Exshaw Mountain provides a muffin top background for the Hamlet of Exshaw, Alberta, Canada.
The Hamlet of Exshaw, Alberta is west of the Hwy 1X intersection with Hwy 1A and wedged between two major drainages from surrounding mountains. Substantial impact from June, 2013 flooding is well on the way to being repaired but some trail features are gone forever. Several trail routes have been significantly revised.
Today's parking is near an abandoned home which stands alone among a street of eclectic, well maintained homes. Exshaw Mountain provides a picturesque background and a formidable presence behind the north side of the hamlet even though the summit altitude is a modest 1,782 m (5,850 ft).
The trail-head used this day is just to the right of the north end of Pigeon Mountain Drive at the east end of Exshaw. The short, steep, initial access crosses Bear Trail and continues up to the lateral Powerline Trail which traverses the lower reaches of Exshaw Mountain.
Along the Powerline Trail there are excellent views south to Heart Mountain, Mount McGillivray and Pigeon Mountain across the Hamlet of Exshaw, Lac des Arcs, and transportation routes in the Bow Valley Corridor. These include rail lines on the north of the Bow River and the TransCanada Highway to the south.
There are several massive quarries and concrete or mineral processing plants in the area which provide significant economic income to area residents and to the country.
Having just finished a less than perfectly successful hike to Douglas Fir Spring in the morning, this hike proceeds east on the Powerline Trail until arriving at a uphill junction of dual track road to the left. The short, uphill hike provides a bit of exercise and will climb higher on Exshaw Mountain for better views across Bow Valley.
After enjoying the spectacular views across Exshaw where warm sun and gentle cool breeze, combined with the aroma of new spring growth, caresses the senses, the descent crosses the Powerline Trail, and down a short distance to the more forested and lower elevation Bear Trail.
In open areas along the short return hike east there are excellent views and unique features. The drop off Bear Trail creates a short diversion along the top of the recently constructed flood protection berm, there is significant evidence of flood damage on the return to the car.
A short drive west on Highway 1A provides a brief, restful break at the emerald water of very popular Grotto Pond.
A quick stop at the trail-head for Doorjamb Mountain, Loder Peak and Jura Creek Canyon, a short and quick walkabout passes a hefty pole with a metal basket attached. These show up, scattered about in various locations, without the slightest idea of their purpose or function.
The short stop and stroll up Jura Creek illustrates the devastation of the June 2013 flood.
On the return drive to Calgary, a turn is made into the exit for the Village of Seebe. The historic, narrow, one-lane metal bridge with wooden decking leads to parking and outhouse facility at the Inside Out Experience Rafting Centre which hosts exciting white water rafting trips in season. On this Spring weekday, the offices are closed and there is the opportunity to capture an excellent photo of Yamnuska past the boom line near the confluence of the Kananaskis River with the Bow River.
A wander towards the previous road to Seebe proves Transalta has completely fenced the area so there is no opportunity to photograph the abandoned houses. Back at the bridge, a photo of one of the interpretive plaques shares a bit of interesting Seebe history.
The interesting and energetic blue bird day has been filled with exercise, beautiful mountain scenery and fresh air. There are so many opportunities in and around the Yamnuska Natural Area it is difficult to stop exploring.
Photographs for this day, which included a hikes in the Yamnuska Natural Area and trail on Exshaw Mountain, as well as some sightseeing, were taken on May 19, 2015.