Published: November 28th 2011October 2nd 2011
Oct 2 2011 Where:
Highwood pass, Kananaskis country Highlights:
Yellow Larch trees What are larch trees?
Ganesh heard about this trail that was famous for its fall color. So, once again, grateful for being so close to these mountains, we drove in to Highwood Meadows.
Btw, Highwood Pass is the highest pass in Canada that could be reached via a paved road. It is at an elevation of 2206 m(7237 ft).
Two trails head from this parking lot.
1. The absolutely incredible Ptarmigan cirque
2. Highwood Meadows Trail - that branches into an unnamed trail.
But right at the trailhead, a board greeted us. A board that read that the area was closed as a grizzly bear with cubs were in Ptarmigan cirque basin. We were not sure if "basin" meant entire area. But the parking lot was full. So, we waited & joined a few people who seemed to be confident about where they were going.
They were all going in the same direction and to keep up with them, Ganesh had to give Srishti a ride, which was gladly accepted by the way.
The trail seemed slushy. It had
rained the previous night(& snowed at higher elevations). But the weather was so fresh. No sun, but the air was crisp. Perfect fall weather.
After a point, we saw so many people on the trail that I managed to let the guilt(of disturbing a bear in critical fall season) off. Apparently, the bear was somewhere else.
The trail lead us to closer to what looked like a dead end...another cirque.
Cirques are the birth places for glaciers
At a point, we came across the left-overs of a pond. It had very little water, but enough to reflect some beautiful yellow larch trees. It was windy at this point as we were out in the open.
The trail got steep and Ganesh did not want S to take this. At this point, she started walking & was in the initial whining stage.
So, I let them stay by the lake while I hiked up to see what I would find there. The trail climbed steeply but flattened out soon. Only to climb up again. By then, I met 2 hikers who said that they saw my child with her father down by the lake. I went to a point where the trail diverged
into two. I asked someone who seemed to know the trail, where it lead to and he promisingly told me that it went high up to grizzly pass & then connects to other trails. The other trail lead me to the top of a ridge & he did not know beyond that.
Both seemed inappropriate when I had family waiting down for me in windy weather. So, I turned around.
The hike back was so beautiful with the Ptarmigan cirque straight ahead. Very soon, I reunited with the family and we headed down. By now, we slowly cajoled S into walking, crossing creeks, talking, singing, rhyming songs, etc. It was so easy to see how difficult the trail was for her. It involved climbing up a lot & S held up pretty good. Thankfully, we had hikers who struck a conversation with her. It kept her inspired for a bit.
So, we make her relax for a bit and as a dramatic reply, she just fell on the ground as if she fell asleep. Just then a friend with a green hat passed by & told her that she looked like a pink mountain goat(her coat was
). That did the trick.
All I had to say was, "baby mountain goat, please walk fast, please jump, please get up"...and the job would be done. In no time, we were at the parking lot.
It became windier, and we carried our lunch indoors to finish it. The 5th minute the car was on the road, S fell asleep. 4.30 pm is not the best of times we would like to find her asleep. But we knew she had walked a lot & needed it.
The drive back home was uneventful, but quiet.
Like magic, she woke up when we reached home.
It was not too long that we were outdoor, but enjoyed the fall colors so nevertheless.
~travelbuffs How strange that nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude! -Emily Dickinson
There are more photos below