canada general hiking

Old Goat Glacier – thumbs down

Old Goat Glacier is one of the K-Country hikes that is closest to Canmore. Behind the Spray Lakes campground, it’s easily accessible, tucked under Old Goat Mountain. And it’s a nice enough little walk. As long as you don’t go out expecting too much from the glacier.

I was underwhelmed. Unfortunately my photographer didn’t capture my thumb silhouetted against the sky, but it’s definitely getting a firm thumbs down rating. The glacier obviously used to be much bigger. And there was a nice moraine to walk in along. But otherwise – not terribly exciting. And walking into the dead-end glacial valley was a little bit spooky, with huge walls looming either side of you and ahead.

I managed to stumble on the scree and slammed my shins into some nice sharp rocks, gouging one hole that was deep enough to show the white bits – the bits you see and go “Ooh, that might need stitches”. Being a busy long weekend in town, needless to say I decided I’d manage without sitting in Emergency for six hours, opting instead to go and listen to some free folk music from the festival.

We saw these Mountain Sheep on the way back into town as well. It would have been more poetic if they were goats. Maybe if you just squint at them a bit and pretend.

bikes canada general

Jumpingpound Ridge

Being a stinking hot day on Sunday, it seemed like the perfect day to go and ride a bike up a very steep hill. Note that this is the Bow Valley definition of stinking hot, meaning it was just about 30oC, not over. When it only occasionally reaches 25oC, anything hotter can be a shock to the system. Anyway, it was hot, so we decided to ride up a steep hill, settling on Jumpingpound Ridge (and thinking we’d maybe tack on Cox Hill on the end). It’s one of the best rides in the area, getting the ‘world class’ descriptor from the mountain biking guide.

And there are definitely some very nice views. But first there was a long slog up through the trees, in the sun, with not the slightest breeze, gaining a few hundred metres of altitude in not very much distance. Thankfully I didn’t have to tow the Chariot though, as Finn was off hiking up to the summit with Papa, where they would meet us for lunch.

As soon as we broke out onto the ridge there was a lovely cool breeze, and things improved after that. Single track wound in and out of the trees, climbing the ridgeline, until finally we were out into the open within sight of the summit. And then there were sandwiches! Actually, bagelwiches.

We were both nearly out of water, so decided the Cox Hill portion of the ride would have to wait for another day, and proceeded to scream along the ridge before dropping off the side and back down to the road again, where we were picked up by Alex and Finn.

Five stars, thoroughly recommended.

canada general hiking moosling

Buller Pass

Another K-Country hike which is absolutely amazing (although around this time of year, just about everything is).

Buller Pass starts with wending through a mossy forest trail, passing a mushroom which Alex thinks is edible (and which we pick up on the way back, google intensively and then throw in with the BBQ dinner that night). There’s a waterfall, lots of trees, less trees… then a lunch stop. We spent a good chunk of our time trying to identify trees and flowers with the help of a couple of laminated guides that Joel and Kristy had brought along with them. Unfortunately all I retained from the whole experience was that there are some white/pink bell shaped flowers that grow on a knickers plant.

There was still some snow lying around on the final portion of the hike through the amphitheater and up to the pass – as a result we didn’t do the sneak around the back to make a loop via North Buller Pass. Instead there was just some lazing in the sun and a trot home again (via the edible mushroom)

Distance: 13km return
Elevation gain: 671m

canada general snow

the weekend of fail

We were supposed to go skiing on the Rae Glacier, but the snow looked thoroughly uninspiring. Also we realised once we were on our way that none of us actually knew where the Rae Glacier was. So after driving around in K-Country for a while, we decided we’d just park where all these other cars were, and go for a walk and see what was there.

First we found a frozen lake, which was good for throwing rocks onto.


Elbow Lake


And then we managed to find the Rae Glacier, and weren’t too distressed about the fact we didn’t haul our skis up with us.


Rae Glacier


Maybe next weekend there’ll be snow?


The view from our knoll

canada climbing general

evan thomas creek

A snapshot of our day at Even Thomas Creek, K-Country.