not been on the water in couple of years now. I keep meaning to see about renting a kayak or canoe at one of my favorite parks here, but have yet to get to it. Seems like a good idea for my next camping trip, though. Have a beautiful weekend.


    1. Oh yes! Paddling and camping, just about the perfect getaway! With your photography skills, I imagine you’d capture some great shots, so I hope you can get on the water!
      Thanks, and have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A fantastic read, pc. Absolutely breathtaking place to be, thank you for sharing it with us. I can imagine how profound it must have been to be canoeing here with the towering mountains, and the perspective photo really drives that home. I chuckled at “we decided just above freezing is plenty warm enough” and was not surprised that few people were in the parking lot. Fun that you got in the last few hours before seasonal closure. The adventurous spirit you and Mrs. pc have is inspiring….


    1. Thanks, Jet! I have to admit, it was mostly cabin fever that convinced us it wasn’t too cold to paddle! Also, I was (pleasantly) surprised at how that photo revealed the scale – it’s almost overwhelming when you are there, so it was nice that a small photograph of one part of the lake helped get a sense of that.
      We hope you have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Last weekend we drove through 10 cm of snow on an unplowed road to Maligne Lake near Jasper. Saw some kayakers enjoying the last paddle of their season. We stayed on shore to enjoy the beauty. Your photos of Emerald Lake really capture its quality and allure.


    1. How wonderful to be able to get to Maligne Lake after some fresh snowfall! It is a beautiful lake, but it must have been cold on the water last week. We paddled there one July, and away from the shore was pretty chilly, even on a sunny day…
      I hope you have a great weekend!


  4. Beautiful photos and it sounds like it was a wonderful day and perfect timing…..showing up people are leaving, ha….my favorite kind of situation, and then packing it up when the snow was starting…..perfect!


  5. Stunning photography, with a lot to be thankful for in such a quiet place. That paddle with a temperature just above the freezing point must have been jaw-dropping (if not teeth chattering) experience… Well done, PC.


    1. Thanks, Walt! We’re fair weather paddlers most of the time, but it was hard to resist last week, temperatures be damned. (Probably helped that we had a bottle or two of Imperial stout waiting for us back at base…)
      Have a great weekend!


  6. Gorgeous photos (especially that last shot) and what an amazing spot for the last paddle of the year. I can understand paddling through rain or snow for the opportunity to be surrounded by such beauty. Wonderful post and have a good weekend!


    1. We certainly got lucky with the little weather window and the timing! Emerald Lake is a lovely place in any weather, but we couldn’t have stayed out on the water too much longer that day – so we’re happy enough to have experienced it, and now, bring on the snow! (I know, that’s counter to your hopes of a long warm fall and a few days of snow in late December!)
      Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely captures from Emerald Lake, my favourite spot in the Rockies. I will admit I haven’t been on the lake during summer, as you I have hiked around during summer and on it during winter but for some reason never went out with a canoe. We should have done it before it was to late:)


    1. That’s funny – thanks Wayne! I think I’d much rather have taken a paddle and portage test for getting CDN citizenship than all the paperwork nonsense…
      Hope it’s drying up for you out on the coast!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, I’ve just visited you as well! Thank you my friend. Spring has arrived, you’re right, but today the weather seems to have reverted to winter!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s