Happy Easter to all! Is there a better way to spend the day than hiking in the mountains? I guess that’s debatable, but I know my preference :).
Yes, the forecast called for snow. And boy did it snow. The snow even scared away some of my hiking companions. But in the end, three of us brave souls ventured out for a quick ascent of Prairie Mountain in Bragg Creek.
As another early season hike, the ascent was tough at first. Our lungs and legs struggled to adjust. And Prairie is quite a steep one. But as with most hikes, we soon found our stride while immersed in great conversation. We wore microspikes for the full duration of the hike, and thank goodness we did- a snowy hike means a slippery one.
The snow continued to fall and the summit remained engulfed in the clouds. With every step, we moved closer to the Canadian flag that signaled the top. Visibility was poor, and as I stopped for photos, Jess and Shari quickly disappeared despite being a few metres away. You’d never know, but on a clear day, gorgeous mountain ranges are visible to the west, while Moose Mountain, the prairies, and Calgary are clear to the east.
Regardless, hikes in the mountains are incredibly beautiful after a fresh snow fall, and Prairie felt like quite the accomplishment. I almost let the weather stop me from going. The inner dialogue of “It’s cold” or “It might be miserable” did happen in the morning, but my love of the mountains trumped my doubts. And I’m in training! There are many mountains to be hiked this summer. Some larger and more intense than I have ever done. I need to get those legs in fighting form. A little snow can’t get in the way of that…
Prairie Mountain. From Bragg Creek, follow Highway 22 south and head west on Highway 66. At the Elbow Falls turn off, right before the winter gates, park at the north side of the road. The trail heads north up the mountain at the Beaver Lodge sign. Elevation gain: approximately 700 metres. We began the hike at 12:10, arrived at the summit for 2:40, stayed long enough for a few photos before we froze, and then headed back down for a 4:40 finish. A longer Prairie day than usual, but as an early season hike, we were in no rush.