Prairie Mtn - Prairie Creek
Prairie Mtn/Prairie Creek 11.5km 796m elev gain
This is the first time we've done this trail in the fall. It was still a little bit smokey from the BC fires, as we drove up it was hard to spot the mountains in the distance. The parking lot was pretty empty even at 9:30 though, winning.
This was the extent of the company on the way up plus a few ptarmigan. My absolute favourite kind of company.
The uphill never gets any easier, 655m over 3.5 km is 'interesting'. You can see how hazy the distance is, usually it's clear as a bell up here. Also, it's cold and very windy. This might be the first time we've had the top entirely to ourselves, yes please.
The flag selfie is a Prairie tradition, the Alberta flag is a new add since we last came up. I remember finding a person-size snowman one time. It's always different.
It was too chilly to sit so we continued past the flags and turned into the woods to see what the alternate route back was like.
Definitely nowhere as steep, it is longer so the descent is more gradual. My knees were excited.
Blair witch moment.
We came out to a beautiful meadow at 7.3km. It was so warm we had to sit for a while to take it all in. The last 4km on the Prairie Creek trail took a bit longer than I expected (I had no idea how much distance we had added on) and we started seeing a lot more traffic - people and bikes. This route also added 140m gain with several ups and downs before reaching the road again.
Here's our final route (anticlockwise), the first small photo is the summit flag, if you turn around right there it would be 7km but instead we kept going for a more gentle descent through trees (11.5km). The other photo is the meadow where the trail meets Prairie Creek - turn left.