We found another great close-to-Calgary shoulder season hike. Wasootch Ridge may be my favorite hike ever, in fact.
The whole weekend was forecasted to be rainy and cool, which probably deterred a lot of people from heading out to the mountains. Not Dana and I! We even conned my sister’s boyfriend Mike into joining us. Lucky for all of us, the hike’s close proximity to Calgary allowed for a leisurely 10 AM departure from Calgary.
Turns out that a 5-10°C day is the perfect kind of hiking day, at least for a hike like Wasootch.
Wasootch’s trail head is not very pronounced, but basically just beside the parking lot are a few picnic tables. Behind them, there are a few paths that head (what feels like) straight up the mountain.
We were hardly ten minutes in and I was peeling off my raincoat because I definitely didn’t need the extra layer when climbing!
You climb and you climb and you climb, and then you’re finally rewarded with the ridge. It was such a beautiful day, despite the low clouds and lack of sunshine. We only ran into a few other hikers (not like last weekend’s circus at Barrier Lake).
The trees are pretty gnarled from the wind gusting at them, but they’re beautiful in their own way. Some little flowers, like crocuses, were popping up here and there. We encountered very little snow thankfully – the vast majority had melted.
At the false summit, we were high enough that the clouds engulfed us and we could hardly see beyond the edge of the cliffs around us. It was amazingly quiet up there and I felt like I was alone in the world. I’m not a strong or confident scrambler, but next time I’d like to try to reach the actual summit. We were so close!
The way back felt much longer, perhaps because I was tired. It’s pretty steep in some spots on the descent back to the parking lot, and I let out a few yelps as I slid a few times.
Mike brought his dog, Kira, and Penny came along too. Kira must have ran at least double the distance we hiked. Penny stayed by our side pretty much the whole time (other than that one squirrel chase…). They slept soundly on the way back in the car!
We hiked about 12 km with 900 m elevation gain so us humans were pretty tired too after! I felt like a genius because I put ribs in the slow cooker when we left in the AM, so when we got home they were perfectly done and we got to eat right away. Note to self: coming home to a cooked dinner is awesome!
I’d highly recommend Wasootch Ridge! It was a great conditioning hike, plus it’s very close to Calgary so you don’t spend a bunch of time driving to the trail head. Winning!