Macabee and Forked Ridges
Macabee Ridge and Forked Ridge offer no excitement and little scenery, but they do provide a chance to get some exercise in the mountains. Running parallel, the low-profile ridges have crest trails. No trail connects the north ends of the ridges, but it's easy to bushwhack from one to the other. A kilometre walk along the highway completes a loop.
After parking at the south end of Macabee Ridge, Sonny, Dinah and I hiked up the ridge. There were a few viewpoints, and these disappeared when we plunged into pines. In fact, Macabee's summit was a non-event, and we coasted over it without realizing it. But as Sonny remarked, it was a pleasant walk. After dropping off the north end of the ridge and crossing Macabee Creek we came to a cross-country ski trail, a section of the Pine Ridge Loop. We followed the snow-covered trail briefly until we were attracted to try the dry, wooded slope on our left. We hiked north until we again ran into the ski trail (taking a longer route, it curves around the little ridge we took). We followed the trail to a viewpoint where we spied our next destination, Forked Ridge.
We backtracked a bit before descending to the valley that separates the viewpoint and Forked Ridge. After stepping over a tangle of deadfall at the bottom, we hiked to the top of Forked Ridge. Entirely treed, it too was a non-event.
Forked Ridge is shaped like a tuning fork. The handle bears the summit and points north. Of the two tines running south, we followed the one farther east. There's a trail in the trees, but we lost it often as it wasn't well-defined. Halfway along the ridge we broke out into a clearing where we were reminded it was a sunny day. We continued along the ridge mostly in trees until it ended before we got to the highway. After plodding up the pavement we arrived back at our car. The biggest advantage of hiking these ridges is that it was a short trip and a short drive: we were soon back in Calgary with most of the afternoon left to do last-minute Christmas shopping.
Starting up the trail to Macabee Ridge
We soon reached the south end of Macabee
Sonny stops to take photos
We followed the ridge trail
The nearest mountains west are Windy Point Ridge and Forum Ridge (mouse over)
Lined with bare aspen, the first part of Macabee feels open
The ridge transitions to tall evergreens
After coming down Macabee Ridge we crossed Macabee Creek
On a side ridge heading to Forked Ridge
We followed a cross-country ski trail briefly to a viewpoint
From the viewpoint we can see the summit of Forked Ridge
There's a small opening in the trees for views by the summit of Forked Ridge
Sonny and Dinah stand in a tiny spot of sunshine near the summit
I've seen galls – nodules produced by parasites on branches – on live plants, but these galls
were widely scattered on the ground near the summit. Strangely, the bark had been neatly
stripped off and the branches removed.
Heading back along Forked Ridge
82 J/10 Mount Rae and 82 J/9 Turner Valley
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