Burnt Timber Lookout
Looking for an easy day out in the hills, Linda Breton, Dan Millar, Kelly
Wood and I took a long drive out to the headwaters of Burnt Timber Creek
on 25 March 2006 to hike up Burnt Timber Lookout (deactivated).
Starting from near an active gas well, we bypassed an old gate and
followed ATV tracks up the snow-covered access road. While the
footing was slippery in places, the hiking was generally easy.
Unfortunately, I was fighting a sore throat which really had me gasping
for breath at times. Dan also dropped his brand new digital camera
at one point and had to backtrack quite a distance to retrieve it.
As a result, our progress along the road was slow. It did not help
that the road actually takes a long detour around a steep, forested
ridge. This detour adds significant distance and, worse, entails
quite an annoying elevation loss. Three hours after leaving my car,
we finally reached the lookout site and were rewarded with pleasing views
despite the overcast sky. Thankfully, the winds were calm, and we
took an extended break before starting our return trip. On the way
back, Linda checked her GPS and suggested that we should take a short cut
down the aforementioned steep, forested ridge. Everyone agreed to
give it a try. The short cut ultimately included a little bit of
everything--post-holing, route-finding, down-climbing, bushwhacking,
glissading--and turned out to be more fun than the rest of the hike!
All too soon, we were back on the road and had an unremarkable walk back
to my car. Our round-trip time was a little over 5 hours (plus
another 15 minutes to change a flat tire on my car--doh!). Overall,
the rather mundane hike to Burnt Timber Lookout hardly justifies the long
drive to get out there, but for me, the enjoyable company made this
outing worthwhile nonetheless.
Check out Linda's
||Mountain Aire Lodge, near the
confluence of Red Deer and Panther Rivers, is a nice
place to take a break after a long drive up Highway 940.
||Linda pets Mountain Aire Lodge's most
||Everyone gears up just across the road
from a gas well.
||Having good company helps as the hike
up the road to the lookout is rather tedious and scenery-deprived.
||This is the final climb up to the
||Kelly and Linda pause to catch their
breaths. Their return route (short cut) would eventually follow
the forested ridge in the background.
||Linda and Kelly make the final push to
||Kelly walks across the broad plateau
to a survey marker near the lookout site.
||Dan, Kelly, Sonny, and Linda take a
break on top of Burnt Timber Lookout (2320 metres).
||Is it a UFO? No, it's just Kelly
tossing a rock in the air. Meanwhile, Linda watches some smoke
rising in the distance.
||On the way down, Linda and Kelly observe a herd of
sheep grazing by the side of the fire road.
||One of the sheep appears to be
sticking its tongue out.
||Taking the short cut, Kelly slips and
slides down a steep slope as Dan and Linda watch from above.
||Sonny changes a flat tire at the end
of the hike.