A friend of ours, Connie Griffiths from Turner Valley, Alberta, invited us to join her for a hike in the Kananaskis Country which is about a hour’s drive west of her home. Six of us eagerly accepted and met her at her place in mid July of 2004.
Before we got there Connie had gone into the area to check and e-mailed us saying I might as well have been in the rainforest last weekend! and to make sure you bring warm jackets for the evenings/early mornings. The temp is usually around 5C. The other note was the weather was abysmal. The trip was starting to sound wonderful!
On Friday, after we passed through Banff, we tuned in a Calgary radio station in time to hear that there were tornados hitting Alberta and that the freeways had been plugged by hail the size of golf balls. On the west coast, we had been having a heat wave, with no rain for weeks. What were we doing going into an area like this?
However Saturday morning was beautiful and we headed up with two trailers carrying the nine llamas and a couple of vans carrying the rest of us to our starting Point at the Mist Creek parking lot.
After a thirteen kilometer hike we made camp in the Mist Creek meadows, a delightful spot with a high ridge running from Mist Mountain to Storm Mountain.
Storm Mountain lived up to it’s name the next afternoon as we had rain and a few flakes of snow. It was quite cold that evening but the next day the weather was gorgeous again.
There is an anomoly in one of the photos of this trip which I cannot explain.
The next day we took a short hike up to a ridge coming off of Storm Mountain. Derry Walsh shows us how steep it is as she leads her two llamas up the hill.
At the top of the ridge, we could see into the next valley which has Mount Rae overlooking Burns Lake with a long waterfall dropping out of the lake. We hiked in to the lake without the llamas a couple of days later.
On the following day we packed up and headed up to Rickert’s Pass which goes through a sharp ridge and then drops down about 1200 feet into a wide valley that has the Sheep River in it.
The trail in the valley is flat, following an old road along the Sheep River and we camped in a grassy meadow where the llamas had some great grazing. In the background is Gibralter Mountain.
We camped for a couple of days in the Sheep River valley and made a day hike up to Burns Lake. There was supposed to be fish in the lake but there was no sign of them when we tossed a fly line in.
Our next campsite was at Rae Lake which is situated in a spectacular valley. The next day was a rest day for the llamas and they grazed happily on a ridge while Janet, Chris and I went over to the Tombstone Lakes to try fishing. We finally managed to get a couple of cutthroat trout for dinner.
After a tiring hike up to the Piper Meadows, Janet is having a rest, as are the llamas.
The next day four of us hiked up a slippery scree slope to the top of Piper Pass and were rewarded with a world-class view.
Brian and Jane Pinkerton
29343 Galahad Crescent
Canada V4X 2E4
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