Thursday, July 25, 2013

C-Level Cirque

Trip Date: July 2008

Jaryd and I decided to tackle the C-Level Cirque trail along the eastern side of Cascade Mountain in Banff National Park.  The trailhead is about 135km west of Calgary along the Lake Minnewanka Road at the Upper Bankhead Picnic Area.  The hike is roughly 8km round-trip and you gain 455m of elevation along the way.  One of the neatest things about this hike are the skeletal remains of two buildings; remnants of a flourishing coal mining operation between 1904-1922.  Bankhead, a mining town of close to 1,000 residents, was spread across the valley near the trailhead.  The old buildings on this trail were part of the C-Level operation, which were the highest coal seams worked on the eastern slope of Cascade Mountain.  The trail also passes by several fenced-off holes.  These were once vents for the mine shafts below.  You can also visit the ghost town of Bankhead, which you can read about right here.

The trailhead sitting below Cascade Mountain
Remnants of the mining operation
Skeletal buildings
Inside one of the buildings
Me standing in the doorway
Jaryd inside the building
We reached the cirque.  Cirque is a French word geologists use to describe a semicircular, bowl-shaped depression created by an alpine glacier.
This Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel was snagging crumbs from our sandwiches!
Standing in the cirque
Hoary Marmot
Jaryd at our high point.  We hiked around the side of the cirque for some spectacular views of Lake Minnewanka.
Lake Minnewanka from our high point
The Bow Valley looking east towards Canmore
Jaryd and I just before heading back down

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