Distance: 8.5 km
Elevation gain: 430 m View map Download GPS track
A week of rain throughout the Rockies (and east into Saskatchewan as well!) had Sandra and I very eager to get back out camping and hiking and so we set out for the Castle Wilderness and its forecast sunshine. Our plan was to scramble Victoria Peak and Ridge on Monday followed by Loaf Mountain and Spionkop Ridge on Tuesday.
After an expected crappy weather drive down on Sunday we awoke to a beautiful day of Environment Canada sunshine on Monday. In other words, there wasn't a hint of sunshine and even the treetops were hidden in fog! Nevertheless we set out for our planned hike, but without even being able to see the mountains (or road at times) we aborted our ambitious plans and settled on plan B: An easy walk up two hills near Beauvais Lake.
We started the hike at the west end of Beauvais Lake, but as there were a lot of trails in this area we relied heavily on a GPS track to take the guesswork out of getting started, as well as at several ambiguous intersections along the trail. Once on the trail the going was very easy and long sections of trail had actually been mowed (as in Parks has taken a lawn mower along it!). Other sections had been weed-whacked, and while it might sound a bit silly the seasonal vegetation in this area is very thick and several feet high; without the clearing I'm not sure we would've been motivated to complete the hike.
We followed the trail past the ruins of an old homestead and a few beaver ponds, mostly enjoying the easy walk but also trying to figure out why fog coated and thus made visible spiderwebs near the ground but not at face level, before turning sharply and ascending the southeast end of Mount Albert. After a short snack break at the top where we were afforded a few quick views as gaps appeared in the cloud and fog, we started the steep descent towards Mount Baldy, a mere bump a short distance to the northwest. The trail became a bit indistinct here, but flagging and cairns showed us the way through the vague spots. After a quick break on the summit of Mount Baldy we started back down on a wide, mowed trail, passing another old homestead before arriving back at the truck.
While this hike did salvage a day of terrible weather, the hike is much more suited to an after-dinner stroll or the off-season than to a summer day.