Just like in a relationship, when things get old, it's time to add some twists to freshen it up and keep it alive and that is exactly what I did for today's hike up Prairie Mountain. I soloed this mountain many times, as recently as a few weeks ago and each of those times after visiting the summit, I descended my ascent route, which the majority of folks do. The first twist of the day was to share this hike with others instead of soloing and I was happy to find out none of the others had descended the route I had planned for us.
We reached the cairned and flagged summit after about 90 minutes of climbing. We were early enough that there were only a few others off to the side sitting down for their visit. The coast was clear for group and individual summit shots. I normally take a photo of just the cairn and flag with Moose Mountain in the background and while that view look wonderful today, I added another twist to the day and went for a shot facing in the opposite direct.
That cairn seems to be growing on a weekly basis. This time around, there was no standing on the very top but instead threw in another twist and safely settled myself on the side for a summit shot. A few large rocks became misplaced but I promptly put them back where they belonged.
What is a visit to Prairie Mountain without a photo of Moose Mountain.
Nice to see the snow disappearing over there!
Our early first lunch view.
The biggest twist of all came next and that was to begin our descent down the west ridge of Prairie Mountain. I first did this route last September. Since that time, the route has become more defined with additional flagging and the appearance of an obvious trail. Once you find the cairn further along the ridge of Prairie Mountain which is your beginning point to descend, then it is clear and smooth sailing from there on in until you reach Prairie Creek Trail. It was obvious others have discovered this new gentle route down as the trail is well worn now, yet we had that stretch of about 4 kms to ourselves today.
This is where we came out of the meadow and intersected Prairie Creek Trail. The next twist was to follow this trail to the right this time around to link up with Prairie Link Trail to add on extra distance and elevation, instead of turning left and making it only an 11 km loop.
The day was on the warm side with scattered white clouds.
Our view along Prairie Creek Trail.
We reached the bridge crossing Prairie Creek and found a nice spot for our second lunch. Next it was time for our additional 200 meters of elevation along Prairie Link Trail, then reaching another junction where we hooked up with Powderface Creek Trail and followed it all the way back to the trail head. It was wet and muddy in sections and in others spots, the creek had overflowed which meant we had to maneuver over a couple of creek crossings.
The weather turned out being much nicer then forecasted, this new route down the west ridge was more obvious then expected and the abundance of prairie crocuses and shooting stars were an added bonus. With the added twists, plus the muches and mores and addeds, this turned out being a top notch day!