This week we headed away from the water and up into the mountains – foothills that is. Many mountain passes are closed this time of year due to avalanche dangers and the high level of road maintenance needed. As a result, finding your way into the mountains can be challenging. On the advice of a good friend, we headed to Kananaskis Country via Cowboy Trail North and found ourselves at the end of Sheep River Road at a Road Closure gate near a Sheep River Provincial Park sign. The area was brimming with hikers and families, all outfitted with backpacks, walking staffs, water bottles, jackets and some with snow shoes. It must have been an odd sight seeing a couple from Ontario get out of their vehicle, thow on a hoodie and start walking down the road. After a good chuckle we decided that we are either going to die on this hike due to ill preparedness, or we just didn’t need all that ‘stuff’ for a couple hour hike. Down the road a few hundred feet is “Death Valley Trail”. Another good sign.
The snow and ice packed trail initially wound through mixed forest and then onto grassed slopes. Walking staffs would have been helpful in managing the slippery parts. Heading up the Prarie Trail, the trail starts to climb and traverses the gradual slopes of the foothill towards a high ridge. Above the trees on the prairie grass highlands, you can’t help but stop and admire the view of the mountains in the distance. The hills were surprisingly dry due to the lack of snow this season, but the mountains remain white and majestic.
The trail back down the hills ran over ridges and along the side of steep slopes, revealing stunning views of the mountains on the west side and the foothills and Sheep River on the east.
It was an invigorating hike, beautiful country and we survived the adventure. Next time we’ll bring water!