Cobble Flats - Kananaskis Country - Hiking Alberta

 

Cobble Flats border the Elbow River near the end of Hwy 66 in the shadow of Forget-Me-Not Mountain.

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

In prior years, Cobble Flats offered an excellent opportunity to enjoy a picnic or barbecue beside a picturesque canal hosting a footbridge, with side rails to lean on, for enjoyment of the calm flow of quiet, reflective water in the canal.  The bridge led to quiet forest strolls along a matrix of good trail on the far side of the canal.  This special place holds indelible personal memories of conversations and camaraderie within interrupted but prevailing friendship.

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

The bridge at Cobble Flats in 2008

 

Following the drive west from the Diamond T Loop hike at Stations Flats, arrival at Cobble Flats makes it immediately obvious and not surprising that June 2013 floods have created havoc here.  The bridge is gone.  The canal is wider with faster running water, even this late in the season.  Much of the dense, surrounding shrubbery has been swept away.  Many mature trees are still collapsing into unstable ground.  Some of the pathways have survived with significant modification.  Many are gone, washed away forever.  This hike proceeds on and off trail to survey damage at rivers edge in the immediate vicinity of the two adjacent parking areas.

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada_01 The original location of the small bridge over a narrower canal at Cobble Flats in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__02 Ground and plant life at Cobble Flats has been swept away in the June 13 floods in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Hiking way on rustic trail leads through brush beside the widened canal, the dislodged bridge appears to be jammed in place downstream.

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__04 What remains of the badly damaged canal footbridge seems to jammed downstream at Cobble Flats in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__05 What remains of the badly damaged canal footbridge seems to jammed downstream at Cobble Flats in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__06 A closer view of what remains of the badly damaged canal footbridge which seems to jammed downstream at Cobble Flats in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Final access to the damaged footbridge is denied by fast running inflow, or ancillary tributaries, near the damaged and relocated footbridge.  The hike continues exploring the edge of the Elbow River.  Surrounding terrain is badly scrambled.  Bedrock at river edge has been exposed where all ground cover has been washed away.  The Elbow River has a number of revised channels and the much larger rocky apron is littered with dead trees and miscellaneous lumber.  Isolated ponds of crystal-clear, still water are nearly artistic pieces with shadow and reflection making the surface come alive.

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__08 The damaged footbridge is directly across from this position past fast running water at Cobble Flats in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__09 The damaged bridge at Cobble Flats in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__10 Some of the crystal-clear ponds host reflective shadow and are like art works at Cobble Flats in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__11 Large tracts of shoreline have been washed away, exposing bedrock at Cobble Flats in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__12 Flood debris litters the shoreline at Cobble Flats in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The views east along the Elbow River show the vast amount of land which has been swept away.

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__13 Still, clear water, reflective ponds isolated from the Elbow River shoreline at Cobble Flats in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__14 The view east along large rocky borders of Elbow River at Cobble Flats in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__15 The view further east along Elbow River is cluttered with dead trees swept away by flood at Cobble Flats in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

On the return hike to the parking area, there are numerous examples of survival and regrowth.  Many newly-formed channels of Elbow River provide a matrix of water paths as foreground with Forget-Me-Not Mountain looming behind.  Some earth hosting a bush remains stubbornly attached to a large boulder stranded in the river after the flood swept all the surroundings away.  We skip a few stones across the water in Elbow River.  As the sun settles low in the south-west sky, Forget-Me-Not Mountain establishes a prominent presence on the horizon.

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__24 A bush struggles to survive on a large, stranded boulder in the Elbow River at Cobble Flats in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__26 Forget-Me-Not Mountain looms large behind the new channels of the Elbow River at Cobble Flats in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__28 Skipping flat stones on the Elbow River at Cobble Flats with Forget-Me-Not Mountain behind in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Cobble Flats, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada__29 Low sun reflecting off the Elbow River with Forget-Me-Not Mountain behind at Cobble Flats in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The traditional stop at Bragg Creek on the drive home acquires the customary ice cream cones at Frontier Candy and Ice Cream.  The grand-weather, weekend day combined with motorcycles, a Show and Shine and flood reconstruction has turned the parking lot into a crowded mess.

Photographs for this post on June 2013 flood damage at Cobble Flats were taken on October 5, 2014 in Kananaskis Country west of Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada.

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