Day 11 - Sunday 3rd August 2008

Elbow Valley

Today was something of a pilgrimage - revisiting an old friend, a hike we did 3 years go with Muriel and Peter, but with memories of Mike and Gypsy from years gone by. Nihahi Ridge, here we come! Ignoring the SatNav (as usual, I hear Ian say) we went north on Macleod Trail, west on Glenmore Trail and thus to Highway 8 - the route we remember from 18 years ago when we stayed with Muriel and Peter. There is a lot of new development alongside this road, and all rather grey. But one new development was unexpected - where Highway 8 joins Highway 22 they've built a ROUNDABOUT. The Canadians looked confused, but we sailed round it!

We headed out past Bragg Creek to the Trailhead beyond Powderface Trail, boots on, then started the hike alongside the Elbow River. As in previous years, there were horses fording the river downstream.

Upstream, the mountains - foothills of the Rockies, which we were to walk in though not right up!

It had been a slightly wet night, and we went prepared for a little rain. Laurie thought his coat was smelly so left it at the hotel. Hmmm...

As the climb begins, you see further into the mountains.

Laurie was keen on Romulus and Remus, as these are the names of some of their servers.

Mounts Cornwall and Glasgow, I think.

The Wild Rose of Alberta.

Rosie and Laurie not sure if they're prepared - Laurie has no coat, Rosie no socks!

There were quite a few people on the trail.

A squirrel up a tree.

The signpost had rotted so Laurie had to hold it up.

Pretty flowers in the alpine meadows.

I think this is Romulus and Remus, Laurie.

The trail leading to the ridge (it cuts right to left across the tree area, then up the ridge).

Indian Paintbrushes were in abundance.

The one bit of fenced path, a the traverse through the trees reaches the ridge.

Rosie's lack of socks required attention...

...a sock donor was found.

A stop for sustinence, and to leave Laurie and Rosie (sore heels).

As you climb the ridge you can see Forget-me-not Lake.

Laurie pictured by the ailing Rosie.

The view on up the ridge.

Higher up the view up the valley increases.

It's still a long way.

Hmm, the weather looks interesting...

Bridget and I left Meld at the start of the red shale - 6,600 feet, where Peter and I stopped 3 years ago - and headed on up the ridge. The going got tougher - slippery shale across a scree slope.

But the views were worth it.

That's supposed to be a path? At this point we decided it was getting risky, and it would be hard to get down again safely, so we turned back.

Going down! (Carefully)

It proved a good decision, as large raindrops promptly fell.

A wistful look back.

It was a while before the path was sufficient to remove packs and don waterproofs. Looking west we could see they would be necessary.

All kitted up - rain covers on camera bag and rucksack.

B was happy that her new coat proved waterproof.

Forget-me-not Lake had disappeared - and as I took this photo lightning flashed across the sky and thunder echoed around the hills.

Puddles had appeared - good practice for the pilgrimage.

The rain made the flowers perk up.

Back to the car, the sun breaking through over the river again.

Forget-me-not Lake at close quarters: lovely colour but the reflection disturned by raindrops once again.

That's better.

Driving back up the road we passed cattle by the roadside, and lots grazing in woodland (which seems normal here but quite alien to us).

Elbow River above Elbow Falls.

Elbow Falls - at its peak it could fill an Olympic swimming pool in 30 seconds!

Water thunders over the falls.

Downstream in Bragg Creek the river looks delightful (and the sun is shining).

Don't point that camera at me!

Bragg Creek Trading Post - one of Dad's favourites. Doesn't seem to have changed much in 18 years!

I'm sure this is the place Muriel and Peter took Mum and Dad to, where the waitress enquired of Dad regarding a less-than-perfectly cooked dish "Was it really gross?"

Laurie was so happy to see a Defender in the car park at Bragg Creek.

We allowed the SatNav to guide us back, via Highways 22 and 22x onto Macleod Trail only a few blocks south of our hotel. An easy, pleasant drive (B was very pleased to pass Spruce Meadows) but without the memories of Hwy 8.

Back to the hotel - a load of washing in the laundry - and up the road to Earl's for dinner. Aid and Laurie dashed back to unload the dryer between ordering and serving: luckily we were very quick, as the waitress thought we wanted to be served quickly to get back rather than slowly to allow us time to get here and back. Luckily both activities took 15 minutes and we arrived back as the meals were served!