Monday, 17 August 2015

New start to Centennial & Wind Valley/Ridge Trails

I was up doing some volunteer work today at the Wind Valley trail head above Dead Man's Flats. This is the northern starting point for the trails up Skogan Pass, Pigeon Mountain, Centennial Ridge, Wind Ridge and the Wind Valley.

The 2013 floods washed out all the bridges at the start that lead to Centennial Ridge, Wind Ridge and the Wind Valley (the floods may have blown other bridges up higher, but I haven't been up to look). Post flood access to these three areas involved a small rock hop over Pigeon Creek (the first smaller creek you come to, about 300 m from the parking lot) and a more complicated crossing of the larger Wind Creek. The Centennial trail heads up between the two creeks.

In the last few weeks, Alberta Parks trail crews have done a re-route of the trail and put in a new bridge over Pigeon Creek. The re-route kicks off right near the old washed out bridge location...
Old road to the right now blocked. New trail to left marked with blue post
...heads upstream ~50 m, and crosses a a brand new bridge.
Bridge looking west 
From the other side
Once across the bridge and creek washout, you immediately arrive at a T intersection. Left is Centennial. Right is towards Wind Creek.
Arriving at the T 
Looking toward the Centennial trail
I'm betting the bridge was put in because Centennial is an official trail. However, the Wind Valley trails are not. Because if you turn right at the T and head towards Wind, in 50 m you'll first pass the old and now closed off trail where the road used to be (and rock hop of Pigeon Creek still is)...
Looking back across Pigeon Creek at the old trail
...then arrive at the wide washout of Wind Creek, where no bridge has been built to replace the once lost in the floods. Instead, to get across Wind Creek, you have two options.

Option 1: Turn left on a path through the trees for 25 m. Drop into the rocky creek bed. Arrive at a natural set of flood deadfall that has been enhanced with two cut logs that have been nailed in place. Cross the creek on these two logs.

Crossing on the high log. The lower logs also work.
Option 2: Drop the 5' bank into the creekbed gravel. Follow orange flagging across to the right to a dam someone had built. Cross on the 3 log bridge someone has built below the dam.

The dam 
The dam and the bridge

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