If only I had worked for Esso, I could join this fun group of retirees who I met on the trail today. I was happy to briefly join the fun, long enough for me to lead them from the Wedge Connector over to the Evan-Thomas trail. I should also mention a few of the skiers were from the rival Shell Oiltimers Outdoor club.
I’m guessing they are not the only skiers who were unaware of the procedure to get from one trail to the other. They had skied to the end of the Wedge Connector and had just turned around when I met them near the end of the trail at 2.7K.
The floods of 2013 changed the landscape in this area quite dramatically. The two trails previously met up at the old, wider bridge which the snowcat could go across. The raging waters eroded a big chunk of the Evan-Thomas trail.
I enjoy skiing the 7K loop which includes Evan-Thomas – Wedge – Bill Milne but there’s a short stretch where the snowcat can’t get through so it’s necessary to walk for 200 metres.
Last winter I was skiing the loop in a clockwise direction, so was always going from Evan-Thomas to the Wedge Connector. It will be easy to illustrate the procedure in the opposite direction with the help of these photos.
If you start at Wedge Pond, it’s 2.7K to the end of the grooming at the small bridge over Evan-Thomas Creek. Conditions are terrific on the Wedge Connector.
Cross over the small bridge, remove your skis, and walk up the embankment on a packed snowshoe trail. You’ll soon cross over McDougall Creek where the water is always a pretty aquamarine colour. Continue on the snowshoe trail until you reach the groomed Evan-Thomas trail. The whole procedure might take two minutes. From here, it’s 1.7K to the Evan-Thomas parking lot.
The Evan-Thomas trail sees a lot of foot traffic from hikers who use it to access the ice climbing in the vicinity. Today was no different. One hiker had walked directly in the tracks on one side of the trail.
If you want to complete the loop back to Wedge, cross the road at the Evan-Thomas parking lot to access the Bill Milne trail which is just across the ditch. The grooming goes right through the ditch, so you have solid footing on the corduroy. Head south through Mount Kidd RV Park and back to the Wedge Pond parking.
After Evan-Thomas, I skied the Bill Milne trail to Ribbon Creek and checked out the bypass trail which skirts the giant ice flow. I’ll post some photos tomorrow.
The temperature at Wedge Pond was -9°C at 2 pm. I used Polar grip wax for the third day in a row and it worked like a charm. From the looks of the weather forecast, Polar wax will be fine for the next few days.
Let’s hope it’s Calgary’s turn to get a significant snowfall. As usual, the various weather forecasts are all over the map. The Weather Network is predicting 2 cm while the Snow-Forecast.com for Canada Olympic Park is predicting 11 cm. Windy.com is predicting 3.7 cm for Calgary and 5.4 cm for West Bragg Creek.
I’m so sorry we missed seeing you today on the Bill Milne trail. Apparently we skied past one another going in the opposite direction. The Esso gang told us that you were on the trail and that we just missed you … not once … but twice. Six degrees of separation. My husband and I have followed your blog daily for years. It’s such a treat. We live in Canmore … just down the street from Helen Read. (-: