Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Moose Mountain - October 21, 2007

Elbow Valley -Moose Mountain. Trail Details: Take Highway 66 west, go past Station Flats. Look for Paddy's Flat campground on the left side of the road, the road to Moose Mountain is the next right immediately after that. Take the dirt road up. Up. Up. Parking for the trailhead is well marked and access beyond that is limited. The trail begins off the old forestry road (blocked by a gate from the main road).

We were totally pumped for Moose Mountain, and we suspected this might be one of the last new hikes of the year. We had no idea how great Moose Mountain would be.

We started out ridiculously early, but it was the right thing to do, even in the third week of October, Moose Mountain was very popular. We didn't run into anyone on the way up, but plenty of people on the way down.

Surprisingly, we didn't see a lot of snow along the early part of the trail, this was about as deep as it got:

Eventually, the trail opens up a bit and you're given just a taste of the amazing scenery ahead. It's hard to believe this is only minutes from Bragg Creek:

After the clearing, the trail starts to lead uphill just a little bit, and that's when the snow really started to show up on the trail, but even this didn't last long:

The trail isn't really a sharp incline until you are close to Moose Mountain itself, but then it rises sharply -- there's no mistaking it. Amazingly, before you even start to tackle the steeper incline, you can see downtown Calgary from the trail:

Can't see it? Well, it's much more visible from the trail. For a much better look, check out this incredibly magnified shot (this is a very large file size!).

The approach to Moose Mountain was nice, but when you hit the base -- nothing but rock and snow. The trail is a series of switchbacks up the hill. We called this part of the trail "hiking in Afghanistan. Can you tell why?

But the view just kept getting more amazing:

The eastern edge of the Rockies:

After a long series of switchbacks, we made it to the top of the mountain... or more like a plateau. The real peak was on the next part of the mountain. You can see the lookout at the top:

We hiked until the trail was just too covered in snow (and too windy) to continue safely. We made it within spitting distance of the top:

Can't wait for spring....