Apparently, even retired people have to pay attention to weekends. We have lots to do on both our new house and for our move, but little of it can be done on weekends. That means we're off for the weekend, and it's a long weekend so the neighbourhood is busy as all get out.
So after a really hectic week, I was looking for a shorter afternoon trip, and decided to try the new Hunchback Hills route from the 4th Edition of the Kananaskis Trails Guide, Volume 2.
The trail starts with a rather uninspired though pleasant saunter up the Lusk Pass Trail, a thankfully short trail in a disenchanted forest. Just before we got to the old campsite, we found a huge grizzly bear track.
|Fortunately, it's not that new. I think.|
The book talks about intermittent flagging on the route. Flagging on the route is actually pretty consistent once you find it. It starts about 100 vertical metres above the Lusk Trail on the edge of the ridge and literally hugs the "cliff" edge (2 to 10 m cliffs as in the photo below)...
|Exposed Cardium sandstone, I think|
|The thinnest trees we found|
|The Powderface Trail, Moose & Jumpingpound|
|The summit lies 750 m away.|
On the plus side, the view from the top truly is grand, better perhaps than the summit of Jumpingpound or Cox. Barrier Lake was particularly delightful, and looking down on the Barrier Fire Lookout was unexpected.
|Barrier Lake, Heart Mtn Horseshoe, Barrier Lookout & Yamnuska|
|Cox Hill on the left, Moose in the middle & Jumpingpound|
|Logging on the slopes of Mt Baldy|
|Nakiska ski area & Mt. Sparrowhawk|
|KC sits on the ridge. Jumpingpound on the left, Nihahi in the centre|
You can even see Calgary.
|The city, some 80 km away|
I struggle when I think about hikes like this. The top rocks. The views are awesome. But getting there is NOT half the fun. I was reminded of other routes I have been on (like Red Ridge) where there really is no trail. Kananaskis Country forests are really tough to bush bash. They are full of blowdown and deadfall. It really made it clear that if you go try this, you need to take a GPS with a topo map display. It was the only way we could figure a route up, identify false ridges and get ourselves out of the wrong turn we made.
I'm not sure I will be in a hurry to do this again. Which is a shame, because if there was a actual trail to this summit, it would easily become a favourite hike of mine.