Mockingbird Lookout

Summit Elevation (m): 1898
Trip Date: Thursday, April 23, 2020
Elevation Gain (m): 325
Round Trip Time (hrs): 1.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 5.2
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 1 – you fall, you are not ‘steady on your feet’ so to speak…
Difficulty Notes: The drive along the Waiparous Creek Road and even up hwy 940 can be interesting when not dry.
GPS Track: Gaia
Technical Rating: TL1; YDS (Hiking)

When I heard that some friends had done a “Covid-19” hike up Mockingbird Lookout over the weekend I looked it up and realized it was a perfect after work candidate. The only fly in the ointment was the drive from YYC. My trusty mapping software told me it would take over 1.5 hours to drive to the trailhead – a stretch for an after work objective. After texting with Wietse he decided he was also in for this silly little trip and we both decided it was more about the socializing and drive than about the hike itself. Wietse is the only non-immediate family member or friend that I’ve continued socializing with through the Covid pandemic. 

Mockingbird Lookout Route Map – note there are a few shortcuts available if you have a sharp eye.

Wietse took a last minute work call as we drove to the trailhead and we spent at least 40 minutes or so reading the various orders and laws from the Alberta government on carpooling, social distancing and isolation requirements. It is surprisingly difficult to find an actual ORDER saying that carpooling is against the law. We never did find a definitive one. All was good as we drove through Cochrane and up hwy 940 past the small community of Benchlands and through Waiparous. The road slowly deteriorated as usual before it finally turned to gravel. It was kind of funny to see how dusty it was already! Only in Alberta would the same road by muddy and then dusty 4 days later.

We met 3 cars on the Waiparous Road which was very strange this late in the day on a road in those conditions! It’s crazy how cooped up people are feeling and how many of us are driving around just looking for some freedom, despite social and government pressures not to. A duo of hunters were just leaving the trailhead as we drove up to it. I decided to wear snowshoes based on the conditions report from only 4 days previous while Wietse decided to forgo the ‘shoes and strapped them to his back. I should have left them behind but oh well.

Views from the Mockingbird Lookout.
Views from the Mockingbird Lookout are pretty darn sweet towards the Ghost Wilderness Area and include peaks such as Association, End, Saddle, Orient Point, Black Rock, Costigan, Devils Fang, Devils Head, Castle Rock, Davidson, Ghost and others.

The trail was melted out on the sides enough that Wietse did fine in just his boots. The ‘shoes were handy for about 20% of the way, otherwise they were a bit cumbersome. This is a very short hike BTW! We were standing on top within 45 minutes of leaving the road. Considering it’s half the height gain of Prairie Mountain and a bit shorter, this wasn’t even that quick. The views from Mockingbird make it worth your time – they are 100x better than the “view” from Blue Hill. The hike on the approach road is rather “meh”, but with a family this is worth the nice drive.

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