Monday, August 10, 2015

Mt. Coulthard

For the second time in the past 3 weeks I selected one of the furthest possible areas that you could go hiking, simply because the same guy whom I took to Plateau Mountain, had showed interest to join! Our last trip, just to trial-head, was around 150 km, one way. This time I made sure we'd go further. I convinced him, indirectly, I would say or I can even say that I lured him to go to Crowsnest Pass area and hike to Dakota DC-3 crash site in Coleman. This was 240 km, one way! and of course the final destination was a mountain, Mt. Coulthard on Alberta-B. C. border. 
With that in mind I have to add that a RCAF DC-3 plane hit the mountains and fell in the woods south of town of Coleman in Alberta in Jan. of 1946. The plane was carrying 7 crew and was on its way from British Columbia to Nova Scotia when the incident occurred and all the poor people died. I don't know much more about the incident but since then the site has been a popular hiking, biking and off-road riding spot for the locals in southern Alberta and eastern British Columbia, not to mention the idiots who might travel some 240 Km to get there! 
Anyways we got ourselves to Crowsnest Pass and the guy said he wanted to get a coffee. He pulled in the packed parking lot and I guess it was some 08:15 hours. I saw a truck parking just next to us and as I was getting out of the car, I saw a guy leaving the truck. I approached him and asked him if he was from around the area. He confirmed and I asked him if he could help us to find the trail-head to the crash site. he agreed and we entered the coffee shop and waited in the line. My buddy came out of the washroom and I explained to him that the gentleman was about to help us to get to the trail-head. Then I whispered to him that we had to buy him a coffee as a sing of appreciation. The idiot first hesitated and then when I insisted, he agreed! We got the coffee and then the guy said he would take us there. We simply followed him and he showed us the road. It was only 4 km until we found a spot near the yellow bridge in the area that we had to park. By the time we started it was almost 08:40 but I didn't mind because we could have roam around without any results, probably for more than half an hour without finding the trail-head! 
Beautiful yellow star-shape flowers cover parts of the area. Not sure about the name!
It was very hot but I managed to go without difficulty. The guy was tired and was complaining about the rocks on the trail! Although a recreation road for ATVs and motorcycles we didn't see anything of anybody until we actually reached where the remaining pieces of the plane are scattered after they crashed 69 years ago. The guy was dead tired and got so happy that he was resting. There is a nice little waterfall nearby as well. So after taking a few photos I suggested the guy to follow the trail up to the top of the waterfall so we could go to the summit of Mt. Coulthard. He first agreed but then yelled from bellow that he would be going back! I didn't care because I wanted to go higher up. 
After a short steep ascent you reach a cirque. There are two summit-like and ranges around at both sides but the main summit and the highest is sitting in the back, in the south. I walked up on the loose rocks and some very faint trails until I guess I reached the ridge after almost 1 hour. From there, which is Alberta-British Columbia border, my assumption is that you have to hike east to get to the actual summit but considering the high wind and the guy whom I had left way below, I decided to head down after taking just a few minutes of break and enjoying the surrounding views. I do not think it was a long way to the summit, maybe half and hour or a little longer but I went down. By the time I reached down and joined my buddy, it was almost 14:00. He had enough rest I assumed so we headed down in the heat of afternoon. There was nothing much going on on the way back except that we saw a few mores ATV and motorcycle riders going up and down the trail but no hiker. The only interesting things on the way back were delicious wild Raspberries that I enjoyed them and a little cute bird we saw. i think it was a Ptarmigan or a Grouse. I'm not sure. 
The path to the crash site and the surrounding mountains. The one seen on right is, I guess, Andy Good Peak. Summit of Mt. Coulthard is behind the one on left
We reached the trail-head at 16:30 and marked our 07:50 hour trip. I enjoyed the trip and even the guy complaining and nagging didn't bother me. I wish I had gone to the summit but it is OK. I guess the hike would have much nice, had it been a nicer weather but not a big deal. I forgot my scarf and I drove the majority of the way back to the city and we reached home at about 20:00! 
(Photo, top: This is taken from the ridge and is aiming north. Crowsnest Mountain is seen at the center. I could not get a better shot considering I only had my small camera on. To my knowledge the main summit should be at my right to east but i could be wrong)

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