Sparrowhawk Down

My note to the mountains - left at the top of Sparrowhawk
My note to the mountains – left at the top of Sparrowhawk

Yesterday we conquered Mount Sparrowhawk and it was – in a word – amazing.

Sparrowhawk stands 3121m (10239ft) above sea level, and requires 1350m (4429ft) of elevation gain from the trailhead to reach the summit.

The hike began at 10:40am and ended about 8.5 hours later (including several stops for snacks, and about an hour relaxing on the summit). The first part of the trek was steep; winding through beautiful forest, and offering views of Spray Lake below, and a seemingly endless line of mountains all around. Despite losing the trail (thanks to my wonderful vision) we eventually found ourselves above the tree line. It was around this time that we were passed by a woman – probably in her 40s, possibly 50s – who ran by us.

Laughing at the top of Sparrowhawk
Laughing at the top of Sparrowhawk

“Just training for a marathon” she called to us as she ran by.

Just training for a marathon I thought. Amazing.

We carried on, tackling scree and talus, and making our way to the summit which slowly crept closer. Trail marker after trail marker were eventually passed. The lake below shrunk, the sky seemed to grow larger, and more and more mountains became visible in the distance. The terrain was rough, but in spite of its harshness, moss and lichen were abundant. We also heard the unique chirp of pikas which called the mountain home.

We came. We saw. We conquered.
We came. We saw. We conquered.

After about 4.5 hours of hiking, we made the summit. And holy hell, it was absolutely breathtaking. The weather afforded us views that were seemingly endless. I have no idea how many photos we ended up snapping, but everywhere we looked was deemed worthy of a picture. I wish I could describe just how amazing it felt.

We stayed atop the mountain for about an hour before making our descent. The trek down was faster as parts of the mountain side were covered in scree; permitting us to ski down.

Enjoying the views at the top of Mount Sparrowhawk
Enjoying the views at the top of Mount Sparrowhawk

The hike ended at Spray Lake – and even though the water was icy cold, it was the perfect spot to cool our feet after such an epic hike. We didn’t rest long, however, as hunger called. Fortunately, the town of Canmore was nearby so we stopped at the Grizzly Paw for beer and burgers.

Today this leg of the adventure comes to an end as I have to board my flight home in a few short hours. I’m going to miss the mountains, and I’m going to miss Rick. Fortunately I know that this will not be our final adventure together, nor will it be my last day in the mountains.

So be prepared mountains – I’ll be back.


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