The Scalp Creek Valley - September 1994
This picture was taken in the Yaha Tinda Valley looking northwards to our
destination. From this meadow we rode about 10 miles to the north following
scalp creek. Our campsite was on the other side of the hill you see in the
background. The elevation at valley bottom is approximately 6,000 feet above
sealevel. The country in this area is spectacular high, wild, and free! I have seen
Elk, Deer, Moose, Mountain Sheep, Grizzly Bear, Wolverines, and many other
types of animals in these valleys..It was a good thing Jody is a well behaved
(but stubborn) mountain horse, as I had not been on a horse for several years!
As we rode up scalp creek the valley narrowed to a winding canyon. This part
of the ride took about 3 hours since the trails were rough. After riding through
this valley the creek swings to the west and opens up again and you can see the
rock bluffs to the west again. We set up camp close to where the creek bends
to the west, since from this point we could hunt the scalp creek valley, bighorn
ridge, or head north towards skeleton creek. The meadow where we chose to
set up camp was a bit too open when the winds blew, but otherwise was a
great camp. From here we rode west up the valley past the ridges in the
background.
As we rode up the valley the vegetation thinned out and the ground became more rocky. The mountains of this area are made up primarily of limestone
types, and even the high peaks often are just a jumble of broken rock. There are few trees at this elevation (if any) and very little cover. This is prime
Bighorn Sheep country, particularly in the winter.
We spent a total of 4 days on this trip. It took a full day
each way in travel and set up time, which only allowed us
2 days of actual hunting. The weather was clear and
beautiful most of the time. September is one of the finest
months of the year to explore the mountains. The days are
usually warm, and the evenings cool.
To get to the Yaha Tinda Valley you travel north of Calgary, Alberta to the town
of Olds. There you turn west and follow the highway past Sundre. About 6 miles
west of Sundre you turn left at the sign for the MountainAire Lodge. You
continue on this highway to the end, and turn left. At the Red Deer River
Crossing you continue straight ahead off the main road for approximately
another 10 miles. At this point you are at the end of the road. From here there
are hundreds of miles of open valleys to the north, and west. There is an
entrance to Banff National Park at the end of the Yaha Tinda Ranch that is
accessible by horse, or other non - motorized transportation, and from there you
can travel all the way to Banff Town. To the south of the Yaha Tinda Ranch is
the Red Deer River, and the Dormer / Panther Valleys are on the other side.
The drive from Calgary to the end of the road in the Yaha Tinda Valley takes
approximately 3 hours.