We went up very slowly.  Just under 10 km/h.  For an hour and a half.  Through fog, sun, rain, snow and hail.  We came down at 75 km/h, slowing only to avoid hitting the two grizzlies crossing the road just metres ahead of us.

I’ve got to do this more often!  🙂

Drive down scenic highway 40 through Kananaskis in the summer and you’ll reach Highwood Pass, the highest road in Canada at 2206 metres (7239 feet).  But in winter and spring the pass is closed to motor vehicles.  It belongs to the wildlife.  Which yesterday included a handful of cyclists.

I went with Mike, a neighbour from down the street, his brother-in-law Doug, and a friend Jim from our church, all of us casual cyclists.  Mike and Doug have done this route several times, and were nice enough to invite Jim and Yours Truly this year.  We drove out to where the highway closes, biked to the summit, enjoyed squashed PB&H sandwiches surrounded by towering white-capped summits, then biked back down again.  It’s not actually long in terms of kilometres, only 17 km each way, but it’s all uphill.  Breathtaking scenery the entire route (yes, it’s because of the scenery we were out of breath), and lots of wildlife.  The (paved) road was covered with bear and mountain sheep scat, their way of reminding us we’re in their territory.  We saw a bald eagle, plenty of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, an elk, a moose, prairie dogs (or whatever their mountain cousins are called) which thought my bike pedal made a nice lunch, innumerable birds I couldn’t begin to name, no insects whatsoever, and yes, two big grizzlies.  All so close we could almost touch them if we were foolish enough.

This Friday the pass opens to motor traffic, and the wildlife will fade into the forests for a few more months.  I hope I can visit them again next spring.

Nate

P.S. I’ll post some pictures when Doug emails them to me.  He was the only one with the forethought to bring a camera.

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