Saturday, November 30, 2013

Prairie Mountain

I finally hiked Prairie Mountain after 2 failed attempts! It was not because I physically failed! I was not able to find the trail. This time I did and finish it in an hour and half. Prairie Mountain in Highway 66 is an easy hike. That is why it should be done in winter to have a challenge added to it. You first claim up the road and then the first half an hour is just walking in woods. Then it becomes a bit steep and that is where you need your traction device. I stopped for a second and put the ones that had been given to me by the employer last year when I went to the site. I also bought a better pair from MEC and had them in my pack but didn't have to use it. You walk up for half and hour or a bit more, depending on your speed and the last 15 to 20 minutes is a vast area which is not very steep and takes you to where the cairn is. This area is not wooded but you see a few trees here and there. When I enter this part of the hike, I saw an animal from distance. on that height and the shape of it told me that it must be a Cougar. It could be a Wolf, Fox or Lynx but I do not think they come up that high in the mountain. Besides I don't think there are Wolves and Foxes in Kananaskis. I know Lynx is seen in Banff National Park. Unfortunately I didn't have a pair of binoculars or a good camera with a zoom lens on me and the photo I took doesn't show anything so I'm not posting it. The weather was pleasant and I didn't even had my windbreaker on! I only had a sweater and a jersey on the top. No tuque, scarf, gloves or mitts! 
I took a few photos and headed down. Descending was bit harder because the trail was covered in snow and I had to be careful. The problem with the traction devices is if you have them on and there is no snow, there is very likely that you slip on steep ice. The traction devices are good for site when the ground is frozen but not so good for steep hills, especially when there is ice or rocks. The plastic part of that on the sole makes it very slippery. For that matter I slipped and hit the ground two times! Fortunately there was no injury. For the last part I almost turned to a runner and made it back to the car in almost an hour. In general hiking Prairie Mountain is recommended in winter and no extra gear is required. Just have everything in your pack in case you need them. I didn't even have water or any snack. Very easy hike which does not require extra energy. 
(Photo: View of the mountains on the Southwest side of Prairie Mountain. The highest one which is almost in the centre of the picture is Mountain Glasgow. It looks like it is more challenging compare to Prairie Mountain, without a doubt)

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