Every time I drive into the Rockies on Highway 1, I look at the mountain range behind the mountains (if that makes any sense!) and wonder what it would be like to venture back there and conquer them. Little did I know, we were heading back there and Spray Lakes Road takes you there with very little drama and effort.
|Where the parking lot for this hike used to be.|
West Wind Pass is a fantastic beginner hike, and fairly easy to find IF you have good directions. The 400 m elevation is spread out over the three kilometer trail, so it's a steady climb up to the pass. It starts off in the trees, but quickly opens up. And yes, it is VERY windy up there so hold onto your hats!
The view is quite pretty, you can look back onto the Spray Lakes Resevoir before you head over the pass. From the pass you catch a glimpse of highway 1, and the industrial plant.
If you are feeling adventurous (and we really weren't), you can traverse the pass and head up Wind Tower. It's a scramble, but didn't look overly difficult, but do your research if you intend to summit it. If you're not, you can have a really nice lunch at the pass. Lisa, Jason, Michelle and I lounged around in a relatively sheltered spot for about thirty minutes.
|Wind Tower, just before reaching the pass.|
|Lisa, Michelle, Jason and I with highway one in the background.|
Afterwards, we went to the lake to dip our feet briefly into the lake. If only the water was a bit warmer...I think I had my feet in for about 5 seconds. On our way back, we munched on some very ripe, and very tiny strawberries. It was the first time I'd ever noticed them, and they were delicious!! I can see why the bears love them so much.
On our way out, one of my science camp buddies, Jason, also told us the coolest geography fact about Mount John Laurie, more commonly known as Yamnuska (which translates into "wall of stone", thanks Wikipedia). So apparently, it is a mountain made up of two different types of rock, one of which drifted under North America and was thrust up during the formation of the Rocky Mountains. Mind. Blown.
Overall, a fantastic day with great company and great weather, topped off with a pit stop at the Mountain Juice Cafe in Canmore.