We have seen no reports on the post flood state of the Tom Snow trail north of Bragg Creek, so decided to go take a look.
We had hiked the section between Dawson and the Husky well road previously and found a few big trees across it near the junction with Cox Hill trail, but that was all. But the section up Moose Creek was unlikely to have fared as well, even though the K Country trail report says it’s open, and with no warnings to imply there is anything the the matter with it. WRONG!
For starters, the footbridge over Jumpingpound Creek below Spruce Woods trailhead is encased in a tangle of flood debris that’s caused the creek to shift north. Luckily, there’s a crossing place downstream at the cobble flat, but it’s only good at low water.
We knew some boardwalk had recently been built on Moose Loop interpretive trail so went and had a walk around it and sure enough there is one stretch of boardwalk and a new footbridge. We expected the usual fallen trees to weave around, but were surprised to find the entire slope above Moose Creek had slid and taken the trail with it. This means two crossings of Moose Creek, again only feasible at low water. Will this section of Moose Loop be abandoned or realigned we wondered?
As we headed south on the Tom Snow up Moose Creek valley, the damage was fairly minor until we neared the first creek crossing. After this and most of the way to the cutblocks near the watershed with Bragg Creek the damage is substantial: the old road eroded into deep holes and long deep ditches either filled with stones or mud, or crisscrossed by fallen trees, or missing where the creek bank has collapsed. Here and there, rough bypass trails and pieces of flagging are appearing to right or left of the “trail.”
On gaining the last creek crossing just before the watershed we decided that returning the same way would take too long—hard to believe this used to be a fast easy walk—so we cut across cutblocks to the pipeline trail and followed that out to the Husky well road in Coxhill Creek valley. The distance was farther but the going a lot easier. On hitting the road we walked the cow trail alongside, then got back on the Tom Snow at the pipeline crossing.
What can be done with the trail up Moose Creek, which, it should be noted, is also the Trans Canada Trail? Nothing much with the trail itself we decided. A completely new trail needs to be built in the upper two thirds of Moose Creek valley. Perhaps not in the valley bottom itself. From the pipeline trail we noticed that cutblocks extended a fair way downstream above the west bank. It might be possible from near the end of the first section of trail, the reasonable part, to take a new trail up a gentle slope onto the bank top, then run it along the edge of the cutblocks to join with the present trail just before the last crossing of Moose Creek. At least it would be dry and safe from further flooding. Any other ideas? Bikers?