1. On the map we saw a 'shortcut' across the meadows, good idea!

I should have paid closer attention to the details.

We shouldered our backpacks in the Elbow Lake parking lot on Highway 40 in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and joined the day hikers heading for Rae Glacier and the young families traipsing up to the lake. 

The short 1.3 km uphill was quickly covered and we left most of the crowd behind to head out alongside the headwaters of the Elbow River towards the Piper Meadows turnoff at 3.8 km from the lake.

Looking at the topographic map, we saw the “shortcut” across the meadows. The main turnoff was less than a km down the trail, but why go downhill, just to climb back up again? Why not take the direct route and save a little time and effort. You know where this is going, right? 

After a little cursing and more bushwhacking, we came up on the trail. No time or effort saved; probably the reason Gillean Daffern didn’t mention the “shortcut” in her guidebook!

Happy to have a trail once again under my feet, we ambled through the forest, steadily climbing to Piper Meadows in full bloom.

#hiking #Rockies #Alberta #Canada #outdoors #adventure #wildflowers #flowers #nature

(All images by me except where specified.)

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