A couple of weeks ago we went on a random cycle down an old mining road that led away south-east from the Three Sisters village in Canmore. On Sunday we decided to explore it properly, and see if we could get all the way up to Skogan Pass, snow permitting (for those in the Bow Valley, Skogan Pass is the one you see when driving away from Canmore towards Calgary, with the power lines leading through the trees up and over it).
After re-tracing our tracks of the previous week, we reached the fork in the mining track and opted for the lower, grassier, option. Studying a topo map had suggested it was the not-so-steep option. It wasn’t too steep, but it was certainly covered in lots of undergrowth, with branches overhanging the track, and fallen logs to lift the Chariot over. Thanks to the lack of traffic I was also collecting enough cobwebs to knit a tasteful spider-silk sweater.
Finally we were out of the awful overgrown track, over a couple of rickety old bridges, and turning off just short of the Pigeon Mountain carpark, along the track towards Skogan Pass. In the sun, beside the scenic buzzing power-lines. I was grateful when the track disappeared into the trees and away from the power-lines, which didn’t take too long.
After a pre-lunch break there was some relentless hill climbing, a lunch break, and some more relentless hill climbing. Streams were crossed, squirrels were eaten.
Finally we were getting a good view back down the valley, but it was then that we hit our first big pile of snow. We got the Chariot through it and rode along quite happily for a few hundred metres more, when we hit another huge road-covering snow patch. I scouted ahead and determined there was snow for several hundred metres, which there would be no getting the bikes and Chariot through (well, not easily anyway).
And so we had to give up on reaching Skogan Pass (within 2km of the pass too), and went flying back downhill again. With lots of heavy braking, so the Chariot didn’t get too much air over the rocks.
We didn’t come across any bears, but there was a huge bull moose standing in the middle of the trail at one point. We yelled out at him until he wandered out of the way a bit, then we scuttled past so as to not offend him. He didn’t look like the sort of moose you’d want to offend, even if his antlers were only quite small (he looks quite small in the photo, but he was a long way away, rest assured he looked much bigger when he was just ten metres off the track as we cycled past).
Back on the mining trail to Canmore, we took the steep track option this time. It was definitely clearer than the lower option, with less overhanging vegetation. There were still plenty of logs across the track though, and it had a few pitches so steep that it took both of us to push the Chariot up.
Covered in mud, we finally made it back to the civilisation of ground we’d covered before, and then to the Bow River cycle path, still busy with the weekend hoards.
Distance covered: 41km
Total ascent: About 1km
The list of interesting things we found to check out:
The single track that crossed the old mining road
The path up to Wind Ridge
The path up to Pigeon Mountain