Seventy Buck Valley is in the Sibbald Creek area of Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
Parking for Seventy Buck Valley is at roadside 4.5 KM (2¾ miles) west of the junction at Sibbald Creek Trail (Hwy 68) with Powderface Trail in Kananaskis Country. The location is on the north side of the road across from Crane Meadows.
Seventy Buck Ridge is the first ridge west of parking at roadside but on this sunny Spring day the decision is made to hike an off trail ascent of the ridge on the east side of Seventy Buck Creek. There is an obvious rocky outcropping on the south face which might provide excellent views over Crane Meadows. The bushwhack may be a good test for my new eye glasses in challenging terrain.
Simple route finding is slightly compromised by rocky drainages, however, crossings are within easy range on the sustained ascent. Terrain varies between easy and challenging. Snow cover in the forest increases with elevation but open spaces facilitate progress. The alternative is navigation through dense brush. Areas of blow down are more challenging. Near the top of the ridge there is a large section of lichen-covered rockfall.
Poor vision in ugly terrain motivates a retreat. The alternate descent route is straightforward with the exception of one large area of blow down where the path of least resistance is a challenging climb over a jumbled maze of fallen, dead trees. A partially frozen creek with mossy borders creates a pleasant interlude until previously created tracks in the snow lead back to the car.
Slightly to the west side of Seventy Buck Creek, there is an old logging road with a trail sign which reads 'No Motorized Vehicles' beneath the likeness of a bicycle. There is time in this day to walk part of the road.
Various sections along the east side of Seventy Buck Ridge have been logged over many years but the road is still a pleasant and scenic walk through forest. Unfortunately, access to the trail which ascended to Seventy Buck Viewpoint has been obliterated. Tiny new trees will repopulate areas which have been logged in the past.
After a couple of kilometers of easy hiking on a very gentle ascent, the snow deepens in protected areas to a point which encourages return into south views of forested foothills above Crane Meadows.
Before the return to Calgary, it is nearly mandatory to observe the early spring beauty of Crane Meadows. Soon the area will burst into Spring colors. Deer Ridge provides a familiar background with the distinctive two humps on the east horizon.
Crane Meadows were originally named Warhpepan tidan (Sour Grass clearing) by Indigenous People. Source 'Kananaskis Country Trail Guide', 4th Edition, Volume 2, Page 251.
From the same source, Gillean Daffern's iconic Kananaskis Country hiking guide informs the name, Seventy Buck, originated many years ago when rancher Percy Copithorn, searching for stray cattle on snow covered ground, lost a wallet containing 70 dollars. Perhaps the wallet is still out there. It was not found on this day.
The new eye glasses fail the day's test. Possibly a longer learning curve. Frustrating.
Early Spring photographs for this post were taken on Monday, March 9, 2015 in the Sibbald Creek area of Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.