Saturday, 15 August 2015

June 16: Barrier Lookout/Jewel Pass

For a first hike of the season, I wanted to do something simple, accessible, and not that strenuous. Heading up to Barrier Lookout, then dropping down Jewel Pass and back along the shores of Barrier Lake seemed to foot the bill. A bit long at 19.5 km, but an OK height gain of 660 m.

But, in every grand plan, there lies a flaw. My flaw was in leaving my orthotics at home. We got to the trailhead and I had no orthotics, no footbeds, no cushioning at all in my hiking boots. Plus, I couldn't lace them tight enough to hold my foot from sliding forward. For the first time in years, I got blisters, pus bruised a toenail enough to trun purple after a few weeks. Plus, after 19.5 km, it felt like someone had whacked on the balls of my feet with a ball peen hammer all day. Pain.

Still, aside from that (and the tiny amount of rain we had) it was a nice day.
At the lookout on the way up 
My friend Monty 
Looking down the Kananaskis valley 
Towards the Hunchback Hills 
My house hides behind the mountain on the right 
Back across the prairie 
The lake at the end of the day
We lucked out and saw "delivery day" for the fire lookout, with several sling loads being delivered by helicopter. I like helicopters, so that was OK.
Slinging propane 
Lowering it in 
Placing it in the breeze 
Done. Landing 
Pretty and brand new Eurocopter ES 350
Long trudge down was made better by getting to inspect the section of trail we helped build through the Friends of Kananaskis after the 2013 floods.
Still beautiful
Karen also ran across a few orchids.
Don't know what kind
This is a pretty good early season hike, as it's snow free by early May. But, you take about 2 hrs to get to the first views (it's a disenchanted forest walk to that point), and the first 90 min of the trudge down is also mostly a forest walk (except for the pretty new section we helped build, and the nice waterfall it passes).
Jewel Falls
Plus, the last hour is also just walking along the lakeshore, which isn't that thrilling.

But it sets us up for the rest of the season -- so long as I don't forget my orthotics again...

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