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UNPLUG AND UNWIND AT MOUNT ENGADINE LODGE

Author: Travel Alberta

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No schedule, no distractions, the kids are with the grandparents. We can hardly believe we've managed to get away for a couple of days. Freed from cyberspace, my husband has already found entertainment in the meadow beyond our bedroom. I immediately think of how much the children would delight in the moose he's just spotted, but I pick up the camera instead of the mobile phone.

Our gracious hosts at Mount Engadine Lodge in Kananaskis Country help us plan the day's hiking while we indulge in a sumptuous breakfast of omelettes, local sausage, baked goods and fresh orange juice. Armed with a hearty picnic lunch we set off on our day's adventures.

Classic Hike in Kananaskis Country

We drive a short distance surrounded by giants: Buller Mountain, Mount Nestor and Mount Shark. The Grassi Lakes trailhead leads us on a gradual climb through aromatic lodge pole pine toward a marked viewpoint for Ha Ling Peak, Rundle Canal and the mountain town of Canmore. A little further up, the aquamarine Grassi Lakes dazzle us. We discover a thousand-year-old pictograph of a man and caribou on a nearby boulder. Meanwhile, sport climbers dangle from the pocketed limestone crag high above us, with a pair of golden eagles wheeling on the updrafts against a clear blue sky.

The sound of a nearby waterfall replaces conversation. We descend via Oregon Trail and find a perfect spot for our picnic lunch.

Whitewater Watching

That afternoon, we parked beside the Kananaskis River, where we saw a small group of paddlers carrying compact, brightly coloured kayaks. We rushed down some steps to watch them launch off a tree-lined cliff, one by one. I muffled a squeal as the first kayaker hurled herself into the rushing water below but it soon became obvious this was routine for them. A riverside trail allowed us to follow the paddlers. We'd stop to watch them surf a rapid and continue on to the next.

Backcountry Bliss

We returned to the lodge and indulged in a blissful half hour in the wood-fired sauna. After a fine home-cooked meal, we were treated to an intimate concert, part of the Music in the Meadow series offered each summer.

We spent our last morning snuggled up together on the wrap-around deck, watching elk, deer and more moose traverse the meadow. Lounging in our backcountry retreat, we felt completely rested and reconnected as a couple.

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