Update June 24, 2013: The access trail to Lady MacDonald has been washed-out in the Cougar creek flooding.
Update June 13, 2013: “The provincial government has plans to demolish the long-abandoned teahouse, helipad and gazebo structures at the top of Mount Lady MacDonald this summer.
Officials with the department of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development confirmed this week that a contractor has been hired to remove all structures at the top of the mountain and reclaim the site by the end of August.”
Read more: Lady Mac teahouse set for demolition
For a few years now, I’ve been looking out my front window in Canmore at Mount Lady MacDonald, anticipating the day when I finally hike up to the teahouse. When Ray asked me to join his group for the hike, it was all the encouragement I needed to get motivated.
I’m glad we did it yesterday because when I look out my window today, Lady Mac is hidden in a blanket of low clouds and rain. Warning: Don’t hike up there expecting to have tea and sandwiches. We had our pick of the window seats which offered spectacular views, however.
Below is Ray’s description of our hike:
“Sunny skies saw our group of eight hiking up the trail to the Lady MacDonald ‘tea house’, which of course, isn’t. We enjoyed the varied terrain, especially the rock garden, with nary a tick to be seen! The skies began to cloud up with predicted long weekend rain, but the day stayed warm and calm for most of our hike. There was a bit of snow near the ‘tea house’. After a half-lunch, some of us hiked up the next bump from which we could drool over the Lady’s summit. But with the weather looking like it was deteriorating, we decided to save the top for another day.”
Interesting about the rain which didn’t come. When we were at the teahouse, as I peered across to the south side of the valley, it sure looked like it was raining. Indeed, when I got home, it had poured quite heavily in the shadow of Mt Lawrence Grassi.
This is a fairly steep hike with 880 metres of elevation gain over a distance of 4.4K. It starts out easy enough along Cougar creek, but after 600 metres the trail goes vertical. At one point, for about 500 metres you’ll have to pick your way through a boulder field.
On the return, we stopped to administer first-aid to a hiker whose leg had been rubbed raw from the side of her boot. Fortunately, I had some compeed bandages in my pack, and Keith had moleskin. We patched her up, and hopefully the remainder of the trip down wasn’t too painful. Go prepared for these eventualities, especially in early season. Perhaps consider a couple shorter, less challenging outings to see how your boots feel.