Moose Mountain, 2014

October 25, 2014, at 03:00 AMerika

The day was overcast, but precipitation free as we headed off to Moose Mountain. Right off the bat we encountered a couple rapidly returning who immediately stopped to inform us: there was a bear on the trail. And it won't get off! Though after a few moments of consultation, it sounds like the bear did actually start meandering off. Just not immediately. Heh, at least it wasn't charging, eh? Read more...

9 am departure from the Humpty's aka. the junction of Hwy 22 and the TransCanada. We had a last minute bail out due to exhausted parents (not surprising and entirely understandable) so the 4 of us carpooled off towards Bragg Creek, and along Hwy 66. The road to the parking lot of Moose is long, windy, with decent drops. Likely best with snow tires, not or not at all during the winter months. Perhaps best taken by skis if its not driven...

Anyways, you drive along until the gate bars the way, and scootch into the parking lot. Follow the only trail that you're supposed to follow (which really doesn't seem like much, but does - as the guidebook states - head off from the far end of the parking lot. I think it was a west/northernly direction, but I may need to hike it again to confirm). The trail is wide and old-road like winding through trees with only negligible ups and downs. Our couple who encountered the bear found their bear spray, and felt comforted with the larger group of people and so proceeded with us. There was also a group of 4 hardcore mountain bikers (given the cooler and windy weather) who went ahead. When there were no shouts of bear, I felt more comfortable.

Eventually the trees fall away and the first peak pre-Moose comes into view. Its covered in gray shale, and fortunately was snow-free. But a quick pit stop was required before all the trees disappeared entirely. This first peak gives you the option of straight up or switch backs. Depending on how your knees are doing, feel free to select the option that works best. I did like having poles to come down.

At this point it becomes quite windy, but its an amazing view as rolling hills of shale surround the majestic Moose Mountain which rises distinctly above the lot. Whatever route might connect Moose to Jumpingpound ridge clearly requires medium-scale scrambling, and is likely beyond my current courage levels. This windy plateau before Moose must often have decent gales swooping across, as a stone shelter has been constructed over the years. At this point the elevation gain actually becomes less. The route looks more intimidating than it is, and eventually we found ourselves protected from the wind - as promised by a returning hiker - at the base of the fire look out. A couple stone shelters demonstrate that its not always wind-free, but we had a good day apparently.

The firelook out is equiped with large signs indicating no admittance, post box/guest book, locked outhouse, helicopter landing pad, and a scattering of storage shacks. Some are fixed precariously to the mountain top with interesting cables. I'm not quite sure how the stone picnic bench was brought in, but I can't imagine it gets moved often.

Lunch was had, including delicious seaweed wrapped rice triangles from one of our fellow hikers. No takers for the green tea, so I indulged in its warmth. It was a short lunch, though longer than expected, and we returned uneventfully the way we came.

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