Distance: 11.5 km
Elevation gain: 1150 m View map Download GPS track
In a fairly unsuccessful attempt to escape the extreme heat this summer we headed north to the David Thompson corridor for a week of camping and hiking. We haven’t hiked in this area before and I had a collection of fairly easy ridge ascents I wanted to do.
Our first hike in the area was Two O’Clock Ridge, an easy hike up a scenic ridge. We started early to avoid the forecast heat, finding the trailhead behind the outhouse in the northwest corner of the Two O’Clock Creek campground, exactly as described on albertawow.com
. I didn’t feel like routefinding at all today and was thankful that the trail was easy to follow nearly the entire way and that where to go at several minor intersections was exceedingly obvious.
We made quick progress along the excellent trail, reaching open grassy slopes about 2 hours after starting out and topping out on the summit less than an hour after that. Wildflowers, marmots, and scenery that was completely new to us kept us entertained on the way up, and a cool breeze above treeline kept the temperature tolerable for most of the trip.
The cool breeze was more of a cold wind on the summit, however, and after snapping some photos and examining Tuff Puff Ridge
and Mount Ernest Ross
, two other summits we’d hike to soon, we descended a short distance to have lunch. We considered continuing along the ridge to the northern highpoint referred to as Two O’Clock Peak by some, but that would’ve involved some significant elevation gains and losses and an annoying plod over rubbly boulders. Instead we decided to head back to the truck and take it easy in the afternoon; this is a vacation after all!
The descent was uneventful with the exception of one significant hiccup. After having hiked over 5000 km in the Rockies without incident, I somehow tripped and faceplanted on excellent (and thankfully flat) trail. I have no idea how it happened and I didn’t even get my hands up to catch myself. I thought for sure I’d smashed my teeth and would be picking gravel out of my face, but after regaining my senses I realized that my huge-brimmed hat had folded down and protected my upper head while my lip had sacrificed itself to protect my teeth, taking some nasty damage to itself in the process. I iced my lip immediately thanks to some snow I’d put in my hat to keep me cool, took a Tylenol for the other scrapes, and continued down. With the exception of my confidence I healed quickly, but on our subsequent hikes I found myself being unusually cautious on even the simplest of terrain.