Back in this post, I described how I occasionally have the opportunity through my volunteer work to go places the Public is not allowed. Today, it took me south of the winter closure gate on Highway 40 through Peter Lougheed Provincial Park down to the Mist Creek area. Sadly, there was virtually no hiking involved, so I cannot report on the trails.
No, this post will explain to you why you're not getting too far down that road any time soon. Pull out your GemTrek maps and play "follow the bouncing UTM".
There's lots of signs at the closure gate saying you can't go in, and it's a $257 fine per person if you do.
|Not cars. Not pedestrians. Not bicycles.|
We sent them back the way they came, and to William Watson Lodge for directions.
Back to the road conditions:
There is evidence that at least 3 slides came down between Elbow Pass Day Use and the Highwood Pass. Water is running across the road in 2 places. The road has been cleared of debris from these slides, mostly.
|Note the water on the road. GR 380120|
|Blurry but you get the point. GR 403100|
The Highwood Pass parking area itself is fine, as are Little Highwood Pass and Elbow Pass parking lots. The word I'm hearing (unofficial and all) is that there's a possibility Highway 40 could open to the Highwood Pass/Ptarmigan Cirque "soon", and probably 3 days worth of backhoe and dump truck work could make that happen.
South of the Highwood Pass is a different story.
Problem 1: The creek coming out of Arethusa Cirque (GR 432060) is occupying a part of the road and there's water running on the road.
|Looking South. Blurry, but...|
|Not blurry. Looking north.|
|Looking south again|
Then the fun really begins. Problem #3: Running Rain Creek merged with Storm Creek and ate away 90% of the road at GR 471988.
|That's gonna take some time to fix|
|The pavement's down there if you need it|
|The end of the road for traffic. Nameless Ridge in the background|
|The creek. Yes, that's algae on the road.|
|Catch the visible culverts|
|Ah, good. No camping here.|
|Only half the road buried here.|
So I'll lay money that they'll open the road to the Highwood Pass -- and only the Highwood Pass -- this summer. But that's just an educated guess on my part.
Here's a hint, however: Ha Ling is up by Canmore. You don't need Highway 40 to access it.