Mystery on Riverview/Elbow Valley loop

We finally got around to snowshoeing this popular hiker’s loop of about 7.5  km on a Thursday afternoon in mid January, the day warm and sunny, the meadows gleaming pale orange through my brown-tinted sunglasses.

riverview snowshoe

One of the many views of he Elbow River from Riverview trail.

From Paddy’s Flat campground access road we got onto Riverview (brand new red marker at the start) and enjoyed an easy climb up and along the sunny bank of the Elbow, the river running noisily below us in the deep shadow of the canyon. At the prayer flags viewpoint we turned inland, clinked across Hwy. 66 and climbed to the junction with Elbow Valley trail in a meadow. Turning right, we followed recent foot prints all the way back to our vehicle  (alarmingly deep in places; thank God we had snowshoes) past a snowman and up and down hills to Moose Mountain Road where we hit the crux — an icy wall of snow pushed up on the east side of the road by a grader. In shade we zigged down to the little creek, then in sunlight climbed to the top of hill 592389.

gloveComing down from the hill, I was lagging behind Tony, taking pics of the sun setting behind the hills, when I noticed a woman’s padded red glove on a tree to my left, obviously put there by someone who had found it on or near the trail. Then looking to the right I saw bits of a red something poking up from under the last snowfall in the meadow. Going over there, I pulled out a red padded parka with a fur lined hood that in its wet  bedraggled state looked like hair at first glance,  a red fleece jacket with a full-length zip, a very large red infinity scarf and the matching glove. I hung them on a tree branch, the parka dripping water, then hurried off to catch up with Tony near the turnoff to Paddy’s Flat  I told him of my curious find and before I knew it we were trogging back up in the blue of the dusk for a further look around. I think Tony was looking for  a body (I’m told that when people become severely hypothermic they shed their clothes) but we found nothing more.

On the drive home we discussed the facts as we saw it: 1. One doesn’t just mislay a whole set of good quality outdoor clothing.  2. Apart from the fleece, the clothes were not the garb of a bona fide hiker or snowshoer.  3. Why leave the clothes lying on the ground when there are convenient trees nearby. 4. Why were they left there and why had no one come back to collect them?

A couple of days later we  reported the find to a conservation officer, who told us that no one has been reported missing in K Country. So that’s good. But the mystery remains…

Riverview snowshoe
9 comments… add one
  • Peter I Apr 30, 2019, 2:18 am

    Hi Laurel. Not long after Kevin disappeared near highwood pass my friend (member of Calgary and area search and rescue) and I spent a day out there searching for him. We scrambled to the snow slopes on the east side of mount Tyrwhitt and then to the summit of Tyrwhitt but found nothing. We descended from grizzly col into the valley directly south, for at least a few km along the way finding the entrance to a deep cave and also a blue striped button up shirt hanging on a tree branch. This didn’t match the description of what he was wearing the day he went missing however. That was a number of years ago so that shirt is probably long gone now.

  • Laurel ambrose Apr 22, 2019, 2:03 pm

    The skull located in the Lost Lemon mine region was not Kevin. I have verified this. It was smaller, based on statements from the locator, who took me to the area. It was part of a skeleton situated off the old access road parallel to highway 40. My suspicion this was a body dump. The pelvis was located just off the old road. There is at least one other missing male report from many years earlier further south of Lipsett. The mountains have secrets. Many of them.

  • Laurel ambrose Apr 22, 2019, 1:57 pm

    Peter, can you contact me directly regarding what you saw in the Highwood? Thank you so much. Laurel

  • Gillean Daffern May 14, 2015, 4:04 pm

    Hi Chris,
    not sure to which you are referring… Regardless, have heard nothing more either way. It’s probably best to contact K Country’s Public Safety Section.

  • Chris May 14, 2015, 3:03 pm

    Hi Gillean, I sent you an email regarding this post. We are looking at doing a search exercise in the area with Foothills Search and Rescue. I am looking for any further info that you may have here.

    Thanks 🙂

  • Gillean Daffern Nov 25, 2014, 10:22 pm

    Apparently the remains found were not conclusively identified as Kevin’s. So if not him, who was it? Anyway, the posters are still out there asking us to keep looking…

  • Peter I Jan 22, 2014, 1:46 pm

    No we only found a tatty blue button up shirt hanging from a tree south of grizzly col. Did they verify it was Kevin Kennedy’s remains near lost leman? That’s who we were looking for. An old friend actually found the skull near lost leman but I never heard anything after that.

  • Gillean Daffern Jan 22, 2014, 12:06 pm

    Peter, sounds like you found a whole pile of clothing then? Usually one finds the odd tattered T-shirt, a glove or sunglasses. I guess the hiker you were searching for was located last summer, found by tourists wandering into the forest from the Lost Lemon Mine pullout.

  • Peter I Jan 21, 2014, 12:31 pm

    That is strange! It reminds me of clothing my friend and I found hanging from a tree when we were searching for the missing hiker at highwood pass years ago. (Although what we found didn’t match the description of anything he had been wearing.) Hopefully no one is lying out in the bush somewhere on moose!

Leave a Comment