Read's Ridge begins at Sparrowhawk on the Smith-Dorrien Trail south of Canmore, Alberta.
Today's hike near Sparrowhawk Mountain will tackle the trail across from and above Spray Lakes onto Read's Ridge. En route photos are captured of cloud hanging over Canmore, Alberta, Canada from Whiteman's Gap between Ha Ling Peak and the East End of Mount Rundle (EEOR).
The trail-head for Read's Ridge is at Sparrowhawk along the Smith-Dorrien Trail south of the Three Sisters Dam. The Sparrowhawk parking area and picnic grounds are clearly signed.
The trail begins on the opposite side of the road. There are beautiful views of Spray Lake and surrounding mountains from the trail-head and along the hiking trail which ascends the end of Read's Ridge beneath Mount Sparrowhawk.
Initial trail through damp, aromatic forest is excellent. At the first rock band the trail narrows and the incline increases substantially. The ascent over the second rock band is steep with loose rock over slab.
At the top of the ridge, dramatic vistas unfold. Across the Spray Lakes there is an excellent view of Goat Mountain and Mount Nestor to the west. Ahead are amazing valleys and sheer rock cliffs.
The route to the edge of Read’s Ridge is clear and straightforward. 10,247 ft (3,123 m) Mount Sparrowhawk and 10,315 ft (3,144 m) Mount Bogart loom large in the distance.
Uncharacteristically, a loss of enthusiasm and ambition occur simultaneously. The climb along the top of Read’s Ridge is easily achievable but the thought of lunching, sunbathing and hiking along the shore of Spray Lake is overwhelming.
The hiking day will become a shorter one as the descent begins on treacherous rocky trail, with hiking poles in full play, for rest and light hiking on the Spray Lake shoreline before returning to Calgary.
Some days are intended to simply relax and appreciate the beauty and solitude.