Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Well, today I learned a couple of interesting things about myself. It all began with me getting up at 6am... I stopped for breakfast and then headed out to Kananaskis Village with the plan to hike up to Mt Allan, via Centennial Ridge. To start with, I was the first car in the parking lot... a very BIG, empty, unfamiliar parking lot... and for some reason this just weirded me out - visions of being axe murdered or mauled to death on the trail ran through my head for a fleeting moment - I must watch too many movies!! I was actually feeling soooo jumpy that I think I lurched off the ground and gasped when a beautiful cow moose and her baby came out of the trees near where I was parked. It took me a second to recover from my stupidity/irrationality and grab my camera for a quick pic.
I learned at that minute, that while being in the parking lot by myself wasn't a problem, the fact that I may be the only person out on the trail shortly thereafter was what was creeping me out. Huh?? But it was going to be such an amazing day... and it's a fairly popular area... how could I be so silly? C'mon! Alright, so I semi-talked myself down from that particular ledge, but I admit I still doddled around, packed and re-packed, peered into the bushes... basically PROCRASTINATED... and felt huge relief when another car pulled up right beside mine. I would have been ecstatic had they been doing the same trail as me, however just knowing that some other human beings were going to be in the vicinity, really calmed me down. Strange, I know. So off I went - more than 3o minutes after I arrived! Tsk.
About 2-1/2 hours up the trail (with no end in sight!), I learned that even though I enjoy (and NEED) my time and space alone, I much prefer engaging in these long, drawn out hikes with someone else along for company. Perhaps it was because I was somewhat tired to start with? but the feeling of monotony set in real quick... and that, combined with the relentless steepness, soon grated on my nerves. Plus, taking pictures is more fun when somebody else is in them!!
I also learned though, that I can perservere if I have to - or really want to. "Stick-to-it-ive-ness" I think is the technical term... which is how I ended up making it through the claustrophobicly dense trees, up the switchbacks from hell over some meadows, along blocky, freakishly windy ridges, and over a seemingly never-ending loose pile of rubble to the summit of Mt Allan.
Now I'm sure it's not sounding this way, but overall, I must say it turned out to be a great day. The skies stayed clear and the temps were perfect. I gathered another rock for my collection. And I got to take some photos. How bad could it have really been?? Heh heh.
In my opinion however, the guidebook's and map's descriptions of the whole event are slightly embellished. The reward for effort ratio I thought was low, and there are other trips I'd recommend before this one. Unless of course you have a couple of people to go with! Also, make sure the weather forecast is good for the entire day... you spend alot of time on high, exposed ridges and it would be a terrible place to get caught in a thunderstorm.
Mount Allan via Centennial Ridge
Time (car to car): 6 hrs
Elevation Gain: 1400m