Birdwood Lakes (Lower) (Kananaskis)

July 4th, 2015

Birdwood Lakes (Lower)

The Birdwood Traverse is a Kananaskis legend.  And for this trip, still shrouded in mystery as we only made it to the first Birdwood Lake (Lower).

Out day begins with a bush thrash. Kaptain Kananaskis lead his montly crew from the wrong starting point.  Instead of parking the car on the Smith-Dorrian Road across from Commonwealth Valley he parks on the Mt. Shark Road at the far end of the big meadow.  His reason, not to ford Smuts creek, and to follow the path near Mt. Endagine Lodge.  This back fired as they encountered countless meanders and wetlands in the meadow and the surrounding forest.

Soaked, thrashed and covered in mud, they finally found the trail on the far end of an old cut-block.  My friends now hate me.  The trek begins.  Passing waterfalls, cow-parsnip meadows with Mountain Forgetmenot clusters.  Fresh Grizzly digs full of sweet Glacier Lilly Bulbs and stems,  we hollered.  Past paintbrush rock gardens into the alpine.  Over Smuts Pass and the view into the Birdwood Lakes.  We return using the path leading to the meadow and ford Smuts Creek before ascending the Smith-Dorrian road.  Walking back along the road, the clouds move in and ominously cloud in the peaks.  A great day.

KK

.gpx track of the Birdwood Lakes hike for your GPS device (download here)

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Tadeusz stops along the calm meander of Commonwealth creek as we head up from the cutblock.
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Into the cow parsnip meadow. The smell is amazing.
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Mountain Forgetmenot Clusters in the meadow
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Meadow panorama showing clockwise Commonwealth Peak, Mount Birdwood, Mount Smuts and The Fist
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Commonwealth Peak
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The Fist
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Two leafy, beautiful but poisonous plants of Indian Hellebore. I’ve head a Hippie from Arrow Lakes tried it because he hear it gave Hallucinations. He ended up poisoning himself and feeling relentless fiery pain throughout his entire body. DON’T EAT!
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An avalanche debris pool at the base of the rockfall before climbing the headwall to Smuts Pass.
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Heliotrope Meadows on the headwall ascent below Mount Smuts
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Paintbursh Pallets
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Reds and Pinks
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A view of the Fist as we ascend
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Looking back down our path through Commonwealth Creek Valley
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Park size meadows apear as the pass comes into view.
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Alpine Meadow Panorama
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The colossal cliffs of Mount Smuts towers above
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As we cross over the pass, a gentle wind welcomes our view of Lower Birdwood Lake
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Tadeusz at the pass
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Dr. Gonzo praying to the Lake Spirits
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We climbed back over Smuts Pass before descending to Commonwealth Valley
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Heading back over Smuts Pass
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Descending into Commonwealth Valley
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Commonwealth Valley
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Death Camus – Another Poisonous Plant

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