We left Calgary at 6.45am, after stopping at Tim Horton’s of course, which put us at the trailhead at Upper K Lake at 9am. We finished our coffees, packed up our gear and hit the trail to head up to Aster Lake for the night.
The first 7 or so kilometers of the “trail” takes you through insanely dense forest and heavy deadfall. So finally seeing the banks of Hidden Lake was a welcoming relief.
The lake was completely dry, as the previous winter’s runoff had all drained underground. Which was crazy to see, as when I hiked around the lake back in July it was overflowing into the surrounding woods.
On the drive up, Ashely claimed that she sees at least one rainbow on every hike she goes on. I didn’t buy it. Then of course, as we curved around the banks of the lake—it happened.
After curving around the perimeter of the lake, it was back to bushwhacking through the trees to start the ascent up the headwall.
After a solid 30 minutes in the trees we broke out above the treeline onto the scree slopes. With the bed of Hidden Lake becoming visible below us.
Rainbow game was strong. It came back for more to taunt me.
Just about all the gain on this hike happens on this one headwall, so to say it was steep is quite the understatement.
There’s one final scramble atop the headwall to get up onto the ridge. We powered through and were greeted with snow. A lot of snow.
After losing the trail in the snow, and taking a solid 1 hour detour in the wrong direction we finally found camp. We set up the tent in a clump of trees to shelter us from the frigid winds and snow. Hot tea followed.
After (kind of) warming up over tea we went to explore the rest of the valley and the lake.
Winter is definitely already in full force in the backcountry of the Rockies.
Once night fell, we headed out to try to spot some stars through the clouds, relying on whiskey to stay warm this time around.
Unfortunately no stars revealed themselves through the heavy stormy clouds that had lingered above us all day.
The stormy weather cleared by morning giving us pristine clear skies for the hike back down.
The views from atop the headwall back down to the valley were fabulous, with Upper K Lake and Hidden Lake in full view.
It was a quick weekend in the backcountry, but so very worth it. The views in kananaskis never disappoint.
After the cold, snowy night and 20km trek through the woods we only had one thing on our minds: burgers.
All and all it was an amazing micro-adventure and can’t wait to get out there again. Keep an eye out for part two in our collaboration with Blood and Bolts next month when Kyle and I hit the sierras.