I was in Calgary on the weekend of 26th August to meet a friend and didn’t want to miss the chance of hiking in the Canadian rockies. I searched online for a challenging – beautiful hike within a 2 hour drive from Calgary and finalized Mt Sparrowhawk in Kananaskis region. I didn’t expect much crowd on the hike and due to the bear season, we planned to carry bear spray. We started from Calgary at 07:30 AM and stopped at Canmore for breakfast. We bought the bear spray from CanadianTire shop at Canmore and left for the trailhead. I was unaware that last 25kms of the drive was unpaved but it was not so bad that a front wheel drive couldn’t make. We reached the trailhead where I did my first major blunder of the day. I had never used a bear spray before and wanted to test it. I moved away from the car and sprayed but the wind took the chemicals to my friend which caused her eyes and face to burn. I was really scared that it would be something worse than burning. We waited for her to get better and eventually she did, at-least thats what she told. We started the hike at 10:45 AM.
The first part of the hike for 1 km was quite easy with wide trail and gradual ascent. From then on, it was quite steep all the way till the summit. I had loaded the route on my watch and kept checking every now and then. We started to see part of Spray lakes which looked magnificent. Eventually we were above the tree line and we were in a position to see almost entire Spray Lake. The turquoise lake surrounded by mountains and green trees provided for an excellent panoramic view and I realized why everyone had rated this hike so high. We could see the summit of Mt Sparrowhawk in distance and I wondered if we could make it well before evening. We saw few hikers on Reed’s tower which looked impressive as well. An helicopter was making rounds throughout the day. The next part of the hike was a light scramble and then the last part was on the loose rocks. I realized that we won’t be able to make it to the true summit given the time and just aimed to get as high as possible. There were few people on the trail and most of then were returning by the time we neared the summit. A hiker told me that we could get to a point below the summit section from where we could see the other side. My friend chose to wait while I went to the pass where I could see the mountains and lake on the other side. I had gained 4000 ft in 3.3 miles to reach an elevation of 9826 ft. There was snow and it was quite windy with a weather station on the pass. I then hurried down to meet my friend and we sat for lunch on a green flat patch overlooking Spray lake, Reed’s tower and surrounding mountains.
We then started with our hike back to the trailhead. We spent quite some time getting down the scrambling section. We were facing the lake for the next part of the hike and it was lovely scenery on both ends of the lake. I was actually more scared of the last part of the hike due to bears since it was covered in trees and it would be difficult to spot one. I kept making noise and my friend clapped and fortunately we didn’t spot any bear for the day. It was around 7 PM by the time we reached the trailhead which marked the end of an awesome hike. While returning to Seattle next day, I spotted the same Spray lake from the flight.