Geohiking Kananaskis Country: West Bragg Creek

With the GeoKids back in school after their 2 week spring break, Mr. & Mrs. GeoK headed out to do some geohiking in West Bragg Creek (Kananaskis country). We made a couple of quick stops before reaching the trailhead: the first stop in Redwood Meadows was to find a couple of recent hides and a second stop along Township Road 232 to log our first brass cap this year (outforthehunt’s Brass Cap Cache virtual).
There were only 3 other vehicles in the parking area. There was definitely snow on the trails, but it didn’t look too deep, so we threw the yaktrax in my backpack but left the crampons and gaiters in the car. We headed over to save kananaskis which was only about 150 meters away and spotted it from a good 30 meters out, as it wasn’t under any cover at all.

2008 West Bragg Creek-1025
2008 West Bragg Creek-1024

Based on our experience reaching and finding this cache, we decided we were appropriately equipped for our outing and headed off down the Crystal Line trail in search of a couple SnowWalker hides. Of course as soon as we stepped off the trails to cover the last 25 meters or so to reach the first cache, we ended up in snow up to our knees. But we didn’t let that bother us and soon had the cache in our hands.
While it took us a little longer to find the next one, we eventually succeeded there as well. And then it was time to decide…retrace our steps about 1.5 km and then start along the Sundog Loop trail or head cross-country about 500 meters to connect part way along Sundog Loop trail. Perhaps unwisely, we decided to head cross-country and ended up in snow to our hips a couple of times but we did manage to avoid 2+ km of mostly backtracking distance.
It started snowing as we neared Happy Trails To You! but there was still a great view back down the valley. After logging the cache we took a short break to eat our lunch while standing on the trail.

2008 West Bragg Creek-1032
2008 West Bragg Creek-1033

The other interesting thing about this spot was noticing the contrast between the lodgepole pines that were planted in 1973 after some of this area was clear cut as compared to the original growth (the darker green, taller trees in the background that look like they’re up on top of high ridge).
We then retraced our steps for about 750 meters and then picked up the last part of Sundog Loop and another couple SnowWalker hides. Just before the parking area we headed east along the other arm of the Crystal Line trail for two more geocaches. I had a few terrain problems at the one I found and when a swag item fell out of the cache as I twisted the lift off, I decided to trade for whatever it was laying several meters down the hill – turned out to be an iron pyrite sample, which youngest GeoKid is very happy to have. I left a very nice Calgary pin and one of our pathtags.
We arrived back at the parking lot with about an hour to spare before our "absolutely must leave" deadline, so with another couple caches within 1 km of the parking lot we each took an FSR and headed up the hill towards our individual targets. Mr. GeoK had the harder climb, found an activated geocoin which he picked up to move along, and then ran all the way back to the car just so he could say "What took you so long?" Meanwhile I found In the Hostel Loop, where I picked up a travel bug that had been logged into the cache a couple months ago.
All in all we found 10 caches in K-country today while covering about 12 km of trails. While our boots and socks were pretty damp by the time we finished making our way through all that snow, our spirits were high. It was a great day to be out geohiking and we’d like to say a big "Thank You" to SnowWalker, who hid most of the caches we found today.

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