A leisure day at Wedge Pond with a brief mountain foray in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
Following my morning hike to Hummingbird Plume Lookout, lunch is enjoyable on the shore of Wedge Pond prior to a leisurely, flat hike around the tranquil pond. The rustic trail-head to 'The Wedge' has been located knowing full well there will be insufficient time to complete the hike to the scree slopes beneath the final approach to the summit of The Wedge.
The trail-head is vague between the small metal culvert, and the wide gravel path from the parking area to the shore of Wedge Pond.
Within a short distance, the wiggly trail, littered with dead fall, passes through a more open area. As the trail continues through forest, the route past a dry creek bed is lost and a retreat to makes a shift left above the creek bed. Trail quality improves substantially and, unusually, gets better with distance.
The trail to 'The Wedge' is relatively flat at the beginning from the shore of Wedge Pond but as distance increases, so does the angle of ascent. At first, the elevation gain is subtle but before long it becomes exponentially aggressive as the trail tracks a very beautiful cascading creek. This initially gentle hike changes into a high aerobic, heavy breathing, sweaty, thigh thumping workout.
Elevation is gained aggressively and rushing water adjacent to the trail is a refreshing companion. The picturesque creek also masks other sound, so routine calling out occurs to potentially alert wildlife of my presence. They will leave or hide.
The relentless and consistent climb departs from creek-side onto a ridge over terrain which has similar characteristics to a very steep lateral moraine. There is sheltered snow in the valley to the left and fast, white water far below on the right as heart-thumping elevation is gained rapidly. Periodically, there is a view of The Wedge above.
Looking back, views of Wedge Pond begin to appear below. The higher the ascent, the more the pond is visible, and the smaller it gets. The view of mountains behind on the west side of Kananaskis Valley is impressive and increasingly expansive.
Turnaround time is set at 3:15 PM so there will be time to stop at the Barrier Lake Visitor Information Centre on the way home to report the bear sighting and trail conditions on the Hummingbird Plume Lookout hike. Based on that commitment, ascent is proceeding as quickly as possible.
When the time arrives it is very difficult to abandon the ascent. Common sense prevails and reluctant turnabout begins the initially very steep descent.
At the dry creek bed, the swing right to follow prevailing, best quality trail pops out from the forest very near the parking area. This exit location is a better entry point than the original taken from the shore of Wedge Pond. Look for the firewood sign, at the wide gravel path behind the parking area washrooms for the better trail entrance as shown in the photo below.
Or, nearby, search for these two mushrooms surrounded by strawberry plants.
Just kidding. And yes, they are mushrooms.
Every time, the drive west from Calgary, passes an old farm dwelling, struggling to maintain dignity in the face of Calgary's fast encroaching real estate development. It seems important, on this approach Calgary to stop and capture this image. Perhaps a bit of immortality for memories from the past.
The old home and barn have been predictably torn down to make way for new development.
The hikes on this day at Hummingbird Plume Lookout, Wedge Pond and part of 'The Wedge' have covered a wide variety of terrain and endeavor. In the near term a full day will be dedicated to achieving the scree slope below The Wedge for an excellent workout and a grand view.