Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Abraham Lake + Crescent Falls - Winter vs. Summer

Several months ago now we made it out to see something I’ve been excited about for a few years, and it was everything I hoped for!

On a random Saturday morning we left home bright and early with the desire to make the most of our day in the mountains since it’s over 3 hours each way. Ryan and I had been to Abraham Lake about 3 times before and it’s been beautiful each time, but what I was after this time was the frozen bubbles.

If you’ve never heard of frozen bubbles before I wouldn’t be surprised. I've never heard of this anywhere else and every picture I’ve seen is at Abraham Lake. This strange and beautiful sight is caused by dead organic matter (leaves and animals) falling into the water and sinking to the bottom where bacteria can eat it and create methane gas.

If you are interested in finding it for yourself, there are only a few spots on the lake where the bubbles appear and you’ll probably know where that is because of how many other cars and people are there. If you plan to arrive before the crowds you’ll want to look for “Windy Point” which has no signs but does come up on Maps and is, unsurprisingly, extremely windy. I guess this information isn't terribly helpful at the moment, but there is always next winter!

As previously stated, it was pretty obvious once we arrived that this was the place. Plenty of people were around, all with heads down and cameras out, just as pleased as we were to have finally found the spot. The ice is some of the clearest I’ve seen and gives the illusion of walking on water, except when you step on a patch of bubbles.

During the same trip we visited Crescent Falls. I've been many times before but never in winter and I was curious about whether the fall would be frozen; it was.

In stark contrast, we've just been to visit again and it's a whole different world. Abraham Lake is Alberta's largest man-made lake, created by the building of the Bighorn dam in the 1970's. Because of the dam the lake depth fluctuates quite significantly between seasons and this year is was the lowest I've personally seen. We only spent a short time there during our trip but we were able to drive out to a point that is usually under water and therefore get a slightly new perspective.

Again, we made Crescent Falls part of the same trip due to its close proximity. I managed to convince everyone to hike to the bottom of the fall with me this time since no one would in the winter and it was much more fun. If you've ever considered going down but didn't like the look of the trail, just remember that I got a 6 year old down and up again without incident.

I took the aforementioned 6 year old as close as you can go to the base of the waterfall without getting your shoes wet and she screamed in delight that this was the most amazing thing she had ever seen. And that pure joy was one of the most amazing things I've seen.

Which do you prefer, Summer or Winter in the mountains?

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