Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Perspective is Everything! - Old Goat Glacier, July 28th, 2013

Also known as the day Jenn and Michelle went out together without Steve.

Originally, our plan for the day was to go climbing at Grassi with Kory, but Kory ended up getting sick. Jenn and I quickly decided we weren't going to waste the day and made plans to hike and climb indoors at the new rec center in Canmore.

We discussed going on a shorter hike so we would have time to get to the rec center and be back in Calgary for dinner.  At no point in my life have I ever called a ten kilometer hike 'short', but that's what we decided on!

The trail has very little elevation gain to begin with. It seemed fine at first, but it was really quite damaged from the flooding. There was one part of the trail that was undercut and being held together with moss. It definitely bounced up and down when we walked on it, and on the way back there was a hole in it.  Before we started, a conservation officer stopped us and warned us the trail was open, but people were being discouraged from hiking it because it was "really rough".  It was rough at some points, but not the point where it wasn't hike-able. Perspective, I guess is everything!

About 2 km in, there is some trail damage. The part I'm standing on in the photo is completely undercut due to the flooding.

Further in, there was major washout damage. The trail disappeared for about 400 m and was replaced by a labyrinth of rocks and uprooted trees.  We wandered for awhile with a group of really nice Japanese hikers. The blind leading the blind.

Further in, the trail had been washed away by rocks and other debris.  We wandered aimlessly for a little while before we found the trail again.

Once we were passed this part, the trail opened up to an avalanche runout. Again, lots of rocks had been washed down during the flood.  Across the runout was the rest of our hike. From our perspective,  it looked daunting...steep and rocky.   I think it also contained about 600 m of the 620 m elevation gain on this trail spread out over approximately one or two kilometers.  Once we set out on the trail, it actually wasn't too bad. Don't get me wrong. It was difficult, but it was also manageable.

Where the real fun begins! 

Jenn working her way up.

Old Goat Glacier
Pretty flowers
Heading back down towards the avalanche runout.

Looking back we had great views of Spray Lakes Resevoir, and the valley we had just hiked through.  This is probably a more difficult beginning hike, but the views are worth it. (Aren't they always though?).  Going down wasn't as bad as we thought it would be, in spite of the steepness.

View of Spray Lakes Reservoir.

After about 4 hours, we were back in the car and on our way to Canmore to check out Elevation Place. The new rec center is FAB-U-LOUS.  We only climbed, and all the routes were well graded and fun! The staff at the climbing gym are obviously enthusiastic about climbing and their work.  They walked around, talked to people about the routes and gave people beta. Overall, a great day with my new friend Jenn!

Photo credits for this post go to Jenn! Thanks for sharing.

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