Sounds painful, but it really wasn’t. This piece includes a Western (Canada) tale about a man who is tall in the saddle. Or a man telling tall tales. And there’s a saddle.

dscf4309We were on the Saddleback trail a little while ago, and it is a fine place to be. Searching for some outdoor peace on a crowded January weekend near Lake Louise, we watched where most folks were heading from the parking lot, and then went in the opposite direction. We are wily PlaidCampers…

That was a good decision. The Saddleback is a bridle trail in warmer months, and they can sometimes be very muddy and rutted for hikers. In the winter though, they are often wonderful snowshoe trails, and so it proved to be along the Saddleback. The snow was deep on either side of the path, but previous snowshoers had created an easy enough set of tracks to follow – I know, we are contrary PlaidCampers, wanting a quiet trail but happy enough to benefit from previous users. Contrary? Or wily?

dscn7413With the narrow track winding through tall trees, there was an almost tunnel like effect at times, with branches overhanging the trail and dumping clumps of heavy snow if we disturbed the dangling limbs. Dump clump? Well, alright! Ahem. The heavy blanket muffled most noise, so there was a real stillness and quiet to the forest.

dscn7388Plodding along and enjoying the walk, I got to thinking about taking a trail ride in the summer. Would I enjoy it? The few horses I’ve ever ridden always appear to have a tremendous time. They’ll take a route under the lowest boughs, and close to rough trunks simply to see if I can hang on. I can. Last time out, I slipped just a little in the saddle. Or from the saddle. My butt was lower than my knees but I think that’s a riding style. A slight twist on side saddle? Definitely didn’t fall off. It’s not falling off if you don’t touch the ground.

dscn7399Maybe I’ll stick to hiking. Supposing I’m out riding on a narrow mountain path and we meet a bear? The horse would rear up, I’d fall off – the last couple of feet or so, being close to the ground already – and then there’d be headlines. Nope, sticking to hiking. I’m a wily (and news shy) old PlaidCamper.

dscf4306We enjoyed the Saddleback, and would take it again. It’s a quiet spot in a sometimes crowded part of Banff National Park. Recommended, certainly in winter, and if you’re a brave soul, perhaps you’d enjoy it on a horse in the summer?

Thanks for reading this tall (short?) tale from the trail. As always, please feel free to share a story or comment, and have a wonderful weekend!



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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...

20 thoughts on “Saddleback”

  1. The Saddleback trail I know goes from Lake Louise to the “saddle” between Mt Fairview and Saddleback. It’s certainly not a bridle trail and only an idiot would traverse its avalanche slopes in winter. So where is the trail you’re writing about? I’m always on the lookout for a good, little-used trail for snowshoeing.


  2. Beautiful photos. Walking in deep snow with clumps coming down is hard! I commend you on your little trek in the wilds. I remember as a youngster going to that part of the world and my goodness the crowds! Just as bad as Yosemite and I hate Yosemite for that reason. I have always wanted to go back and definitely to see Lake Louise without the crowds but in the dead of winter? Nah. Horses and I get along superbly but I am very in tuned with them, too much, so it is often hard to relax! I hope to take my grandson on a trail ride in the high country this summer, we’ll see if I can leave that sensitivity at home. Enough of my little stories….. Have a wonderful weekend!


    1. A trail ride with your grandson in the high country sounds like a wonderful adventure – it’ll be summer eventually!
      Thanks for sharing your stories, I always enjoy hearing from you, and have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is beautiful all through that area. You are braver than me, taking a ride up to the tea house – although there is an attraction in having the horse do the hard yards…
      I hope your week is off to a good start!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This enchanted winter forest looks like a grand place for a wily plaid-dressed coyote sort to avoid the crowds and do some one-on-one with nature’s beauty. Thanks for sharing another walk with us. I’ll bet getting up in the saddle there in summertime would be wildly inspirational, too!


    1. Thanks, Walt – it is a fine place to be, and when you can avoid the crowds, all is well. If I thought a horse could carry me away from summer hordes, I might be tempted…
      I hope your week is off to a good start!


  4. If you do ever to go Horse back riding,do this…… a few apples,cut them up into quarters,rub your hands with the juice before you meet tour horse. Let it smell your hands.It’ll know you’ve recently had apples & it’s ears will perk up! Give it a slice.
    When your riding & it answers to your wishes,lean on it’s neck & reach forward with another snack.I can guarantee you that horse will do everything you want from that point on!


    1. Thanks for the tip, Wayne – and if I ever get back on a horse, you can be sure I’ll give the apple trick a go. I need all the help I can get…
      I hope your week is off to a good start!


      1. got out today. We got some snow last night & it broke in the afternoon.This week is going to be poor at best for getting out,so I dressed warm & headed out.All the Swans are defiantly gone & in full migration. Nobody else around except my eagle friends.


      2. Might be quiet on the wildlife front, but it’s still beautiful – quietly beautiful!
        Saw you had some snow there the past little while. We’ve had a fair dump here, and temperatures have dropped. Makes the city look pretty, anyhow…
        Enjoy your week, and I hope you can get out!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. What an absolutely gorgeous spot and I love the tunnel like photos. Enjoyed your latest adventure and I can’t imagine being the first person through that path on snowshoes. I doubt I would survive that experience any better than the shock of encountering a bear on a mountain path. Beautiful photos and have a great weekend!


    1. We really did enjoy our little trek, and I’m glad you enjoyed reading about it. We were out on snowshoes again this past weekend, and discovered snow on the leeward side of the mountains is easier to make new paths in than on the west side. Fluffy vs sticky. So sad that I even know that…
      I hope your week is off to a fine start!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello Plaid Camper – thank you for the post. The photos are picture perfect – such an abundance of snow – absolutely beautiful.

    Have a great rest of the week-end and a great week.


    1. Hello Pandora – I’m glad you enjoyed the post this week. Our little corner of Canada makes snapping a photo or two easy and enjoyable (it helps that trees and mountains can’t escape from my slow photographic skills!)
      I hope your week is off to a great start!


  7. I’ve so missed your posts, your words and stunning pics, taking me into your cold beautiful world. My daughter would undoubtedly enjoy this trek on horseback. Have a great week ahead.


    1. Hi Miriam, it’s lovely to hear from you and I hope all is well. Apologies, as I’ve been very negligent with catching up on favourite blogs the past few weeks – over work and a spell of poor health has slowed me down. Excuses, excuses…
      Rest assured, as soon as a little time becomes available, I’ll be over to Out’n’About to read what I’ve been missing.
      Thanks for visiting and commenting, and I hope your week is off to a fine start!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey PC there’s really no need to apologise, life gets busy for all of us. I hope you’re feeling better now. It’s always a pleasure to read your posts and see your beautiful scenery. My week’s off to a fairly good start, hope yours is as well.


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