Saturday, November 5, 2011

Always Passed By

I was expecting my long week of long dinners, long meetings, long lunches to carry on into Saturday with my planned 15km 950 meters of elevation hike to Pigeon Mountain being a  long one potentially through snow.  As it turned out, the only thing long about today would be our shadows!  I have passed by Pigeon Mountain many hundreds of times and always just looked at it then quickly forgot about it the second I passed it by.  Today, we didn't just pass it by, we stopped in for a visit!

The first five kilometers are along roads and power line trails with continuous gradual elevation and no views at all.  This portion went by quickly and easily.
After the 5 kms and a couple of switchbacks, we arrived at the sign that indicated it was time to fuel up, gear down and start to climb.  We only had to endure a few more minutes of being without views and then.....
....we landed in a wide open space where we could see forever from here on in!  Finally we could see our destination which is that high point in the center of the photo.  It looked so close!
While ascending the steep snowless slope, I took some time to admire the views and pick out familar sights.  Right before our eyes were Wind Tower that I summited just over a year ago, the Three Sisters (Faith, Hope, Charity) and I could see Ha Ling Peak peeking out over Canmore.
There were numerous dips that created framed views!
Near the top was gorgeous!  The trees were lightly covered with brand new snow, as was the ground and the whole wide opened space sparkled.  It was here that we felt the wind and the windchill. 
I was fine with my four upper layers on, along with hat and big mitts.  The sky was clear for my summit shot background except for a plane passing by.  The others made a quick descent while Agent-X and I took a few more summit moments to take care of other fun business.
While so many others have summited Pigeon Mountain, it has not been claimed by any Peakery members.  So I claimed it and this is my badge!  I will own it and wear it proudly.
I didn't take the time to enjoy this view on our ascent, my priority was concentrating on the final push to the summit.  Now it was time to fully enjoy seeing the Bow Valley down below with Mount Yamnuska distinctly sticking out.
We checked around for potential hiking options for another season.  This gentle slope led to what looked like a possible lovely ridge walk with an easy scramble down the other side.  
Where's Waldo?  
Look closely!  
One had to have an eagle's eye to see these eyes!
The last five kms along the power line and road went quick and as we were finishing up, I was realizing that I would be home having dinner at my table at what I consider a normal  dinner time.  Not all that long ago, 15kms with just under 1000 meters of elevation would have been a long day for me.  I think we were all glad we were now heading home!
I missed being in the mountains last weekend, so was glad to be out today and it was great to catch up with my, busy with life, friends.  I liked that we could once again leave the snowshoes at the vehicles and be quite fine with just boots.  It was these important little things that made me feel like I was "on top of the world" today!


  1. Always passed by. So true. It took me several years to discover why it was called Pigeon Mountain. When one does see it, it is a forehead slapping moment. How could I have passed by so many times and not seen it. There should be a spot on the highway beside Lac des Arcs that says 'Stand here and stare until you see it - then slap forehead'. Enjoyed your photos. McGillivary's smaller neighbour is one of my favourite mountains. An excellent season opener in the spring when the grassy triangle is resplendent with wild flowers. The scope of visibility is great and other opportunities become apparent. Once I attempted the offtrail straight down off the summit and missed the old ski slopes. Four hours of ugly bushwhacking later I got back to the bottom. The distance inefficiency of the trail is a good plan. I have never been on top with snowfall. Really enjoyed your photos. Different perspective.

  2. thank you for the trail route! tomorrow's peak!
    Joel Gray

    1. Hi Joel,

      Did you make it up Pigeon Mountain yesterday? I'm curious to know how it went and what the conditons are. I am thinking of doing it again soon.



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