The Wedge - Kananaskis Country - Hiking Alberta

 

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 entire hike would be 3.9 KM (2⅜ miles) each way with an elevation gain of 900 m (2,953 ft) to maximum altitude near 2,438 m (8,000 ft).  The middle of this hike is very steep. The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

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.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Within a short distance, the wiggly trail, littered with dead fall, passes through a more open area.  As the trail continues in 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 Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

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.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada 

 

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 Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

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.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

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.

 

 The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

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.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

 

At the dry creek bed, the swing right to follow prevailing, best quality trail pop 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.

 

The Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

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 Wedge - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Thank you for your comment, Sandy. I like to give readers a 'feel' for the hike so they can choose the ones they might enjoy the most. The photos are an indicator but show only a small portion of the visual range and have no way of conveying the sights, sounds, odours or feel of the breeze. There is no substitute for being there but I am glad you are able to recall memories from your time in Alberta. Unfortunately, the old farm dwelling sits in a field only a few hundred metres west of dense real estate development. It will be demolished in the next round of development and I wanted to remember this building after it is gone. I expect it will be very soon. I see it in the morning sun when I am driving west to the mountains. It is very beautiful and likely has a rich history. That is the way I will remember this old farmhouse. What I see in my mind is different than what the picture shows and represents, but maybe a few local people will see it in the morning sun against a golden field and remember it as I will. A mental painting. A work of art. Thank you for your kind words and I appreciate you reading my blog entries.

Great hike Barry :) I always read your blog at work......may be not the best idea and it makes me forget my duties :) Did you eat the mushrooms?? ;) Charlie

Hello Barry, Every time I read your latest hike I am simply gobsmacked and I just want to paint every single scene. Not only are you an amazing photographer, this takes "arm chair travel" to a new level. I do hope the best of your photographs is published in the sort of art book Yale does so well. That farmhouse should be restored as the architecture is so unusual. Thank you, Barry, for making this Albertan abroad feel less homesick. From Sandy

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