“Trail-ish” was the theme of our hike to the first peak of Turtle Mountain in the Crowsnest Pass on Canada Day. Samara and I spent another July 1st adventuring and this hike was definitely an adventure. I hiked to the summit of Turtle Mountain back in 2015 and I remember it as being hard but doable. I invited a friend and told her it was an intermediate hike. Boy was I ever wrong! Ha ha!
So the hike started with me taking Samara up the wrong trail. I was bragging about how good I was with directions because I easily steered her to the appropriate parking area after only being there once in 2015. As we walked through the woods (getting eaten alive by mosquitoes) I looked around for anything that seemed familiar. The trail we were on started to take us straight up and I told her as long as we were going up we were ok. And then the trail just stopped.
I looked around and realized that I was definitely lost. So we started bushwhacking straight up the side of the mountain. I kept seeing something just ahead that looked “trail-ish.” These “trail-ish” trails were game trails and would stop randomly so we continued to climb.
I knew that if we got to the ridge we would find the main trail and so we huffed and puffed our way up.
Just when I found another “trail-ish” trail we heard voices. Samara followed the voices and discovered the ACTUAL trail. Ha ha! We laughed at how misadventures are the best adventures!
Once on the trail, we headed up, up, up and I was DYING! I was huffing and puffing and so tired. I told Samara this gave me a better insight or people who aren’t in shape and who don’t know that it gets easier over time. If I thought it would be this hard every time I would never hike.
This is a hike where you can really benefit from hiking poles. Most people we passed had them and I know it would have really helped me as we went up the loose terrain.
When we finally made it to the top I was ecstatic, and my legs were jello too! Ha ha. We took some photos at the top and then got as close to the edge of the rock slide as felt safe and took out our lunches.
We were facing the east side of the mountain looking at the Frank Slide and didn’t see how quickly the clouds had moved in from the west.
The wind started to howl and we quickly signed the register at the top and hoofed it down. It’s real unstable terrain for a while though and as the wind howled and the rain came down, we picked our way down as safely as we could.
After a short time, the rain stopped and I felt super relieved when we hit a more stable part of the trail.
We didn’t stop much on the way down because I was worried my legs would give out on me if I rested too long. That’s how exhausted these out of shape legs of mine were.
This mountain has several trails you can take on the way down though and after we passed the spot we came out of our bush whacking was completely unfamiliar terrain.
Samara was leading the way and I kept heckling her about the need to find the right trail. We kept looking for a path that looked “trail-ish.”
It was pretty funny coming down because in the end, our bush whacking saved us a good 30-45 minutes of hiking. Ha ha!
We were almost to the end when we came to the end of the ridge and couldn’t find the trail to get down. A hiker at the bottom saw us and pointed us in the right direction to where we could find the main trail. Otherwise we were going to try to free climb down which was not safe considering how tired I was.
If you’re considering Turtle Mountain I highly suggest that you be in somewhat good shape, have hiking poles, and start on the right trail head (marked with yellow spray paint).
It was such a good day and Samara and I are treasuring these adventures because she will be moving to Kelowna in August.
Have you ever done a hike you weren’t in shape for? I’ve been sore FOR DAYS!