Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Elbow Trail Obstacle Course

Sunday was back to Elbow Valley to give the Elbow Valley Trail hike a try. This trail meanders along the highway (Highway 66), but sneaks away into the forest once in a while. N and I figured we'd park at the gates by Elblow Falls and hike back to Station Flats where my car was waiting. Barring that, we'd hike to Canyon Creek road and turn around, getting a good 5k in.

Ok.. so it started snowing -- only a little -- as we got out of the car at the gate. Snowing. It's 18 degrees in the city and it's snowing in Elbow Valley. It didn't even snow in Kananaskis!

I just had to get that out of the way.

The hiking itself was great. Perfect weather, not too hot or too cold. It was windy, but once we got into the forest, it calmed down a lot. Lots of deer, birds, even a dead weasel! There are a few inclines and declines, but then the hike levels out again. A perfect combination.

The real story was the downed trees (and me forgetting my keys in N's car, forcing us to use the turn-around at Canyon Creek plan). We barely made it five minutes in before we ran into a monster that forced us back down to the highway to rejoin the path further down. The rest of the trees we were able to go through or around, but they made life interesting.

Despite my ranting, the snow never turned into much, and while it drizzled a little, the rain never really came down either, so most of the air was moist, but in that pleasant forest way. Naturally, I had to give the close-ups another shot. Really pleased with the results of this one.

We eventually tackled the monster that forced us off the path on the way out. On the way back in, we found a way through. It makes a big difference which side the cliff is on.

N is the bird watcher between the two of us, and she saw plenty to keep her amused. We heard rabbits. Not sure if it was the earlier hour, the rain or spring finally taking root, but the forest seemed so much more active this time out... even on a path right beside a highway.

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