Every winter the section of Highway 40 from the turnoff to Kananaskis Lakes Trail and… well actually I’m not sure where the closure is on the south side of the road. But suffice to say they close the highway down in the winter (December 1), to accommodate the migration of Big-Horned Sheep.
The road reopens on June 15th, and I like to take a drive around the entire loop of the highway as soon as I can after that. My thinking is that the wildlife won’t all be scared away from the roadside by traffic yet, (although this has never been proven true, and I’ve never actually seen anything but a few sheep on this stretch of road at this time of year).
I got off work early on Wednesday day, and headed down south through Turner Valley and Longview, and west onto Highway 40, into Kananaskis Country. It was a nice day but by the time I got onto Highway 40, there looked like there was a storm coming through, and the wind was blowing so hard I could barely stand up outside.
With all the rain we’ve had this year, the foothills were an unbelievable colour of green, and I stopped for photos a few times along the way before entering Kananaskis country. The wind and weather was worsening, and I was feeling a little exhausted, and unsure it was a good day for a drive, but since it’s a loop I was already committed, and had to press on.
By the time I got to the top of Highwood Pass it was snowing (yes… snowing)! Not to mention there was still about 3 feet of snow in the parking lot of the pass. So I kept on going. Originally I had thought I might hike up to Elbow Lake and do some fishing, but with the snow coming down in the higher elevations, I was sure the hike to the lake was getting snowed or at least rained on.
It wasn’t until I stopped off at a little waterfall at the viewpoint for the Elpoca mountain range, and got out and did a bit of walking and climbing around and shot photos for a while, that I started to feel better.
After that, thinks just kept getting better and better. By the time I got to Buller pond (I still wanted to do some fishing, although there was zero activity on the pond so it never did happen), the wind had stopped completely, the sky had cleared up a bit, and the light was absolutely perfect.
It turned out to be easily one of my best trips into Kananaskis, with great light and beautiful scenery (it’s unusually green out there as well), and multiple bear sighting (but that’s a whole other story).
By the time I got home I had shot over 600 photos.