I hope you're having a great start to the week and that your weekend was phenomenal. For our adventure this week we decided to take a hike...I know, you never would have guessed that right? ;)
This week we decided to go to try something different and hit up Rae Glacier. We headed out on Sunday this week, the weather said there was a 30% chance of rain that would total less than a millimetre...this was a mistake. But we will get to that. Most of us took full raincoats just in case but some of us only took some running gear that wasn't designed for anything heavier than a light drizzle.
When we left Calgary there was no rain. The sky was overcast but nothing more. Once we reached Longview Alberta the rain started. Mind you it wasn't much more than a drizzle, but when you're driving down the road, the water hitting the windshield is always worse than if you were standing outside, so we didn't think much of it. In fact about 20 minutes outside of Longview we past a car on the side of the road that looked like at one point it might have been a Toyota Rav4. When I say might have been, I mean that it could no longer be called that because laying next to the car just a little further into the ditch was the bloated body of a very large moose. Since we always drive with Walkie-talkies in the car, it gave us something to chat about for a bit while we continued on to the trailhead.
As we drove on there were patches, particularly around the Highwood Pass area, where the rain came down a lot heavier than the drizzle we all expected but it never lasted long and then we were back to the expected drizzle. We probably should have seen these pockets of rain as a sign of whats to come but I think we were all just excited to get out and go for a hike. When we arrived at the trailhead, the weather could barely be called a drizzle, although it was a bit chilly. Most of us put on our second layer and some of us got out rain coats out just in case.
The trail starts out steep-ish. Nothing too serious, certainly not as steep as some of the other hikes we have done previously. *cough* Picklejar Lakes *cough*. It was definitely steep enough for us to notice it first thing in the morning though. After about 4 hundred meters some of us had to remove some layers from under the rain coats. We then continued on. There was a little stream that crossed the trail which, at this point is quite wide and well maintained. Before it crossed the trail though it ran parallel with the trail for a little bit. That's where i was able to get this shot that I am very happy with.
At about the 1.5-2 kms point you will hit Elbow Lake. It was pretty quiet by the time when got there. I think we had only seen one other group. The trail forks left and right and depending on which side you take, you could continue on a number of other hikes. We took the right fork and headed through the campground on wards to Rae Glacier. The trail takes you through some lovely forested around and in the damp of the day the forest smelled unbelievable. It was a great break from the smokiness of the last several weeks. I know this page is called Woodsmoke and Sunsets but there is a difference between a small bonfire where you get to relax and wildfire level of smoke from many kilometres away that hangs around for many weeks and makes your eyes and throat burn. It was a pleasant break to have clear air again.
Slowly after leaving the camp ground, you make your way to a rocky dry riverbed. We were very careful to keep our eyes open for trail markers and as long as you do that, you should have no issues following the trail. The trail then follows this up a hill with spectacular views of the surrounding peaks as you come out of the trees and break the treeline.
You then continue up a lot of skree while following the stream up. It was at this point that the rain started pelting us and I quickly put my camera away.
We came up to a pretty steep portion in the skree that followed the side of a waterfall. In the rain, no one felt very comfortable climbing it so we decided to have lunch at the base of the falls where some moss was growing. The lunch didn't last long due to the rain. Its amazing how quickly you start to cool down when you stop moving.
We made quick work of the trail back. This is definitely a hike I would like to try again in better weather. The views should be incredible if not shrouded in mist.
Looking forward to our next outing, wherever that may be. This next weekend is looking like the heat may be back so it depends on the group.
Anyway, I wish you the best and have a great weekend fulled with adventure.