After getting up at 05:00 to watch the men's gold medal victory in Olympic Hockey I was contemplating what do to for the rest of the day. Hanneke was in Europe, the kids were engaged in activities ranging from sleeping in to animating computer games and I was itching to get outside for a bit. The sun was starting to come out when I settled on an easy snowshoe trip from Bob's Spirko's site - Foran Grade and Windy Point Ridge in Sheep River Provincial Park.
The drive went better than expected and although it was -20 at the winter gate parking area, the sun was actually shining! I layered up and set off down the highway for a couple of kilometers - it was a glorious (but frigid) winter day and I was the only one enjoying it in this part of the world.
Foran Grade is an escarpment rising from the highway and paralleling Windy Point Ridge. There's a good hiking trail to the summit and I followed some old snow shoe tracks up. Within about 1.5-2 hours of leaving the car I was on the summit enjoying the limited views. The hike was perfect for a bitterly cold day like I had but it's more of an exercise objective than anything else.
[The exciting highway hike... ;)]
[Foran Grade shows up rising to the right of the highway.]
[There's even a trail!]
[Looking toward the grade from just past the trail turn off (still on the highway.)]
[Nice Aspen forests here.]
[Better visibility than I was expecting.]
[Pano looking back. ++]
[Pano of Foran Grade. ++]
[On top of the grade now, Windy Point Ridge to the left.]
[Much better views than expected! Looking west - Windy Point Ridge on the right. ++]
[The highway snakes around Foran Grade.]
[Nice scenery on the ridge crest.]
[I really enjoyed the Birch forests here - a nice change from pine. ++]
[Near the summit.]
From the summit of Foran Grade there is an obvious trail to the pass between it and Windy Point Ridge, which I followed.