I wanted to go to Cascade Mountain this weekend and downloaded a brochure from Parks Canada website about it. They make it so scary that I said I should change the destination. I was struggling all week long with the net to get valid, trustful information but was not successful. Then called Parks Canada office in Banff but never got through. So I said I should have had a Plan B and selected Grotto Mountain in Canmore.
I had this in mind to leave early considering the good weather, (I checked it through Weather Network, every day, all day long!) but then changed it to a time around 07:30. I found the Alpine Club of Canada easily with the help of the new G. P. S. (Not the Magellan one! Will probably write about that later) and I was about to park when I saw a small group. They recommended parking there and then there was this very nice guy who tried to help me. I have no good memory so could not remember everything! One thing that I based my trip upon it was the approximate time which was 4 hours.
I entered the forest through the trail and after a short hike went down and passed a dry gully. Going up the trail again I reached a three-way with a sign but I neither could figure the way out nor remember what he said! So I headed west. He had warned me to not to take the bike trials which there were lots of them there and mostly loops. So I had to get off the trial and simply climb up three to four time to finally find me on a very steep and challenging path. There was nobody else and although I got a bit tired I kept a good paste and went up. This was fine until I got out of the forest. I saw the peak from there and on that time I had been going up for 2 hours so I kept going. From there I could not find the damn trail and also there was no sign of any cairn anymore, although I had seen a few on the way. As I had the top of the mountain in front of me I told myself that I should have just simply gone up until I reach the peak but the damn terrain turned to snow and lose rocks. I kept going until I was able to see solar panels for probably a weather station but the wind got stronger. I sat down to decide what to do and I realised that I had been going up for almost 3.5 hours. I looked at the ridge on the west side of the mountain and saw a group of people on there. That's were I should have been! I said to myself but then what is this trial for. Seeing them encouraged me to go back up and I said: I would descend with them. They know the road. But then looked down and I really didn't look good. If I had lost my balance, I would have rolled down for a good half an hour, probably and on loose rock with sharp edges. The damn wind also made me thinking twice and that was when I decided to go back.
Going down, as usual, was not easy, especially on a very steep trial like that. I had to make sure to stay on the trail. It was fine for most of the first hour or so. I looked back and I saw the people going back from the same route, the ridge. I kept going down and reached the trees. I tried to avoid the edges as there were high cliffs at the right (west) side of me (It's obvious that the group were at the other side). I then again lost the trail when I got to the trees and on one occasion I slipped and injured my left hand and a bit of my right thumb. I also damaged my wind part on the left side. It was not very bad so I used my neck scarf to stop the bleeding and going down. The rest of the way was not so bad although I had to change direction a few times in order to stay on the route. I eventually reached the car at about 16:25 hours.
I have to do this hike again and be sure to take the right trial. I may check that with Canmore Nordic Centre before I go.
(Photo: This picture taken after a few minutes of the commencement of the trip, shows Grotto Mountain slightly to right from the center.