I had no idea what to expect today when I woke this morning with a change of heart. I went to bed last night with a plan in place for today and that plan was to hike Horsethief Canyon in Drumheller. I woke this morning with a desperate need to get high and there is no way that could happen anywhere in Drumheller. I needed to satisfy my fix so switched the plan from one "H" place to another "H" place. Horsethief Canyon became Ha Ling Peak!
I have not done hikes with significant elevation gain in quite some time so I had no idea what to expect today. First things first though, I at least wanted to make it to the trail head. While driving along Three Sisters Parkway, I stopped to check out my objective. That's it, the top of that right peak but I would be ascending on the other side of it.
There were a couple of cars in the lot when I arrived and two folks were aiming for the trail head. I usually like to be first but I was quite fine for others to clear the way today. Five minutes into the hike and I'm amazed already. Ah, how I love reflections!
After the reflections and before reaching the summit, time and distance uneventfully passed by. There were a few short sections of old packed dirty snow on the sides of the trail, but they were harmless. Once out of the trees it was clear & dry & steep. I reached the top feeling like the approximate 800 meters of elevation gain over roughly 2.8 kms was not really all that bad. This is the view below from where I just came.
Firstly, and most importantly, I scored my summit shot!
I found the perfect place to settle down amongst big rocks, to savour the view and my chicken&avocado sandwich. There was a pleasant slight breeze which was unexpected. I was prepared for the usual gale force winds but those did not pan out. Thirty minutes later, I could see many hikers working their way towards me so that meant it was time to surrender my ownership.
Spectacular lunch time view!
On my way down I looked back to capture a shot of the steepness behind me.
See how little the folks look near the summit?
I took a short detour to get a different perspective of Ha Ling Peak.
Canmore below with Highway 1 winding through it.
When I arrived back at my vehicle, I stood with stomach in, chest out, I beamed with delight and smiled wide. Considering I had no preconceived expectations for my performance today other then to make it to the trail head, I was ecstatic for having conquered Ha Ling Peak!