BOU AVENUE
Barrier Lake Lookout (Yates Mountain)
My work held an 'adventure' training day at Barrier Lake in Kananaskis Country on 24 June 2011 as part of a two-day professional development session.  Participants were given a choice of activities: canoeing/kayaking on the lake, hiking partway around the lake, hiking up to Barrier Lake Lookout, or working the BBQ/preparing lunch.  I was among nine people (and a dog) that chose to hike up to Barrier Lake Lookout which is also known unofficially as Yates Mountain (high point of McConnell Ridge).  I had previously hiked up to the lookout in 1994 (the first hike I did with my wife before we began dating!), and though the trail has changed little since then, my perspective on outdoor recreation certainly has.  As our group proceeded across Barrier Lake Dam to begin our hike, I could not help feeling a bit nostalgic about my pre-scrambling days when I was more interested in chasing girls than peaks!

Our hike up to McConnell Ridge went without a hitch, and the group chemistry was excellent as well which helped pass the time during the long switchbacks in the forest.  I had some trouble remembering exactly where the turn off was to Barrier Lake Lookout, but we managed to pick up the trail nonetheless and reached the top of Yates Mountain with only a little extra effort.  Though we originally had plans to return via Jewell Pass and Stoney trail as I had done in 1994, we were running a little short on time.  Therefore, we simply returned the way we came and made it back to the trailhead in time for some delicious hamburgers and smokies to finish the day.
Who's in charge here?? Everyone gathers for some last-second instructions at the trailhead.  Mount Baldy dominates the skyline.
The lookout building is not visible from here. Here is a view of McConnell Ridge and Yates Mountain (far right).
We're already off and running before 9:00 AM while the other groups are still mucking about at the trailhead! The group starts their hike across Barrier Lake Dam.
The weather was actually nicer up here than down at the lake! This is the first opening after a long hike through the trees.
If you look very carefully, you might spot the group with the canoes and kayaks. The view from the opening includes Barrier Lake and Mount Baldy.
Anybody wanna sit down? The group pauses to admire the view.
Pretty flowers, aren't they? Blue beardtongues were in bloom all over the hillside.
The 'figures' turned out to be a couple from Holland. The group climbs the last part of the trail to the McConnell Ridge viewpoint.  Note the figures on the viewpoint.
This looks almost like scrambling! The trail gets steep and rocky.
This was a fun bunch to hike with! The group poses at the McConnell Ridge viewpoint.  L to R kneeling are Sebastien Perreault, Kim Parker, Thierry Crozon, and Pat Leslie.  L to R standing are Andrew Duncan, Simon Wilson, Tim Embree, Cat Matheson, and Sonny Bou.
Darn! And I was doing so well picking off the hikers and mountain bikers further down... This is the part of the trail where you have to cease fire!
That fence is to keep people from kicking rocks down onto nesting falcons. The group trudges up the last few steps before the top.
This sure beats canoeing or walking around the lake! The group poses again at the top of Barrier Lake Lookout (Yates Mountain).  L to R standing are Sonny, Tim, Sebastien, Kim, and Andrew.  L to R kneeling are Cat, Pat, Simon, and Thierry.
Maybe it's time to try the 'Gable' traverse... Mount Fable is readily seen to the northwest.
Out of respect for his privacy, we did not bother the lookout person. The Barrier Lake Lookout is manned on this day.
Go Habs go! Sebastien walks back to the lookout after taking in the views to the west.  Grotto Mountain is at centre in the distance.  Barely visible behind the trees at right is GR320533.
Strangely enough, I don't recognize the snowy peak in sunshine on the distant horizon. Here is a closer look at Lac des Arcs with the Lafarge plant at bottom right.
Sure beats working at the office! Everyone seems to enjoy relaxing on the helipad.
Hard to believe it has been over 15 years since I was up there. Mount Yamnuska sits across the Bow Valley to the north.
If you like to live on the edge... There is a precipitous drop over the north side of Yates Mountain.
Who said drive-in's were dead? This repeater station is right at the turn off to the lookout.
It was much more windy here than up at the lookout. The group heads back across Barrier Lake dam.
Our round-trip time was 4 hours 20 minutes. Cat and Pat bring up the rear with McConnell Ridge in the background.