I've never given Mustang Hills a glance when I've driven past them in the summer, but as a quick winter escape they were looking attractive, even though it meant walking 3.5 km up Hwy. 66 to reach the trailhead because of the seasonal gate closure.
Dinah and I drove to the gate. After parking, we pushed passed people preparing to parade up Prairie Mountain. In contrast, there wasn't a soul on the icy highway ahead of us. After walking for nearly an hour, we came to a clearing on our left where we could see the bare north ridge of Mustang Hills. We dropped down to the ravine that separates the hills from the highway, and then started climbing. After gaining the ridge, we headed into the trees towards centre hill. We noticed numerous tracks in the snow as if wild horses had trampled through, which was in fact the case, but we didn't catch sight of the animals themselves.
When we reached the centre hill we were grateful to find it free of trees, affording us some good views. After looking around, we turned to the west hill. Even though it was treed, we felt behooved to reach it since it's the highest point on Mustang Hills. We picked up a blazed trail and followed it to the summit.
There was no reason to linger on the summit, so we headed back. When we got back to the open ridge we were surprised to see a horse 200 m away at the other end, facing us. But as I reached for my camera, it turned and fled into the woods. We were thrilled as it was the first time we had seen a wild horse.
As we walked back down the highway, we talked about returning to Mustang Hills in the winter, not only in hopes of photographing its wild horses, but to enjoy its solitude.
Mustang Hills ahead
We leave the highway and set off for the open ridge
We lose some elevation before climbing
The trees thin before we reach the ridge crest
The centre hill is ahead while the west hill (summit) is right
From the centre hill we head to the west hill (left)
Eyeing the summit from an inuksuk in a clearing
Following a blazed trail to the summit
Looking south from the centre hill at the east hill and Quirk Ridge
What appears to be a horse skull, overlooks the pond north of the centre hill
Prairie Mountain in the background
Starting back down the ridge. Powderface Ridge on the left.
82 J/15 Bragg Creek
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