Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Late season hiking on Mt. Lady Macdonald

We have been frantically working to get outside chores done before the snow flies and we head to Maui. Accordingly, we have not had a chance to get out hiking for almost 3 weeks, so today, given the nice weather forecast, we decided to get up a mountain.

Mt. Lady Macdonald towers over Canmore on the north-east side of the valley. About a decade ago, someone built a teahouse and a helipad near the top with the hope of starting a business, but alas, the folks of Canmore didn't want a slew of helicopters flying up and down so the venture failed, leaving a bunch of parts on the mountain. Like a fire lookout, these things become magnets for hikers, and the trail up Lady Mac is very popular.

You start up the Cougar Creek and get a foreshortened view of the goal.
Straight up to the top
The trail basically grinds relentlessly upwards, but on the bright side, offers better and better views as you ascend.
Canmore below. Hal Ling across the valley
It's an interesting trail. At one point, it weaves through a boulder field.
KC weaves through the rocks
Suddenly you break out to stunning views up the valley.
The full length of Mt. Rundle
From this point, you can also see up the mountain to the peak and the destination.
The teahouse is on the bench in the centre ahead
Not far past this you get your first actual view of the structure.
The teahouse in advance disrepair
KC's final steps up
The patio on the roof
The gazebo below the teahouse
The views from this place are stunning. The coolest part of all is that we could see both of our houses.
Dead Man's Flats
Harvie Heights, in the trees on the lower left, this side of the highway
It was a pretty good wildlife day, with lots of birds. We saw chickadees and nuthatches, got dive bombed by a flock of waxwings, and saw a Townsend's Solitaire.
We saw him on the way up and he was still there on the way down
We saw plenty of squirrels and chipmunks...
Cheeks not full, for a change
...and although they would no pose for photos, we saw two pikas, which made my day.

Mt. Lady Mac is a better trail than Ha Ling, a trail I would never do again. Lady Mac's trail is more interesting, and while it's a bit longer, it seems less strenuous to get to a very similar view of the Bow Valley. I'd do this one again.

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