My last mountain of the week was this biatch- I’m sorry, but it is true! She is such a tease. Sitting there, looking down on the Bow Valley, so gorgeous and so close- but man-oh-man, so far away! This girl nearly killed me, from the beginning until the end.
We left my house in Canmore at 9am and drove, with our bikes in the back, to Stuart Creek golf course construction site (Take a left, or the third exit, at the round about- Don’t drive to the golf course). We parked right beside the first set of just-being-built houses (only because we saw two other people unloading bikes from their car).
|Our route- including the lovely bike ride.|
I had found a good description of how to get to the trailhead now that all this construction was going on, and lo and behold, this lovely couple had the same one printed out. Awesome- we were definitely going to find it…maybe not. We set off on the powerline road heading East towards Lac-des-arcs, searching for an old grass road. After about 20 minutes of back and forward biking, we realized we had missed it, and turned around once more to bump into the same couple, who were also on the hunt. We finally found the bike trail ‘Quebexican’ and headed up that- it was much closer to our cars than we thought. This is where we discovered the construction workers had cut down over 20 trees over the trail we were supposed to be taking. We decided to continue riding Quebexican, in hopes of finding another way but after another 20 minutes going the wrong way, and once again nearly winding up in Dead mans flats, we turned around and once again bumped into our new, although a bit frustrated, friends. They continued on to Dead Mans flats, to then take the dirt road back to the car, and we headed back on the bike trail, feeling a bit defeated. We suddenly came across a faint, hidden trail heading left, so we decided we had nothing to lose, and took it. Well, waddya know- We found the dirt road with the chain across it, which lead us right up to the small dam, and the trail head. PHEW! That was a great 1 ½ hour warm up.
If anyone is planning on heading up the Third sister, I suggest just bike right through the construction on the main dirt road to get to the trailhead. It is the easiest way, and the construction workers waved nicely from their large trucks.
|I would recommend heading straight through here to get to the trailhead. |
It is after turning left at the roundabout.
After that adventure, we were pretty skeptical if we were going to make it up this cheeky sister or not. First, it was over 30 degrees out and we were hot! Second, we needed to be back in town for 5pm, and it was currently 11:30. 3rd, The approach up the creek bed was awful! EUGH- never again! I am so sorry, but the clambering over the rocks and trees, and when it wasn’t that, it was so boring. I couldn’t believe it, and both myself and adventure buddy, Dustin, were feeling pretty negative.
|The creek- EUGH!|
After just over an hour, we popped out of the river and climbed up a beautiful grassy knoll with some big boulders on top, surrounded by some gorgeous peaks, and sat, absolutely exhausted, for a couple minutes. We had to decide what to do. We had time to try for the summit, so we got up and pushed on up the scree slope and onto a nice little trail that traverses right along the back of the bowl between the little and middle sister. I think our saving grace was passing a man and his daughter on the way up and having a wee chat. We told him we had run into another couple who had turned around because they were so frustrated in the creek bed. His reply was “Oh, why?”. It was such a simple response, but it brought Dustin and I back down to realize he was outside just enjoying the day- no need to be frustrated or angry, just relax.
|The little Sister|
And so we did. We ran the last portion of the trail to the summit where we felt absolutely exhilarated for just having made it. We had been so negative after out search for the trailhead, and then we had accomplished our goal. What a thrill! It took us 2 hours 45mins up, and 2 hours down, ensuring us enough time for a cheeky ice cream in Canmore- perfect!
I have never understood why people are grumpy in the outdoors- It is such an incredible place! Buuuut I was pretty frustrated after our search for the trail and then that horrendous creek, which actually was not that bad coming down. I definitely learned my lesson though from that cheerful man on our way up- Just be happy to be outside, getting out into our gorgeous world, and being able to experience it and all its's beauty!
Have fun and smile!
|Yahoo! We did it!|