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Page added on January 19, 2017

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Day Trip to Ghost Lake and Seebee Dam

Day Trip to Ghost Lake and Seebee Dam thumbnail

Although we have had a little bit of cold weather and some snow this winter, there is no reason to stop living. With my wife off to the Philippines for 5 weeks I chose a warm day, loaded up a thermos of steaming coffee and some snacks and headed out on a beautiful Tuesday morning.

Driving west on Highway #1, I decided to cut over to the north, on Morley Road and check out a couple of destinations on Highway #1A. Crossing the bridge over the Bow River at Morley, I was surprised to see so much ice jamming up the river. Considering that winter has barely begun, it could be an interesting spring – bringing back memories of the flooding we had a few years ago.

After crossing the bridge I took Highway 1A west heading towards destination #1. This highway, although snow covered, is not very busy in the winter and allows me to take a relaxing cruise – much different than the suicidal drivers on Highway #1. It even lets me stop along the way when I see something scenic or to take photos of wildlife. This I did many times, as I was not in a hurry. The panic of Christmas had passed and the foolishness of New Years Eve was still a few days away. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day to be alive!

25 km from Morley I arrived at the Seebee Dam on the Bow River. The Seebee Dam was built in 1913 at a point where the Bow and Kananaskis Rivers meet. The dam is operated by Trans-Alta Utilities and is used to generate electricity. The town of Seebee does not exist anymore. Although more spectacular in the spring, the dam is still an awesome sight in the winter with huge piles of ice on it. Happily, I was alone, although a couple of guys stopped by to check the ice conditions for a later climb. Carefully climbing among the rocks, both above and below the falls, I was able to capture the beautiful scenery with a backdrop of the snow covered Rocky Mountains.  Whenever I see such magnificent views, I feel sympathy for those who choose shopping malls and TV as a choice of entertainment. I frequently hear people speak of the beauty that God has given us – but few of them actually get out and enjoy it! Perhaps they just view the pictures and experiences of those who are more inclined to make an effort to see nature – alive and in color!

While basking in the warming sun, snacking on leftover Christmas turkey and chocolates, I thanked the Lord for these and many Blessings He has given me. I thanked Him for getting my wife Ludy to the Philippines and Prayed that He would protect her from the pollution, heat, crime and calamities while she visits her 92 year old Mom and our daughter Stephanie. God is good!

I reluctantly packed up and headed towards my second destination of the day, aware that with our shorter days in winter that it would cool down earlier. I drove slowly east on Highway #1A passing the Morley turnoff again, but staying on 1A. I was surprised to see only one car in the ditch along that whole 40 km stretch and no surprise, it was a Honda. Destination #2, Ghost Lake, made me happy as soon as I arrived. The summer crowds were not there – only about 20 ice fishermen, with maybe a dozen vehicles parked on the frozen lake. For comfort and convenience about 6 of them had erected tents, ice huts or some kind of shelter while they fished through holes drilled in the ice. As Ghost Lake is huge, I was able to spot various snowmobiles, four wheelers and even 4 X 4’s having fun on the lake, doing donuts and sliding around in circles. Even though there is only about 30 cm of ice on the lake this early in the winter, what a feeling it is to walk or drive on “water”. The ice is continually creaking, cracking and heaving so it is not for the faint of heart. It doesn’t scare me a lot as I have been on frozen lakes many times over the years. 10 cm is enough thickness of ice to hold most vehicles so we were not in danger.

With about 30 cm of snow on the ground around the lake and adjacent parking lot, it is entertaining to watch other vehicles stop by on their trips. I always get a chuckle out of those who head to the mountains in the winter – clad in useless running shoes, leather jackets and no toques. They pile out of their vans, take pictures of themselves and 60 seconds later jump back into their van and drive away. No doubt most of their day is spent just driving around looking out the dirty fogged up windows. They will never learn I guess…

I hope you are one of the few who has adapted to Canadian winters and pursues nature – prepared and ambitious enough to get out and experience it firsthand. It is a healthy and economical way to get the most out of life!

Have a great 2017!

Steve Tarzwell


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