The Spray Lakes shake

You’ll know it if you’ve ever driven the road to the lake. A splendid mix of potholes and gravel, with a sprinkling of rocks scattered on a corduroy surface, it is a track to test suspension and loose fillings. My brain is still shaking, like it belongs to an old time hockey enforcer at the end of game seven. Are all routes to lakes like that? Read on for a near miss, and a misspelt curse word.

A trip to the lake is worth taking on a warm day when it is too hot to stay in the city. A reservoir stop in Spray Valley Provincial Park became the end destination as we drove past crowded parking lots closer to Canmore. Cars spilling out at the Grassi Lakes trailhead, and at Goat Creek persuaded us to drive on, never mind the dust and the pinging of rocks underneath.


About twenty minutes past Goat Creek, we turned off the Smith-Dorrien “highway” onto a side road leading down to a parking lot and boat launch. We pulled up under a tree, and couldn’t believe there were only two other vehicles parked – it might have been only one car and I was still seeing double…

…and far

Why so quiet? Was there a bear warning and trail closures? Nope. Well, alright then, and off we went in search of a suitable spot for a picnic. I’m happy enough to lean against a log, or perch on a rock, but lucky us, there were several picnic tables spread along the path overlooking the lake, and they were all empty. IMG_20180527_121542

As the name suggests, Spray Valley is long and wide, the lakes created by a dam, and with a steady breeze rippling the lake, it was very pleasant for a picnic in the shady trees. We spent a lazy couple of hours mooching up and down, admiring the view, eating lunch, and filling in the holes Scout felt she absolutely had to dig. Wondering, but not complaining, about the lack of other people enjoying the immediate surrounds. We saw a couple of canoes and a small fishing boat down on the lake. A family stopped to walk their dog for a few minutes further up the shore, and then left. Two cyclists were startled by Scout, believing her to be a bear at first sight, but they pedalled on, reassured to see she was a friendly wolf.

Digging it

As much as we’d have liked to stay all day, we had an important appointment to keep at the Canmore Brewing Company. We headed back to Canmore, offering up a prayer of thanks when a speeding red truck sliding around a bend narrowly missed us, and the spray of gravel didn’t put a chip in our new windshield. I have a limited reservoir of patience for dam fools in racing pick ups. Let us spray he made it down to the lake without incident, and perhaps with a little less pedal to the metal. Yikes…

Take your time, it’ll still be here

A pleasant afternoon, quiet, as hoped for, and a destination definitely worth going the extra bumpy mile or so.

Parked up on the dam road, dusty, but remarkably chip and ding-free – phew

Oh, I almost forgot – and I’m sure you wanted to know – yes, the Railway Avenue Rye IPA and the Ten Peaks Pale Ale were excellent. I’ll have to let you know about the stout, and the brown ale another time.

Later that day…

Thanks for reading, 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...

16 thoughts on “The Spray Lakes shake”

  1. I just got back from Canmore last week. I got there on Sunday of the long Victoria Day weekend and was surprised by the amount of traffic. We took a sunset drive along Spray Lake hoping to see some wildlife. We saw some mountain sheep but that was about it. Sure is a beautiful area.


    1. Canmore does get busy – I prefer it to the madness that can be Banff – and we always aim to arrive early if we’re in the town. The area out and about is spectacular, and quieter spots are there if you push on a little further. It’s all those day trippers from Calgary – like me!
      Thanks for reading, and I hope your weekend is going well.


  2. Rocky bone-rattling roads like that, replete with dam fool speedsters going in the opposite direction, lead to paradisal lakes and points of inspiration, with a little bit of luck and fortitude. You guys did it and we thank you for a share of very pretty pictures, too. As for the Canmore items– you’ve got me thirsty, man.


    1. Thanks, Walt! I’m happy we bought the beer after the rocky roads – could have been very explosive.
      When I was a young yahoo, I was probably a fool behind the wheel, but I liked my cars enough to look after the undercarriage, and could never have afforded serious repairs caused by racing on gravel tracks. I guess some people really do have more money than sense…
      Hope your weekend has been a good one, and you found a beer or two to slake that thirst!


  3. I’m so glad you didn’t miss that important appointment…haha. Loved your descriptions and photos of this glorious day out in the wilderness, pc. You had a tricky way of building up the suspense here, so that I, like the cyclists on your trail, thought a bear was around the corner. Great post, enjoyed it a lot.


    1. Thanks, Jet, glad you enjoyed this one! Nope, no bears so far this season – that’s probably a good thing. The biggest threat was tripping over a hole Scout thought needed digging, almost turned an ankle. There’s a bit of sled dog in her mix, so maybe she’d have pulled me out on a travois?
      Hope you’re having a good weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Was there an outfitter in that area? I went on a trail ride from Spray Lakes once up Brewster Creek to Half-way lodge. That is a tantalizing peak at the lake. It looks pretty. It is worth the bumpy ride.Your comment about windshield chips reminded me of the time I drove my car along a gravel road and came up against some idiot driving one of those over-sized pick -up trucks and spinning his wheels when he came to a sharp turn. Crack! Not pleased. It was so nice to be out in the country as long as I kept the windows rolled up against the onslaught of the dust as I explored the sites at the end of those roads. I loved the freedom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s nothing like driving and exploring the back roads (provided you aren’t dinged by some maverick truck racing past!)
      I don’t know anything about trail riding in this valley, but it would be lovely to ride up above and get the views down and across. For me, the trip would have to be less than a half day – I’m not an experienced rider, and horses seem to know!
      Thanks, Jane, and I hope you are having a good weekend.


    1. We’ve yet to spot a bear this season, but when we do, hopefully it’ll be at a good distance!
      As a teacher, I can never abide excuses for not doing homework…
      Hope your weekend is going well!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Absolutely beautiful photos and what a wonderful escape from the city and people! It’s amazing that you only encountered a few people and thankfully no bears. Love the photo of Scout digging it, but my favorite is the chip and ding-free Jeep. After watching all of this fantastic hockey, it’s lucky that the pickup driver caused no damage or you might have discovered another hockey enforcer trait. Another great game last night and maybe if Ovechkin keeps scoring the first goal of the game the Capitals will win the series (I might be changing my mind about a seven game series). Glad to see you made it to your important appointment with excellent results.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It was a welcome break from the heat of the city. I’m always happy to see a bear, and so far, our sightings have always been at a reasonable distance, or they’ve heard us and are going in the opposite direction. Would never want to surprise one! None yet this year…
      Yup, it’s important to us to keep appointments!
      As for the hockey, normally I love a game seven, but now the Caps have a series lead, let’s hope they can get it finished…(why do I keep risking a jinx?!)
      Hope you’re having a pleasant weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

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