Nihahi Ridge - June 4,2011

 

Since we will be doing West Coast Trail in a few weeks we have been doing hikes with weight to train. So far, they have been local hikes ( fish creek etc.) but today we decided to do some altitude. My backpack weighed in at 39 lbs, Robins at 54 lbs and Dan"s at 53 lbs.

The morning started cloudy with drizzle but it turned out to be quite a beautiful day. We decided on Nihahi Ridge ( Nihahi is the Stoney native's word for rock ). We parked at the first lot which gave us a 1/2 hour walk along the little Elbow river. A couple of kilometers in ,we arrived at the trailhead where we saw some bear paw tracks in the mud. About one hour into the hike the trees give way to an open grassy meadow where you can can see the rock outcrop at the top of the trail.This meadow is sometimes frequented by grizzly bears. We saw "a lot" of bear skat. They must have been from Grizzlies as some of the piles were "huge". After crossing the meadow, the trail skirts a rock ledge that has a fence to prevent falls. We felt the weight but we're doing alright so far. The trail gets considerably steeper as we are on the ridge . Further along ,we face a vertical rock face and loose shale .The view is fabulous. We moved onto a relatively easy sramble but decided not to summit as the last push to the top involved a more intimidating scramble that we didn't want to do with this weight on backs.

We went back down to a treed area for lunch. It was a fantastic day. We felt really good with the weight and could have definately carried on if we wanted to. We ended up doing 11.1 kms with total ascend of 1842 feet. We won't encounter any altitude like that on WCT. It was an awesome trainign day and the first official hike of 2011.

 

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Directions

Drive west on Elbow Falls Trail (Hwy 66) for 29 km.Turn left into the access road for Little Elbow Recreation Area. Turn left at the "Trailhead Parking." Walk down the Little Elbow Trail along the north bank of the river until you reach a gate with a Kiosk which has maps of trails of the area. Continue down this road until you see a sign on the right indicating the trailhead for Nihahi Ridge.

Nihahi Ridge

Distance- 11.1 km return from parking lot
Elevation Gain – 567 m (1842 ft)
Total Time- 4 hrs 50 minutes including lunch break
Max Speed- 8.00km per hour
Moving average- 3.2 km per hour ( including all stops and lunch)