|View of Mount Baldy from the gendarme|
Oh how I’m always itching for a hike. It’s been several weeks since I’ve made it out to the mountains, and that makes me itchy. Today, my good friend Sony and I decided we would venture out for a half day hike and conquer Mount Baldy. It seemed like a good one to do, according to the scrambling bible “Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies”, by Alan Kane. It’s also a short distance from Calgary- after exiting at Highway 40, it’s a little ways past the Barrier Lake picnic area. The weather was a bit hit and miss, but by the time we were all geared up and ready to go, the rain seemed to hold off. Phew.
|Ready to hike: Sony and Me. Or is it Sony and I?|
The ascent was quite pleasant. The incline wasn’t too steep, and it was a nice hike through the trees before revealing great views of Highway 40 and the surrounding mountains. Then the ‘fun’ part began once we hit the scrambling.
|I give this hike 2 thumbs up!|
|Taking in that fresh mountain air :)|
|View of Barrier Lake|
According to the book, Mount Baldy is rated a moderate scramble, and I can see why. There were quite a few technical sections requiring up and down climbing, or careful stepping over many loose rocks. The exposure was a bit nerve-wracking at times, and it didn’t help that the wind was fierce! Sony once proclaimed “This is not hiking!” Although some of the scrambling was out of her comfort zone, she persevered no problem and did awesome! You got this Sony… NBD.
|Approaching the scramble|
|That wind was fierce!|
|Posing for a photo :)|
Mount Baldy stands at 2192 metres. Even though it’s not as high as some of the other peaks in the area, it makes a great half day hike. There’s an elevation gain of 800 metres, but we didn’t reach the summit. Sony and I left the car at 9:40 am and reached what Kane refers to as the gendarme (a climbing term and French word referring to a sharp pinnacle of rock or isolated spire on a mountain ridge) at 11:40 am, before returning to the car at a leisurely pace for 1:55 pm. But our pace wasn’t the concern here; I was just happy to be hiking with Sony, with whom I haven’t hiked since our adventures to the Grand Canyon. We always have so much to chat and laugh about, and what better way to spend that quality time than hiking together :). At some point, I’ll have to revisit Mount Baldy to reach the summit and traverse the ridge to South Baldy, and then proceed even further to the higher West Baldy peak. I think that would take a full day though.
|Panoramic view of Barrier Lake from Mount Baldy|
|The down climbing was quite technical|
|Relaxing at the rock sofa|
|We just descended from an intense scramble. NBD.|
So you’d think the crazy winds, technical rock steps, or exposure would be the scariest parts of the hike. No way! Shortly after leaving, I had to pull over when suddenly I felt something gross splatter onto the side of my head. OMG, I exclaimed! A gigantic bee had the unfortunate event of hitting the side of my open window, which led to its oozy guts flying onto the side of my head before its body landed in the back seat’s inside door handle. It was incredibly disgusting. Thankfully, Sony was there to wo-man up and dispose of the bee carcass into a Starbucks bag I was holding. Thanks Sony! You’re my hero, even though you somehow managed to brush the dead bee across my hand and smear more bee guts on me. But don’t worry. That doesn’t end our friendship.
|Poor bee :(|
|The gendarme (top left) with the summit in the distance|