Kananaskis Area: Wasootch, Porcupine, & Baldy drainages
A TAP Hiking Guide Exam took place June 15-18 in the Wasootch - Porcupine - Baldy region of Kananaskis Country. Here are some observations from the week.
Weather: The trip began with a delayed start due to multiple violent thunder storms and heavy rain early morning on June 15. Weather gradually improved over the week, ending clear sunny skies. Winds were moderate to strong westerlies, most notably at ridge top. Winds became calm on the final day. Temperatures were mild, with diurnal fluctuations from 5C to 24C
Terrain and Travel Conditions: Terrain covered spanned dense forest, montane transitions, multiple dry creek beds and alpine scree. Mostly dry conditions were encountered, with no snow in areas travelled. Wasootch Creek was dry up to about 1750m while Porcupine South Fork was mostly dry throughout with water emerging below about 1550m. Porcupine North Fork was running up to 1450m. This is temperature and time of day dependent while feeder snow stashes from higher elevations remain. The course was conducted during the week so we encountered very few other users.
Flora and Fauna: Alpine wildflowers are starting to join their valley bottom cousins in full bloom, notably Calypso orchids, paint brush, balsam root and rock jasmine. We were serenaded by Robins and Swainson's Thrushes morning and night. No bear activity was encountered, however all normal bear precautions were taken.
Hazards: We noted some rockfall caused by high winds in specific locations. We were alert for rockfall in several areas of our trip, both natural and human caused. Some areas travelled could be problematic in high water conditions, specifically canyon features. We also kept a keen eye out for the numerous small cliff features that give this location its unique flavour.