June Crowsnest Pass Trip

In my last post I wrote about Kananaskis Country. From K-Country I drove down the forestry road to Crowsnest Pass. This is a fairly well maintained gravel road, but it was dusty. It was late in the evening, and I wanted to find a place to camp. They say when criminals are on the run, they go somewhere familiar. I’m not aware of any criminal activities I was involved in, but I did the same thing. The trailhead for the Promised Land hike is out of the way, so I drove out there (my poor car) and slept in the car. Now I may just have a little old Honda Accord, but I had a pretty sweet setup with the back seat folded down, my feet in the trunk and my head up by the driver’s seat. My thermarest provided a nice bed, and the fact that it’s an old car means that it had good ventilation without letting in mosquitoes. As far as I know, no one drove by the whole night, and I even slept in till 6:30 or so. The trees shaded my car so the sun didn’t wake me up for a while.

I didn’t have any plans, but I was almost out of water, so I drove down to the Frank Slide. If you turn south just on the west side of the Slide, there is a little gravel road that starts in Frank, goes through the slide, and comes out near Hillcrest. I took this little road and stopped at one of wider areas in the slide. After a little bit of rock-hopping, I got down to the Crowsnest River and sat on a big rock, letting the sun warm my back as it rose, and watching the river flow. The swallows were swooping around, there were some ducks puttering on the slow swampy parts, and then a couple deer came out to join me. They wandered around eating and drinking in the river for a bit, then I stood up to get a better look and they went bounding off. After relaxing a while and filling up my water bottles, I still hadn’t decided what to do with the day. I drove off to the tourist info booth to ask about hikes, and they showed me this brochure with a bunch of hikes on it that I couldn’t have. Grr. But they told me I might be able to get one at the Crowsnest Museum in Coleman. I found one at the museum, and decided to go see the falls on the York Creek.

I have hiked up to the plane crash (the North York Creek hike), but had never seen the falls on the same river. It turns out that the upper falls are a few feet away from the road on the other side of York Creek. The lower falls are also just a short walk, although you can’t get very close to these.

After getting back to the car, I drove out to Chinook Lake, which is a provincial camp ground (along with lake and trail). It looks like it would be a pretty nice place to camp – the sites are somewhat secluded in a thick forest of tall thin pines. It is the standard $14 per night of all (I think) provincial campgrounds. I drove down to the lake, had lunch and read for a while. In the afternoon I did the short easy walk around the lake, which is pretty nice, but nothing spectacular. There is a whole network of trails that go all over the place here. The trails are mostly flat, and not especially exciting, although many of them are groomed for cross-country skiing in the winter.

More coming in bit…

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