Aug 102012
Wolf tracks Kananskis

A more boring trail could not be imagined. But in the end, it turned out a lot more interesting than expected which I’ll elaborate on shortly. We planned to bag one of the many nearby ridges, but incredible winds up high (which are common in this part of Kananaskis), forced us to stay in the valleys. This trail was our only close by alternative that did not require us driving further.

The trail is a an old logging road which is closed to vehicular traffic. At least public traffic, the were signs of recent tracked vehicle use. The road wanders up the valley passing by a number of cut blocks and open flower filled meadows along the way.

Just follow the trail, the old road or any of its offshoots, and turn around when you’ve had your fill. That’s what we did. Along the way there are some good views of the high mountains to the west and to the east Mt Burke, a former fire lookout location, is the most dominate peak. To the south Raspberry Ridge begs to be explored and a nice trail heads up it, topping out at the manned fire lookout there.

So what made this otherwise mind numbing trail worthy of a report? There are a many.

Be sure to comment on this post (below pictures).

First, the huge number of animals tracks we saw were fascinating. We followed in the footsteps of a number of different bears, wolves, deer and elk. I understand that this valley is or was used as a bear study area. I can see why!

Second, many of the road cuts has wild onions growing on them. They are super yummy and we collected many. A warning, there is a plant called Death Camas that grows in the same area. It looks like an onion and not surprisingly given its name is lethal. The only real way to tell them apart is by smell. Death Camas does not have the odour of an onion. If in doubt, don’t touch!

Third…..the beautiful flowers. Acres and acres of them blanketing every meadow. I am no flower expert, so I am not certain the names of them. Maybe in the winter I’ll bone up on flower identification.

And last, the bridges made from old railcars. If you know me, you know that I am crazy about train stuff. It was really interesting to see these recycled as bridges. One car, its number still visible (CN 680013), was built by the National Steel Car company in Hamilton Ontario in 1952 and was retired around 1999.

So even in spite of the down sides of this trail, it wasn’t a total write off. Nearly any hike can be a fun one if you learn to appreciate the small things.

To see some other trails we’ve visited, go here…
Lost under Yamnuska.
Spectacular Buller Pass.
Burstall Pass.

If you wish more information on this trail, by all means contact us!

Date of adventure: June 2008.
Location: South Kananaskis
Distance: 12km return. You can go further, much further if you wish.
Height gain from start: Negligible.
Height gain cumulative: Negligible.
Technical bits: Bears, Wolves and animals of all sizes.
Notes: None.
Reference: Kananaskis Trail Guide by Gillean Daffern.

Cataract Creek trail

The start of the trail, an old logging road.

Mt Burke Kananskis

Mt Burke with the old fire lookout barely visible at the top.

Bear tracks Kananskis

Bear tracks, one set of many we’d see this day.

Bear prints Kananskis

A close up…

Cataract Creek road

The long boring road.

Wolf tracks Kananskis

Wolf tracks.

Flatcar used a bridge

Old railway flat car used as a bridge. Good idea.

Flowers Kananaskis

A blanket of flowers.

Flowers seen in Kananaskis

Flowers growing in Kananaskis

Kananskis flowers

Flat car bridge

Another flat car bridge. The tires are not random garbage but are used to protect the deck when a cat tracked vehicle goes over it.


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