On Sunday I joined some friends for a fall hike up Mount Allen in Kananaskis. I didn’t have a chance to hike nearly enough this year so a late season hike sounded pretty exciting. It might have snowed on Saturday morning but it was actually pretty nice for the rest of the day so i was hopeful that conditions would be good. It was a bit chilly out at times, depending on whether the wind was blowing at you or not, but overall not too bad.
From the get go you are just climbing up. And up and up. I picked up some hiking poles for the trek and I was really glad to have them. It definitely helped me feel more sure footed! The first part of the hike you are walking through trees. There would be a break every once in awhile and you could catch a glimpse of an amazing view.
After awhile you break out of the trees and it is just open…and up. As we climbed up my friend Jason crested a hill ahead of me, then the rest of the group was behind us. All of a sudden I see him come back and the words out of his mouth took a moment to penetrate my brain.
“Guys, there is a grizzly up ahead!”
I’ve talked about bears on here before. I certainly don’t want to meet a bear, but I figured that statistically my chances of ever encountering one would be pretty small. I joked with my sister-in-law on Friday night that I was hiking with a bunch of speedsters on Sunday and that I’d likely wind up as bear bait.
And here was a bear. I’ll be honest, the first though that went through my mind was, “Oh…cool…I want to see!” And then a millisecond later my next thought was “Oh crap, no I don’t!!”
Jason turned around and scrambled down the hill and passed me and all of a sudden I was in the back!!!!! We regrouped and watched as the bear walked away from us. It might just look like a black blob in this picture, but trust me, that’s a bear right in the centre!
After we saw the bear walk away we figured it would be safe to continue on since his route was different from where we would be going. Shortly after this point there was snow all around and the wind was whipping up. We found a sheltered spot to grab a snack, and then continued on. The snow got to be quite deep and myself and another girl were pretty well ready to slowly make our way back down. I still had a long ways to go till the summit, but it really was a fun hike! All in all 5.64 mi with 3233 feet of climbing (total hike would be 10.2 mi). Today I was sore all over from this hike – legs, butt, abs, triceps..?? After our hike we all went out for pizza at a local restaurant – Mitillini’s. So good!! Despite our wildlife encounter I loved this fall hike. It was a great way to mix things up. I think I’d really love to give snow shoeing a whirl this winter too!!