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View to the southwest

Blue Hill Fire Lookout
Ya Ha Tinda, Alberta
May 10, 2008

Distance: 16.0 km
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 615 m

After a recent snow dump in Southwest Alberta, I was at a loss as to what to try. So when Sonny Bou suggested a fire lookout in the foothills, it appeared to be a sound plan.

Blue Hill Fire Lookout is west of Sundre. An 8 km road rising 580 m leads to the lookout. Since I downloaded the track log from, we had no trouble finding the start. As we began hiking up the road, the few inches of crusty snow underfoot crunched with every step. For the most part, trees obscured the views along the way.

As we climbed, the snow became deeper and softer. Our pace slowed, and for the last kilometre we were pushing through knee-deep snow. Tired from postholing, we made it to the summit four hours after starting out only to find it studded with buildings and bristled with antennas. Moreover, what peaks we could see from the treed top, were too far away to study.

The lookout observer soon came out and greeted us. A talkative woman, she told us much about work and life on the lookout (seven of her last thirty years as an observer have been on Blue Hill).

After a half-hour stay, we started back down. Going downhill, the deep snow didn’t seem much easier. What should have been a five-hour trip took us seven. Because of the snow, it was an exhausting, boring, unrewarding hike. In dry conditions I’m sure it would be merely boring and unrewarding.

KML and GPX Tracks
Sonny's Trip Report

Starting up the road

Wild horses left fresh tracks in the snow for a short way up the road

There was little to see from the road even when trees didn't block the view

The bridge is gone so we crossed the creek using fallen trees (mouse over)

Sonny appears on the other side of a hairpin turn

The last kilometre is the toughest because of deep snow

Sonny takes a turn at breaking trail

Antennas mark the summit

Last steps to the top

For what it's worth, the summit

One of several whiskey jacks that flitted about

Sonny signs the register for the lookout observer

Dormer Mountain

Black Rock Mountain

American three-toed woodpecker

82 O/11 Burnt Timber Creek

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