Cat Creek Hills
On 14 May 2011, Dinah Kruze and Bob Spirko invited me to join them for a hike up Cat Creek Hills in the Highwood Region of Alberta’s Kananaskis Country.  This hike is described in Gillean Daffern’s Kananaskis Country Trail Guide (3rd Edition, Volume 2).  Because Highway 40 was still closed to motorized vehicles, we had to walk an extra couple of kilometres to get to the start of the hike.  We actually missed the access road on the way in, but Bob expertly guided us onto the correct ridge after we stumbled across the road a short distance in from the highway.  Once on the ridge, we had no further route-finding issues, and despite having to step around scores of elk poop everywhere, we easily gained the first and lower of two significant high points we would visit on this day.  Reaching the second high point was much more problematic as we had to contend with significant elevation losses, deep snow patches, and an increasingly uncomfortable wind.  With trees disappointingly obscuring much of the views from the second high point, we did not linger too long and backtracked a bit before stopping for a short lunch break.  Mostly retracing our steps, we had no issues on our return trip and capped our fine outing with a visit to a delightful bakery in the town of Black Diamond.

Be sure to check out Bob's photos here.
I easily could have driven around the gate! Dinah and Bob start off along Highway 40 at the seasonal gate near Highwood House.
This should get you warmed up! Bob climbs up the hillside.
Another sign that spring is finally here. A prairie crocus blooms in the sunshine.
More to add to my to-do list... Baril Peak (left) and Mount Cornwell attract attention to the southwest.
The bump on the left is also a fine viewpoint if you're too lazy to continue. Bob and Dinah climb up the ridge toward the first high point (right).
Another peak worth drooling over! Mount McPhail is one of the most striking peaks on the Continental Divide.
So this is where they hang out when they're not partying in Banff! Mist Mountain stands out on the horizon in this view to the north.  A herd of elk can also be seen grazing on the next hillside.
So that's where all the poop has been coming from!! Here is a closer look at the herd of elk from the previous photo.
Or else it's proof that pyramid power works! Look at how much more grass is growing under the pyramid!!! Bob examines a strange cage-like structure which is likely used to monitor the extent of grazing activity in the area.
Yeah, we could have hiked around this, but scrambling is so much more fun! Dinah and Bob scramble up a rocky section.
The best viewpoint of the day. Bob and Dinah reach the first high point (2073 metres).
Significant elevation losses and post-holing coming up! Bob looks for a way down the lee side of the first high point.
Thank heaven I wore my winter (waterproof) boots today. Dinah's and Bob's boots would eventually get soaked. Dinah and Bob post-hole through one of many lingering snow patches.
Only for masochists or purists or both. Dinah and Bob drop down another short dip before climbing up to the second high point (centre).
This would have looked much more spectacular without all the trees! Bob peers over the edge of a precipitous drop-off on the lee side of the second high point.
Yay. Bob and Dinah reach the second high point (2149 metres) with Junction Hill dominating the view to the southeast.
Of course, the cross is not visible on this side! Due east is Holy Cross Mountain.
I guess I should go bag this peak one of these days... Here is a closer look at Holy Cross Mountain.
I can't believe it's already been 6 years since I climbed Mount Head. Time flies! Mount Head is to the northeast.
That's one miserable scree bash (from the other side)! Here is a closer look at Mount Head.
I think I see one on your leg, Dinah... Dinah nervously eats her lunch while sitting on her pack on top of a snow patch.  She is worried about the marauding swarms of ticks infesting the area.
It feels good to be back in the Canadian Rockies! Here is another look at the Continental Divide from the Cat Creek Hills.
Next stop: the bakery in Black Diamond! Dinah and Bob head back down the ridge.
If anyone follows this route, I lost a black glove somewhere on the lower ridge to the west of the creek! Total Distance:  13.5 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  6 hours 11 minutes
Total Elevation Gain:  1236 metres

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