There were ominous clouds in the sky as we headed west on Highway 40 from Longview into Kananaskis Country. We didn't have a reserved spot or really a firm destination in mind, but as we headed along Kananaskis Lakes trail past "campground full" signs we decided to grab the first available spot, both to be sure we had one and to get the tent set up before it rained on us.
Mount Serrail campground was the first that didn't have a full sign. It's "walk in" but many of the sites are a few hundred steps from the parking lot. Fees were $12, I believe. We picked a lovely spot on a hill, with a great view to (I suspect) Mt. Serrail.
We were able to get the tent up without getting drenched, and then headed out to explore the area and pick a spot for sunset. We had rain on and off all afternoon, but still had a great time exploring the sights along highway 40. A drive through the Interlakes campground almost took parts off of the undercarriage of the van - the speedbumps there are definitely designed for 4x4s. Frankly I don't know how some of the trailers parked there managed to get out.
The stormy weather added interest to the midday photos.
We'd spent some time at the visitor center in the late afternoon taking advantage of the free wifi after a few days of being totally offline. After some further exploring we settled on Wedge Pond for a quick picnic for dinner and for sunset. The little Coleman stove and the necessity of keeping the food in the van was proving invaluable.
I learned another new technique at Wedge Pond - that when using a fish eye, centering the horizon eliminates the distortion at the wide end.
We didn't know it at the time, but these storms dumped hail and snow on the foothills. We were in for a chilly but mostly dry night. It wasn't hard to get up and moving in the morning, as the temp had dropped to 3C and we were all a little cold. Mt. Serrail campground is only a few minutes from Upper Kananaskis Lake, our chosen sunrise spot. And it was a lovely morning for photography. The skies had mostly cleared for us, the sun lit the tops of the peaks, we found low lying fog on Lower Kananaskis Lake. And then we found Starbuck's at the Delta Lodge.
Because we did have a reserved spot in Banff, we took our time getting there. We drove the Smith Dorian/Spray Lakes Road to Canmore. This is a gorgeous drive despite being gravel all the way. It's usually a great drive for wildlife spotting, which was still high on my list for the trip. Sadly, the only wildlife we encountered were some beautiful big horns right at the Canmore reservoir.