Trying to get a full day hike in as a mom is hard. Hayley, Cat, and I try to schedule one or two epic days outdoors kid free and recently we were able to head out and tackle Mount Crandell in Waterton. Was I nervous to do such a big hike after the disaster of Crypt last year? Nope! Because I’ve been doing marathon training since January, I figured this would be a piece of cake. It wasn’t, but it was still a great experience.
We were so dependent on our AllTrails app (not sponsored) to keep us on track on this hike. The trail is not always super clear and there are some markers but they aren’t always easy to find.
There are two ways to hike to the top of Mount Crandell and we chose the west route from the Crandell lake trailhead. You start off on that easy trail I love and veer off a separate trail that will take you all the way back to the townsite if you follow it. But very shortly after turning onto this trail you have to watch for a goat trail to head up the mountain. There are more than one trail, we started off going up one and came back down another. The AllTrails app is very helpful in this case.
Up, Up, Up
We headed up as soon as we turned onto the goat trail and while it was uphill, I was so proud of how good I felt! I was sweating, breathing heavily, and my heart was pounding but it felt good! My legs felt good and I mentally felt good. THIS is what hiking feels like when you’re in somewhat shape. It’s hard but enjoyable. It feels good to be back in this place.
The whole way up we kept losing the trail. We pulled out Hayley’s app constantly to keep us headed in the right direction. Things were feeling challenging but doable and then we hit a REAL steep part. I think at one point the app said we were on a 75% grade- it was HARD. We would pick a tree or rock up ahead and walk until we hit that to rest. I always picked the landmarks closest to us so we could rest more. Ha ha.
Then we hit the shale part of the hike. I’ve done a few peaks in my life and I forgot how exhausting going up shale is. I went up that on my hands and feet, going up at a sideways angle, and resting anytime I reached a solid boulder or patch of grass. I think Cat tracked that it was 1km of uphill climbing to reach the first peak.
Mountain Peak Views
But when we hit that first peak- WOW! You remember why you climb mountains when you get to the top like that.
We walked the ridge line, enjoying the views and revelling in the hardest part of the hike being over. It’s a little uphill to the main peak but it was such a low grade we flew up that to reach the peak.
I don’t know what the platform is for on the peak of Mount Crandell. We thought maybe it was for a helicopter, but it was really small. Any readers know?
There is also a weather tower? Cell tower? From here you can find the hikers register where I signed the date and our names and of course, plugged my blog. Haha! I’m shameless.
We didn’t stay too long at the peak as we were dreading going back down that steep grade. We did make a quick stop to make snow angels in a patch of late snow.
The way down is always harder
I love going down shale. You plant your heels and you do a little walking/skiing action down the mountains. Hayley was nervous at first but soon she was flying down the shale covered mountain too. It was an absolute blast until we got to the regular packed trail that was still insanely steep.
The way down is always harder! The amount of effort it takes to post your back leg and lower your front cautiously, planting it securely before shifting your weight forward is insane. And this hike is very steep and the way down lasted forever.
There were a lot of missteps, yelling, and cursing and everyone’s legs were shaking and fatigued. Right before we got back to the main trail I had a bad fall and scraped my hands on a couple of rocks. I was so mad that I almost made it without a fall.
Days with Your Friends
After getting back to the main trail, we walked along looking up at Mount Crandell with so much pride. Life is all about pushing yourself and the sense of accomplishment is incredible.
We finished off the day with incredible pork carnitas from The Taco Bar and custom pops from Rocky Mountain Pop Shop. We looked over our photos and videos and laughed until we cried at some of the shenanigans we were able to capture from the hike.
Climbing a mountain is a pretty good use of a day, but I would have had fun walking around the block with these girls. It’s crucial for moms to take these breaks away from our families and spend some time getting back to our silly, fun loving selves.