K2inCanada's Blog

August 1, 2014

Stunning

Filed under: Animals, Canada, Hike — K2 in Canada @ 11:23 PM

I can’t believe we have never done this hike before. It’s less that a 2.5hr drive from home and you don’t even have to climb up the mountain to get to the meadows. There is a perfectly fine road that goes up to a parking lot only a few hundred meters below last Sunday’s destination of 1st Brother Peak in Manning Provincial Park. And driving up that road is so much easier than skiing up. The weather was gorgeous too – sunny and in the mid twenties. Although the parking lot was pretty busy and we ran into quite a few people overall the trail wasn’t too crowded even for my taste. Heather Trail is what takes you all the way to Nicomen Lake some 20+km away with access to the 3 Brothers about half way. We saw quite a few people with overnight backpacks were hiking out – some day I want to do this, sore knees or not. Little elevation gain and the footing is like any city park trail. And then the stunning views everywhere. The initial part – which goes down first – goes through some lush forest with many open spots that are just thick with greenery and flowers. We even saw a hummingbird feeding on Red Columbine nectar pretty close to the trail and got to watch him buzz from flower to flower for about 10min. Amazing little birds! After you pass Buckhorn Camp 5km into the hike – the first spot to hitch a tent – the trail starts to rise and you get out into the open meadows. Here you get your first glimpse of the Brothers  another ~5kms away.  And views over the endless meadows in full bloom with snow-capped mountains in the background to the south. The trail stays pretty much level till the foot of 1st Brother where a trail leads off to the right up the peak. It’s a bit steep but short and in less than 20min you are on the narrow ridge leading up to the top – pretty awesome and not for people afraid of heights. Once on top you feel like you should be able to see Princeton to the east as rolling forested hills stretch out far below you as a far as you can see – the many areas that are logged tell you that this is no longer provincial park territory mind you. We grabbed a quick bite near the top – quick not because it was cold but because every time the wind stopped we were attacked by a gazillion mosquitoes and ladybugs. Since we were only 3hrs into the hike by the time the nasty critter chased us off the peak we decided to tackle 2nd Brother as well starting from the ridge (so no big elevation change). There isn’t really a trail to follow but you can see where you need to go. Once on top of 2nd Brother you can look back at 1st or straight ahead (west-ish) to what we think was 3rd Brother. It would have been easy enough to get up 3rd as well but we decided to head down 2nd instead to try to connect back onto heather trail which we could see below us instead of backtracking to the ridge. Fabulous idea – although Jeff may not agree* – the meadows below 2nd Brother seemed even more beautiful. And although it was quite a long way back to the car (I could see our car from the top of 1st Brother through my new 60x zoom camera) it was one of the most beautiful trails. Well worth it – 6hrs of WOW!!!

*I took hundreds of pictures – poor Jeff was pretty frustrated by the stop and go. I am sure we could have done the hike in an hour less at least :-). Below a pretty meager selection of all the pictures I took – if you have time to enjoy more flowers and mountains – try this link.

 

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