WORDS AND IMAGES BY TRAVIS FEDDEMA
I had a few goals for this summer: summit Cascade mountain here in Canmore (20km, 1,806M elevation gain), climb an 11a route (still working on this one), and sleep on top of a mountain. Well, I can happily say I have accomplished 1 of 3 so far!
Recently, my wife Mary and I had a free weekend and decided it would be a great time to check an item off the list. We found a trail deep in the Rockies located within the Public Land Use Zone, which allows you to camp essentially anywhere you want!
Looking at the weather made us a little nervous as there was a severe thunderstorm watch in an area nearby, but we decided that we would be able to find good enough shelter if this happened. I’m a huge fan of not letting the forecast dictate your adventure plans too much, especially in the summer.
The trail itself was beautiful and easy to follow, nice soft loam with lots of tree roots that act like a stairway right to the top! We knew there was a lake near the summit and pushed ourselves to get there before dark so that we could set up camp easily. Upon reaching the lake we decided to hike up a bit further as we still had plenty of daylight left, and wanted to be as close to the summit as possible. We were rewarded by stumbling across one of the most beautiful spots we have ever set up a tent! This “site” was right on a ridge that looked out across a huge mountain valley with another lake down below. Absolutely breathtaking.
We quickly set up our tent and managed to get a fire going just as the sun was going down. Campers know that having a fire out in the wilderness with a view is one of the best feelings you can have, and we soaked up every minute of it while sharing a can of Yuzu (Mary’s fave).
The next morning we awoke to an absolutely gorgeous sunrise that lit up the peaks around us. We made the final push about 25 minutes to the top for some snacks, before making our way back down to our site and packing up. A quick dip in the lake at the bottom was enough to cool us down and wash off all the bug spray before the trek home. Camping on a mountaintop – 10/10, would recommend.