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Mount Hamel

Easy Hike
Elevation [m]: 
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
Ascent Time: 
Sunday, May 19, 2013
For the third day of our long weekend trip, Eric, Steven, and I once again followed the good weather this time Northwards to Grande Cache. After long days previously on Daybreak Peak, and Chetamon Mountain we were looking for something a little more straightforward, not downright leisuerly but not another 20km 2000m day either. We didn't have our maps for this area as it wasn't part of our original plan so we waited until the visitor centre opened grabbed a brocheur of the Grande Cache 'Passport to the Peaks Program' and decided upon Mount Hamel as a suitable objective.

Steven and I's previous experience in the Grande Cache region had also been with Eric back in the winter with our trips up Mount Louie and an overnight snowshoe trek up Lightning Ridge (both of which were windy days and today would prove to be no different), views were limited those days but the weather today promised better possibilities.

There are a few possible starting points for the Mount Hamel tral and we choose the one with the highest starting elevation at the top of the Beaverdam road (which has some sinister potholes that my low-riding car had some trouble navigating). At the trailhead it became obvious that this was an ATV trail first and a hiking trail second, we must have seen 12 ATVs cruising along the path while we were on it (and one Jeep and dirtbike duo too) which required constant vigilence whenever the sound of an engine was near. Not much to say about the trek up, you start off in a clearcut region which Eric thought looked like 'The Desolation of Smaug' from The Hobbit, though I guess the clearcut did allow for more views of Willmore. Once past the clearcut the trail takes a very lazy line contouring (and loosing elevation) to the less steep side of the mountain before lazily working its way upwards. Once out of the trees Grande Cache proved to be as windy as it had during the winter trip and we all layered up to 'winter-level' to stay warm. Once at the summit the wind reached a new level of intensity and during gusts it was possible to lean into it and support your weight! Views from the summit were mixed, out Eastwards the logging and mining areas around Grande Cache didn't make for that inspiring of terrain but to the West the peaks of Willmore were nicely illuminted and made for quit the sight. By far the best views of the day were to be had looking over to Kataka park at Mt. Ida the most northerly 10,000 ft peak in the Rockies which towers over the surrounding peaks and today looked like it belonged in the greater ranges! After taking some shelter out of the wind for a bit to warm up we started to head back down, weaving on and off the trail as a new stream of ATVs came wizzing by. After two long days before we were all pretty tired and agreed that it was probably time to head home and after navigating the maze of obsticles on the Beaverdam road started the trek back to the city (after some burgers at the brand new A&W in Grande Cache of course).

For an easy day out Mt. Hamel would probably be a good choice, but try to plan it when ATV traffic would be at a minimum to avoid diminishing the experience.


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