Mara SE Hill - Kamloops Trails

Mara SE Hill – Kamloops Trails

Doug Smith  March 24, 2020 at 4:40 pm

When the first warming of late winter comes, the south-facing lower-elevation ridges melt first.   Ridges dry off mostly quickly because gravity draws the meltwater away in 3 directions and the tops of ridges are also the most exposed to both wind and sun.  Any slope that is at 90 degrees to the low winter sun also receives the most direct warming rays of the sun.   The lower slopes of Mount Mara and of Dewdrop Ridge are often the best places to hike when everywhere else is snowy, icy, or muddy.   From the level crossing at the short section of Ord Road, I went straight up the ridges as high as I could.   There was snow near the summit so I looped down, rather than “posthole” my way in the sheltered upper slopes.   there are no trails on the SE flank of Mara Mountain so I mostly followed the open ridges, choosing routes wherever the conditions seemed better for hiking.

Near the bottom were some bare silt slopes, products or water erosion.   These can be muddy so I just aimed for wherever grasses and sagebrush grew.

There were lots of game trails to follow (bighorn sheep and deer).   Generally these are the best routes if they are going in the same direction you are hoping to go.

Some old twisted sagebrush added character to the grassland and sagebrush ridge.

Some lenticular clouds hovered over the valley on a mild and sunny-cloudy day.

When junipers die, they leave foreboding skeletons on the slopes.

There are two parallel canyons on the front side of Mount Mara and there were a number of viewpoints into the wider (east) canyon.   Eroded colorful ridges above the hoodoos canyon were also visible with Cooney Bay and Battle Bluff beyond.

Near the upper part of the mountain, I traversed northeast for views into the snowy grasslands before working my way back down.

I wound my way down between some bluffs, skidding down talus slopes to the grasslands below.

This was a fun (but difficult) route to do in February.   By now it will be drier yet, but there will be ticks out too.   I managed to find some good cactus and a bit of mud, but on the whole it was a great route to explore.   I will be back up Mara again at least twice in the next 3 months.



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Doug Smith

Doug writes for Kamloops Trails, a not-for-profit (and ad free) website, offering information on trails, waterways, routes, featured spots, viewpoints, and explorations in the outdoors in the Kamloops area (and beyond).

Doug started exploring this area in 1976 and continues to follow tracks and routes wherever they lead, with the aid of map, compass, GPSr and camera. After many dead-ends, but also many discoveries, he chose to share this information.

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