Weather forecasts are often wrong. A thunderstorm moved through at 9 AM while we were still eating breakfast, dumping rain for half an hour. While the hike is a bit of a drive from our house, as the crow flies it's only ~34 km, and sure enough, the trail was part river when we got there. However, part river is good for making mud which is good for making animal tracks.
|A wolf track. Going our way.|
|The creek comes down and flows along the road a bit|
|The trail stops at the wall|
|KC crawls the wall|
|Life on the edge|
Eventually, the trail arrives at a "fork" in the creek. It's hard to call it a fork, because only one of the two merging valleys has a creek in it. Anyway, a cairn says "stay left" in the valley with no creek, and the dry (occasionally creek filled) valley eventually opens up.
|Still challenging walking|
|Who took the tarn? Mosquito breeding ponds abound|
|My favourite animals|
|Hiding in the rocks|
|Head to the trees on the right, then climb the grass slopes up|
|Ominous black clouds appear|
|The tarn and the back of the basin|
|Note the cairns marking the route up|
|Cool rock formations, caused by a little thrust fault in the area|
|You gotta have backbone to live up here|
|The last 150 m. Easy peasy.|
|A third arrives|
|Mutual goofing about|
|Two head off|
On the way down the skies cleared...
|An unnamed peak south of Mt. McDougall (see below)|
|Ominous dark clouds arriving over The Fortress|
That unnamed peak in the above photo, by the way, is referred to as "Volcano Peak" and is an "easy" scrambling destination according to Andrew Nugara in his book "More Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies". He uses it as an approach route to Mt. McDougall, but considers it a good destination all on its own. Bob Spirko calls it "Little McDougall" and his write up of getting up there can be seen here and here.
Socked in and raining lightly in the creek valley, it was nonetheless a pleasant walk, as the creek opens up in spots, and there's interesting stuff.
|Lush and green|
|More lush and green|
|One? Or two?|
|Socking in to the west|
|The car & the mountain we didn't make it to the top of|