Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sulphur Springs Elbow River Loop March 17, 2019

I pulled out my St Patrick's Day decorations a few days ago having them ready to display come the Day.  A couple of hiking options were swirling around in my mind for this Day and I figured I would decide the morning of the Day. Well, that was the plan when I went to bed last night!  I woke at five before midnight and just like that I had a change of heart and was able to quickly find others that I could join up with in the morning.  The morning came, it's the Day, it's St Patrick's Day!       
I'm ready to go!
The plan was to start at Station Flats, hit the Sulphur Springs Trail, follow it out to Route 66, cross the road, aim for the Riverview Trail, follow the ridge that would eventually head down to the Elbow River, enjoy the river views, work our way through Paddy's Flat Campground, cross Route 66, then hike the last few kilometers back to Station Flats, having completed a great big scenic loop.

and so our St Patrick's Day hike begins
We had sun and we had shadows.
It was quite warm and once we began the ascent, delayering was a necessity.  
It felt like spring and it looked like it to out in this part of the playground.  
Lots of the elevation was done by the time we crossed over the Moose Mountain Road and arrived at a fabulous view point.  I enjoyed the cloud dance performance. This big meadow was designated as our early lunch time spot.
Before settling down to dine, I captured a destination shot.
This was my lunch time view.  
As you can see we were afforded a windless lunch break.  See too, no gloves!  Today was a great promise that spring is around the corner.  A few hot cups of tea were really not necessary on this day. It will soon be time to store the thermos for many months.
being one with St Patrick's Day
After our early lunch we climbed up away from the meadow to follow a ridge that afforded mountain views.   The snow here was deep in spots and did not support us.  No big deal though, we got through it all the while I enjoyed the view.
 a vast vista
We crossed Route 66 and began the hike along the Riverview Trail.  
I had no idea this trail existed.  
It was so pretty.
 the sun, the warmth, the shadows, the clouds, the trees, it was all good
From the ridge to the river.  The ice was beginning to break up.  Another great promise spring is around the corner.  We took our time along the trail section that was down by the Elbow River.  No one seemed to be in a hurry, we were all embracing this day and these views.
The trail lead up to Paddy's Flat Campground, my mind drifted to sleeping in my tent out in the wild, then just as quick I came back to reality as we needed to cross back over Route 66.  With a little more elevation gain and then a descent, followed by a meander, we were back at Station Flats.

The blue line shows our route for today.

I'm thankful I got to join up with the others today.  Today's route was a new one for me.  It was nice to catch up with old friends and make new ones.  The spring-like weather felt so good to be out & about in.  In summary I felt lucky today!

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