For what seemed like the umpteenth time, we trundled along the Seventy Buck valley logging road last Tuesday afternoon, only this time on snowshoes. We followed the tracks of the rancher’s quad for the first kilometre, then were on our own breaking trail. We did wonder about shortcutting along the cutline — would it be choked up with deadfall and bushes or what? but decided to be purists and stick to the road that climbs unnecessarily high — a nice view of Eagle Hill ahead — then descends again to the valley bottom. The best part of the route was the gradual climb up the aspen meadows of the southwest face of the hill onto the regular route, then the long traverse left to the summit. During this time the wind had been getting up and was ahowling by the time we reached the top, so we stayed all of 3 minutes before starting back down. Our toes were numbing up and also the sun was setting behind Seventy Buck Ridge.
By the time we reached the bottom of the southwest face we were wrapped in the cold blue of a dusk coming far too soon. Nevertheless, on arriving at the north end of the possible shortcut cutline we decided to give it a go. If we ended up having to bushwack, well, we had our headlamps! Actually, it turned out to be a good decision: The boggy meadow in the middle was frozen and the one big fallen tree was easily bypassed. Also it was almost dead flat. We agreed that this was the winter route we would take in the future. No more extraneous hills for us! (Look for red flagging at both ends of the cutline.)
In the valley we had been sheltered. When we reached Hwy 68, the wind was vicious. Snow was flying into the air, and the opening of car doors and the trunk was a definite hazard. After cleaning snow-driven gunk off windows and lights, we drove carefully back to Calgary and into the parking lot of the Green Chilli for a hot curry.
Everyone go now while there are our tracks to follow along the various roads and trails! Bob, I think you mentioned you might snowshoe it, so would be interested to get your comments. We thought it was great, the snow was good throughout and there is a definite objective with a view.
Getting there: Drive Hwy. 68 to the junction with Powderface Trail. Then carry on for another 4.1 km and park at the side of the road.
Distance 8.24 km return, 7.64 km via the cutline. Height gain: Just over 305 m (1000 ft.) Difficulty: easy