Junction Hill March 12, 2005

Mountain height:   2,241 m (7,350 ft)
Elevation gain:      728 m 
Ascent time:        
2:25
Descent time:       2.15        

Hiking with Mark.

The rationale behind choosing this easy hike was that given the snowy and cloudy weather forecast, we wouldn’t be missing too much, in terms of scenery, by ascending this minor bump west of Holy Cross Mountain . The plan very much back-fired when we discovered that not only was the hike very enjoyable, but was back-dropped by a stunning array of mountains. Also, the weather turned out to be far better than expected – at least at the beginning and end of the trip.

Some the best scenery of the day actually came right at the beginning as we ascended slopes to the start of the ridge. Twisted, wind-formed trees, covered in a light layer of fresh snow, with a surprising blue sky behind, kept the cameras out of their cases. Unfortunately, that blue sky was soon replaced by a white, gray mass of thick cloud and we spent the remainder of the ascent in more or less whiteout conditions. Nevertheless, the ridge was interesting, if not terribly challenging.

At the summit, the weather situation was much the same and so we sat down and patiently waited for a break in clouds. The occasional patch of blue raced by and the sun did come out periodically, however, there was no significant improvement and so after an hour, ten minutes at the chilly summit, we started back.

On descent, the clouds did clear a little more, revealing fantastic views of mountains of the Continental Divide – Loomis, Bishop, McPhail, Muir, Strachan, MacLaren, and Armstrong. With a blue sky behind, the scene may have produced some remarkable photos. Unfortunately, the sky was white, not blue, and so a return trip is definitely in order. An easy and pleasant day out in terrific surroundings.

(When I purchased Volume 2 of Gillean Daffern’s Kananaskis Country Trail Guide, a couple of years ago, I thought that I might use it once or twice, however, it has proved to be a gold mine of terrific hikes with stunning views – thanks Gillean!)

Mount MacLaren

 

A couple of interesting trees on the southwest side of Junction Hill

 

A closer look at the above tree

 

Another tree

 

...and another

 

Approaching the first summit cairn; a second and slightly higher cairn stands another minute away 

 

Stopping to check out beautiful mountains of the Continental Divide: left to right: Armstrong, MacLaren, Strachan, Muir, and McPhail

 

A closer look at Strachan, Muir, and McPhail

 

The west side of Holy Cross Mountain

 

Looking south at highway 940; Raspberry Ridge is just right of centre

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