King Creek canyon walk, Kananaskis Country, AB Sept. 5/14

Submitted by Lori S. on Sun, 09/07/2014 - 11:30

After a very heavy snow in the high country on September 3rd (40cm reported where the highway crosses Highwood Pass at 2207m), there was still snow cover there and at high elevations throughout the area on September 5th.  Here's the view from the parking lot at Highwood Pass (Highwood Ridge in the third photo):


We were dissuaded by the snow cover from our hoped-for ridge walk and instead walked up King Creek canyon... not alpine (at least to the point where we stopped, though one can continue, of course) but it made for a different sort of a walk and some impressive canyon scenery.


The walk involved much boulder-hopping and clambering over log piles (probably debris from the 2013 flood), as we wended our way from one side of the often narrow canyon to the other, necessitating many creek crossings over slippery logs.


There was not a lot of plant growth in the canyon, due probably to the force of flood waters in 2013, tearing out the creek banks, and also seemingly due to the shady conditions caused by the high walls.  Some alpine-ish species (Rhodiola integrifolia, Saxifraga aizoides, Campanula rotundifolia) that were growing in the cliff walls seemed quite etoliated.




More views:


A dipper - it's amazing to consider that these tough little birds are nonmigratory:

And back at the mouth of the canyon, looking back at Mount Brock in the distance:


Submitted by RickR on Sun, 09/07/2014 - 21:07

Impressive and cathedral-like, Lori.  Fantastic!

In the third pic, are the "lines" up the forested part of the mountain from avalanches?

Hi, Rick!  Thanks for looking.  

Yes, I believe so -  the treeless strips between the treed strips would be avalanche tracks, where tree growth gets knocked down whenever it's able to grow up.

Submitted by Hoy on Sat, 09/27/2014 - 13:26

Yes, very impressive landscape! And a tough route to walk!

Is it a kind of basalt bedrock?

The fern, could it be Cystopteris fragilis?

The dipper (Cinclus cinclus) is the national bird of Norway.

Slow walking with lots of stream crossings... a lot slower than going up a steep uphill!  

The cliffs are Mississippi or Devonian limestone formations - the sedimentary section is very thick here, with all the thrust faulting, and volcanic intrusives are few and far between.   

Cystopteris fragilis does occur here, and you know a great deal more about ferns than I do, so you are probably right!   smiley

Submitted by IMYoung on Wed, 10/15/2014 - 09:39

Lori- your photos are as wonderful as ever!

 (Just trying to catch up here - gave up on some searches - finding this system as difficult as ever - such a pity.  )