Zenfolio | Matthew Clay | McLean Hill, Feb. 17, 2018
Visitors 19
20 photos

Distance: 8 km
Elevation gain: 385 m
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It’s not that I’m sick of winter, it’s that I’m sick of the awful weekend weather! Today the weather trend continued, so under cloudy skies and with snow forecast to start around noon we had to once again stick close to home and plod up an obscure hill.

Today that obscure hill was McLean Hill, a forested bump with dozens of crisscrossing and eroded OHV trails and clearcuts. In any season other than winter it would be ill-advised to hike here as the local OHV crowd takes over the place, causing so much damage that it regularly makes the evening news. Today the most appalling of the damage was buried under a foot or so of snow, but the huge number of random trails through the forest made navigation a bit annoying in the beginning.

We started our hike at the closed gate on McLean Creek Trail (road), across the main road from the general store. The road was plowed and so hiking was easy, and 600 m from the truck, immediately after crossing a Texas gate, we turned left onto an OHV trail. This lead to a cutblock and a spiderweb of trails and we ended up following one that had been packed down earlier in the winter as it weaved its way up the ridge. The going was generally easy, although fluffy snow over a foot deep in open areas made it a bit strenuous.

After just 1 h 20 min of hiking we reached the summit. In better weather there is apparently a nice western panorama, but today light snow and low cloud limited the view to the vast clearcuts surrounding the hill and scarring its sides. It was also -21 C, so we didn’t linger long at all.

In a futile effort to see something interesting we decided to follow an OHV trail that descended southeast from the summit, then picked up a cutline heading southwest. The cutline lead back to the closed road, and then 2.5 km of fast and easy hiking that was nearly entirely downhill brought us back to the truck. It certainly wasn’t an interesting or scenic hike today, but any hike is a good hike! And it was certainly better than practicing my potato impression.

Categories & Keywords
Category:Lifestyle and Recreation
Subcategory Detail:Hiking
Keywords:Kananaskis, McLean Creek, McLean Hill, hiking