Saturday, September 14, 2019

Highwood & Grizzly Ridges Loop September 14, 2019

It's been awhile since I put a bow on it! 
Parts of today were deserving of it. 
The plan put in place for today was to conquer a big loop consisting of the Highwood Ridge + Grizzly Ridge + Grizzly Col + Pocaterra Cirque.  I completed this loop twice before first in 2012 and then again in 2013.  I questioned my sanity in 2013 when I decided to attack it a second time and to bring friends along who had never hiked the loop before.  Fast forward to 2019.  It was time to attack it again and to share the day with friends (one who truly wanted to add this hike to her 2019 summer collection) who had never hiked the loop before.  I forwarded my insanity with them and even still when my friend asked us all to join her, we were all on board.  

We arrived at the Highwood Pass Parking Lot to share it with only one other vehicle.  It was cold, it was blustery, there was some blue but not where we were going.  We were staying on this side of the highway, not heading over there.
We got the business out of the way of finding the trail that would lead us up to Highwood Pass.  We were following my track from when I ventured here before.  The trail has become so braided over the years that to go where we wanted to go, my track was not doing us any favours.  We had a bit of an ooops finding the turn off.  We got where we needed to be and began the steep climb.

After we hiked and scrambled and scrabbled our way up to the Highwood Ridge, I finally took time to play photographer.  We could see down to where we started when there was us and one other vehicle.  Now the lot was full and the cars were parked on the side of Highway 40.
I could now settle in and enjoy the scenery and I liked what I saw, some blue and autumn hues.  
As we meandered along the Ridge I looked back to see where we had been.
My attention was drawn to the east.  
Here we could see across and down into Ptarmigan Cirque.
There were large patches of blue and I was determined to capture our adventure under these conditions.  Off in the distance in the other directions it looked like threatening weather.   Here we are high on Highwood Ridge, living on the edge where the views were.
view to the east 
We came upon this sign that was faded.
It says "entering Peter Lougheed Provincial Park".
Actually we were exiting The Park.
These are the views I 💝 up here and at this moment in time, I wanted to put a bow on our day.
We could now see the south end of Highwood Ridge and the slope we would need to descend.  
Yes, it is steep with loads of elevation to loose.  
Nearing the end of the Ridge we still had wonderful views to the east.  
Here a larch, there a larch, there were a few scattered around.  
This one was the center of my attention.  
We reached the Inukshuk on the south summit of Highwood Ridge.  How is that thing still standing with the incredible wind we were experiencing up here today.  The wind was wild and cold.  This was the first time this season I needed to sport my winter hat and gloves and an additional mid layer.
lovely ladies happy to be high and feeling mighty
We had a well deserved fuel break at the Inukshuk.  After doing so, we began the steep descent.  It was literally straight down and straight forward.  Nearing the bottom we then worked our way to the creek, crossed it and then made our way up the other side.  It was time to bushwhack a bit, move beyond the rock wall and then begin the steep climb up to the top of Grizzly Ridge.  This is where I began to question my sanity!  Is she insane or a little bit psycho?  My friends were on board to get this done and we did it!  It was time again to relax, enjoy the scenery and capture more photographs.  Here we are hiking along Grizzly Ridge.
the sky was dismal yet the larch tree brightens the day
We could now see the Twyrwhitt window but no one was home.
making my way along Grizzly Ridge
loving the colour of the ground cover
That is Hghwood Ridge on the right and where we were hiking a few hours ago.  Down below between that Ridge and Grizzly Ridge is Paradise Valley.  I liked walking along the edge of the Ridge so I could see deep down into the valley.
This larch was almost totally turned to golden.
I loved this little tree!
The sun teased us off and on and you needed to be quick to capture a photo when it was on.  
For a very few seconds it lit up this part of Paradise Valley.
my friends working their were through the rough and rugged rocks
It was time to check out the Twyrwhitt window again and there you have it.  There was a party of  six embracing the window.  We met up with them in the parking lot at the end of the hike.  They were six guys from different parts of Europe out enjoying the mountain playground.
We reached Grizzly Col and had this view across to Pocaterra Ridge and the Cirque.  
We began our descent off this thing.  
my friends traversing the slope
We reached Pocaterra Cirque and took a break to fuel up before hitting the last stretch.  Lots of larches were still green.  It was pretty here but the lightening was not user-friendly for capturing pretty pictures.  From here on in we turned the trek into business to get it over with quick.  We hooted and hollered (I am not sure how to describe my friend's vocalization that I liked so much.) making sure any grizzlies knew we here.

When we were done I declared three was enough for me, I don't need to do this loop again. Who knows, time passes, you forget,  you wonder again about this beautiful and challenging loop and then, just like that, insanity sets in!  We were fortunate with the weather today, we worked as a team to make our way safely through this adventure, we saw some pretty larch trees and magnificent scenery. When I think about our day, I want to frame it all!  Memories of all kinds were made!  

1 comment:

  1. Your Google Earth map clearly shows the effort for today. Congrats to all.


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