The Chef and I have been wanting to do a hike in Alberta for about a week now and today we finally made it. Although it didn't turned out what we had hopped for but it was not bad either. I tried to keep my meal to minimum last night so there would not be a problem with the sleep but there was a problem but not from overeating. It was because of the assholes in the neighbourhood who have no respect for others! I guess with frequent sleep I eventually woke at 04:50 AM by telephone ring. That was The Chef and he said he would be leaving his place soon! WTF? Just freaking call me when you're here! So we left and eventually reached at the gate in Highway 66 at around 07:15. I was not expecting him to call at that time or even show up on time but it happened!
Our goal was to hike from Little Elbow Campground to Tombstone Campground and maybe beyond but with the Winter Gate being closed we ended up walking from the Prairie Creek, where the gate is located to Little Elbow Campground, some 02:30 hours on way. My mistake was when I visited Kananaskis last, I went to Ice Cave and it's access road is reached before you get to the Winter Gate. For that reason I thought the gate would not be closed due to probably less rainfall and snow but I was obviously wrong!
We had an easy walk but it was cold and at times the weather turned to snowy. There were absolutely nobody on the entire road when we were heading toward the end of the paved road. We were hoping to see wildlife particularly because there were many small piles of feces could be seen on and around the road. We didn't see anything until we were almost half an hour away from the end of the road and that was when we were taking a few photos beside Elbow River. At first I thought that was a small heard of Moose but soon we realized that I was wrong there were three Horses approaching us. They looked like they were wild horses because as soon as they noticed us they first stopped and looked at our direction and then walked back and then towards the river. They again stopped and when they made sure we were trying to get close to them, started crossing the river and eventually hid themselves in the forest.
|Highway 66 after Winter Gate, which is located at the trail-head of Prairie Mountain, was fully empty all the way to where pavement ends. Elbow River is seen on left.|
Our next encounter was when we were on the gravel road walking towards the campground and I saw a couple of White-tailed Deer. It was snowing and hard to get a shot of them. They were waiting on the hill between the trees to see what we were doing. We left them alone and moved forward and when we turned back to get on the road again we saw them jumping and running over the road!
Our trip back to the gate was quite similar unless we saw people coming up on bicycles. By almost 13:20 we were back to the vehicle, finishing our 06:00 hour walk.
(Photo: One of the horses is seen crossing the river here. I assume Elbow Valley gets wider in summer after snow on the mountain melts)