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Peaceful animal encounters in Kananaskis Country

View from inside a Jeep into the Dorien Spray ValleyWe had a week vacation. And we used it among other things to acquire a used vehicle.  We are now proud owners of a Jeep Wrangler. Now we finally have a truck, which allows us to approach remote areas on gravel roads without bad conscience and clenched teeth. On the other hand, we are also better equipped for the winter conditions in Waterton. Our first trip was in the Kananaskis Country. Also known as K-Country, the recreational area is located southeast of the Banff National Park, west of Calgary and is still an insider tip in the Canadian Rockies.

In Canmore, at the northern edge of the Kananaskis Country and close to the touristy area of Banff, we started our trip along the Smith-Dorrien Spray Trail. Coyote on a snow covered roadThe first part of this 60-kilometer long gravel road winds into a valley enclosed by steeply rising mountains. It is about noon and the sun shines from the south and enlightened the valley. The gravel road is covered with packed snow and our Jeep feels drives over it very easily. It's wonderful. We went not far when suddenly about 300 meters in front of us something moved towards us. It was a coyote. We stopped and he came pretty fast up to 20 meters of us. Then he turned into the woods and 10 meters behind us back on the road and continued his walk.

A little further there was a car on the opposite lane, next to a large animal. Frank decelerated, the braking distance on the snow slope, on which was approximately five centimeters loose snow is rather long, we are after all, with about 70 km/h on the road. There was a moose standing next to the car, licking salt from the body. After watching for a while, Frank went out to take pictures; he approached the moose cow up to 15 meters. She seemed to be cautious but not bothered and even checked out our truck how it tasted. Maybe we shouldn’t have bought a green vehicle, could be seen as fresh green grass.

Moose on Spray Trail from Delfinder on Vimeo.

Kananaskis Village

K-Country is a conglomerate of various Provincial Parks. Throughout the area, which is about 100 kilometers long and 35 kilometers wide, exists just one paved road, Highway 40. Otherwise, there are a few dirt roads. The longest is the Smith-Dorrien Spray Trail. In the whole area there is only one village, the Kananaskis Village. It is located on Highway 40, which runs north-south through the park. Village, however, is slightly exaggerated, since it consists only of a hotel complex with several buildings, a golf course and a post office. The latter is the reason that the place may be called "Village".

In the various Provincial Parks in Kananaskis Country, there are lots of hiking trails, camping and picnic areas. However most of them are closed during the winter months. Many gravel roads will be closed from December 1st, as well as Highway 40. This road is then only accessible from the north. The southern section will be closed.

Additional information