Saturday, May 9, 2015

Hunchback Hills Explorers Extraordinaire

I feel like we are now fully into the swing of hiking season, slowly merging away from shoulder season and where I can confidently now leave my snowshoes at home in the basement.  I have been googling and oogling blogs, websites, maps and guide books looking for untouched terrain, well untouched by my hiking boots.  I came across Matt's trip up to Hunchback Hills and put that suggestion out to my friends.  They were on board for exploring new to them territory too.  We had ideas in our head of what our day might look like.  We did not expect on this day we would become "Explorers Extraordinaire" but in my opinion the way our day turned out, I would proudly say "I like it like that"! 

We aimed for early and I was so glad we did, the lighting was a treat. It was on the warm side right at the start with no wind to contend with.  The views appeared immediately.  I eyed Mount Yamnuska in center photo.   
We followed along the well defined trail enjoying the views and chit chat.  We had loads to catch up on which was helpful to keep any wildlife at bay.  It was early, it was quiet, it was secluded.  Mount Baldy peeked through and the moon was low.
reaching an open area
We continued along the trail, until we came to the turn off point where the steep ascent would begin.  We opted to veer to the right and go counterclockwise.  This was an opportunity to put our route finding skills to the test.  We spent time in the trees, veering slightly here and there finding the clearest path, all the while ascending.   I kept wondering why there was no light through the trees and why was there no sign of us nearing the top.  But then, just like that, we popped out into the open!

our first big summit view from an expansive meadow
Barrier Lake and The Lookout far off below us
yes we were high
my happy to be high summit shot
Moose Mountain in the middle
The summit was sparsely populated with large colorful boulders.  I remember Forgetmenot Ridge looking somewhat similar with grassy/rocky/bouldery ground cover.  I had hoped there would be a summit cairn so was happy when I saw it.  The views were forever.  What more could you ask for, this spot had it all.
enjoying the view
Nakiska Ski Hill straight ahead centre
It was only slightly chilly here but the sun was nice, the wind was not worth mentioning, we had 100% outright ownership, the views were amazing so with all these ideal conditions our visit turned into an hour in length.  After dining, we strolled along the ridge a short distance.   
As we began our afternoon descent, Barrier Lake got closer and clearer.  I enjoyed seeing that area from a totally different angle.  Where the Barrier Lake Lookout sits, looks so far below where we stand here.  
The slope down was gentle and easy.  
We attacked it on the slow side almost not wanting it to end.  
It is still crocus season up in these Hills.  
We aimed for the trees to begin the steep descent section.  It went on and on.  Eventually we found the ribboned route and it brought us right out to the Trail which lead us right back to where we began our day just over nine hours ago.  Even though we were in each others company for about 11 hours in total, we did not finish catching up on all the catching up there was to be done, so I look forward to when we can carry on along another trail with our tails to tell.  




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