Nordegg Last Gasp

2:29 p.m. on October 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Every year I do a 'Last Gasp' trip, one last shot at the mountains before the snow hits, usually on the Thanksgiving Weekend. . This time, I had quite a mixed group of ten; one old guy from Belgium, one young physicist from India, a nice young Iranian couple, and the rest from Canada. I also used the event as a bonding trip for my organizers, and had four of them along.  

Snow at on the mountain tops made us pick a walk without too much elevation for the first day. The Meadows trail wanders along the Saskatchewan river, following the bluffs along its edges, and winding up at an open meadow. With the return trip, the distance is about 21 km, just a nice walk to get warmed up.

Just a word of warning if you're ever thinking of doing any hiking in the Nordegg area: getting accurate maps or up-to-date trail guides is virtually impossible, and many trails just wander off into the bush. SAR is many hours away and cell phone reception is poor. Be prepared to do your own route-finding and be ready to find your way out on your own if you get lost.

First, about the risks. These two plaques at the trailhead:


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image.jpg A good reminder to pay attention. Since these two deaths, 8 British SAR technicians have died there doing their training.

Our hike wasn't planned to get into the more dangerous terrain, though. Just an easy walk on an 'iffy' kind of day. Temps around 0°C overnight and a chance of rain.

The trail crosses the Saskatchewan River on a suspension bridge,
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image.jpg threads across a meadow then crosses the Siffleur River.
image.jpg After a few easy traverses up to the ridge tops, the whole trip becomes a scenic stroll, with great views of the valley below and the Front Ranges of the Rockies just beyond. 
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image.jpg A stop for 'second breakfast'...
image.jpg and a unique glimpse of a morning moon.
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On the Kootenay Plains on the other bank, there are teepee poles set up in the meadows. They are used for ceremonial powwows by the local bands.
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image.jpg A stroll downhill through the trees...
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image.jpg then the trail meets the meadow.
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Time for a lunch break beside the river, relaxing in the grass.


While Michel was napping, a younger woman, Caitlin, apparently amused herself by tying his shoelaces together.
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Me, doing 'heroic leader pose #165'

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More ridges, more rivers and more mountains...

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Hoodoos...
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some photo ops...
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image.jpg  A river again...

image.jpg and back to the bridge, where Caitlin gets a bit freaky.
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A stop on the way back to the hostel to get a shot of Abraham Lake. 


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The more exciting hike, done the next day, follows.

7:44 p.m. on October 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Wow! That is some amazing country! I would like to do some hiking with your crew someday.

12:26 a.m. on October 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Beautiful!  I'm very jealous of all your time in the mountains.

12:08 p.m. on October 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Caitlin tying Michel's boot laces together.

12:16 p.m. on October 10, 2012 (EDT)
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I second the previous comments! Peter, if I ever do make it out there I will fully expect a discount for your guide services! lol

12:25 p.m. on October 10, 2012 (EDT)
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rob5073 said:

Wow! That is some amazing country! I would like to do some hiking with your crew someday.

If any one of you plans to be in the neighbourhood, google 'Edmonton Hikers' and sign up (free to join), then check for events coming up at the time that you'll be there.

We'll try to take it easy on you.

12:26 p.m. on October 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Beautiful area, thanks for posting. The few times I've been there in recent years, I've thought about paddling the North Sask from Nordegg to RMH. So many rivers, so little time.

3:41 p.m. on October 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Patman said:

I second the previous comments! Peter, if I ever do make it out there I will fully expect a discount for your guide services! lol

 Only if you'll let Caitlin tie your shoelaces together.

(It keeps her out of trouble!)

10:41 p.m. on October 13, 2012 (EDT)
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You are so lucky to live near the Rockies!  I'll come back on day,

Thanks for posting

8:13 a.m. on October 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Nordegg could be Norwegian -- North Arete, approximately.

9:15 a.m. on October 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Named after a German engineer who established a colliery there, actually.

November 26, 2014
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