This past weekend the weather was phenomenal. Looking to get out in nature, Nick, Lexton and I went hiking and we were joined by a good friend of mine from university named Amanda. Charlotte had to unfortunately had to finish up a project for work that is due on Monday so she couldn’t make it. The day started with meeting Nick at his house at 1030 in the morning. When then drove to Canmore, if you take the first exit into Canmore, you can take highway 1A into Canmore. Instead we turned left onto highway 1A and drove past the Elk Run industrial Park. A few hundred meters further down there is an inconspicuous road that leads up to the Alpine Club. We took that road and followed it road and up a way where we found parking on the side of the road. The trail-head is oddly straight off this road and there isn’t really parking unless you’re a member of the Alpine club, but most people were just parking along the side of the road.
We missed the technical trail-head when we started but there are so many trails on the hill that it can get a little confusing as to which trail you’re actually on. I think we only touched the technical Horse Shoe Loop a handful of times and I am not sure we actually followed the trail for any significant amount of time. The views were spectacular though and its a great little area to explore. The trail system is on the side of a mountain but there were surprisingly few steep areas. You did get amazing views of the Three Sisters mountain peaks which are directly across the valley.
The weather itself was a bit strange. On the south side of the valley it was clearly snowing over the Three Sisters peaks. However it mainly stopped somewhere in the middle of the valley. On our side of the valley the skies had moments where they were covered in clouds but most of the day was sunny. There were a couple of minutes where the snow made it to our side of the valley but nothing more. The trails were a mixture of muddy and dry. There was only two areas where the snow had not yet melted. In one section using spikes was required but the other I wouldn’t say required but they definitely helpful. I might be quick to put my spikes on though because I am worried about falling with my camera.
The zoologist in me is always hopeful about the opportunity to see wildlife on these short hikes. I didn't think we would see any as we weren't exactly quiet. A group of friends chatting about life is not the quietest around usually. Surprisingly we almost walked straight into a herd of Mule deer. Amanda was at the front and we were chatting when a mule deer darted out the bush about 6 feet in front of her. Unfortunately I didn't have a long lens on my camera and the deer camouflaged quite well in the mottled light of the woodland so I wan't able to get a photo. Little Lex, Nick's little two year old was fascinated by the deer though and was very cute as he pointed at the deer and made noises.
Wandering around the pathways halfheartedly trying to find out way back to the official Horse Shoe Loop gave us a chance to get a decent 6.5 km’s under our belt. I am happy with that as a decent season starting point. It wasn’t too strenuous but was great fun and provided lots of great lookouts to take photos. I did quite enjoy the opportunity to get out and there were some great views but it wasn’t a hike that wows you. This hike would be great seasonally when you can get some really cool weather making its way through the valley. If that is your goal though, I would seriously keep an eye on the weather channels. I didn’t take my tripod this time since I didn’t want to lug it around without knowing if I would use it. I don’t think I would have used it for this excursion but I think if you get a cool storm moving through, using a tripod and taking a time-lapse could look incredible. Something to think about for next time though.
I ended the trip by going into Canmore and picking up a great hot chocolate from Beamers coffee bar before taking a slow drive back.
I hope you have a great week!