Thu, Jun 11 2020 - Highwood Pass (Hwy 40) from North Winter Gate (View Original Event Details)

Event Coordinator(s): Grant P
Participants:Grant P, Patrick, Georg Paffrath, Lynne Laflamme

Write Up:
For others interested in a little car free tootle up the highest paved pass in Canada you still have a couple more days before the gate opens. At 2206m or 7239ft its a bit of a grunt at times but the road is clear of snow and the views are fabulous.

We had a group of four and following the club's Covid protocols we each drove ourselves. This is a great ride to be able to pedal and chat and maintain 2m+ physical distance. Having seen the weather changing daily in the last week or two I opted to ride from the north gate for a faster retreat if the weather changed on us. We had a forecast for a mix of sun and cloud and temps in the valley around 21c. We got mostly cloud but only light breezes and even at the top of the pass temps were pleasant, even nice as the breezes calmed for a spell.

Despite posting it as a "go your own speed" event we mostly stayed as a group with a couple regroup/rest stops. With three road bikes and one mountain bike it worked out well. Patrick got that urge as we got closer to the top to make a push and leave us in his dust. We found him happily waiting at the top. The last time he rode the Highwood was from the south and it turned into a blizzard so he loved yesterdays balmy weather. Georg had never ridden the Highwood and said it was on his hit list to do, but be warned, it could have been a blizzard haha. This was Lynne's inaugural COC event and had a great day. I hope to see her and the others on more events soon.

The only drawback to the north side is how quickly it ends, but what a hoot for the descent. I managed to just top 74kmh but being a slacker I could probably have squeezed a couple more k's from that if I tried. Rest assured I was much slower than that on the way up. Much slower.
Although going fast is a hoot I had to wonder what I missed. The snow capped peaks don't get much attention when you're hyper vigilant for pot holes, but a myriad of wildlife could be escaping your attention too. A flock of sheep were licking the road on the way up and were still at it while we blasted past them on the return. A pile of scat was apparently not there on the way up but was quite possibly bear scat. I saw two of us with bear spray and that may have been all of us. Always a good idea on that road however none of us spotted any bears. We did however see an animal darting back into trees. I wasn't sure if it was a coyote but from further ahead Patrick thought it too big for a coyote, meaning we got to see a wolf. Maybe a little less impressive but more amusing was the Grey Jay who came right up to our feet while we snacked at the summit. While it didn't get fed, it obviously knows these humans are clumsy enough to drop occasional tidbits.

So another spring and another ride to the top of the Highwood. Good company, and good weather. Thanks for the trip folks.



Have some photos from this event that you'd like to share in our photo album? Please forward them to COC Photo Historian Squad at photos@calgaryoutdoorclub.com. Please note that we prefer to receive the photos in approximately 640x480 or 750x500 pixels - do NOT send original high-res photos. If you have a LOT of photos, please submit up to twenty of your favorites (only) for a day event, or up to forty of your favourites for a multi-day event. Thank you.