Mustang Hills Loop
A great loop on unofficial Elbow Valley trails

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After Laurier and I scouted the hills in June, I had a work trip in early July.
A month makes quite a difference here! In early June, everything was brown, but now a brilliant green with piles of orchids and other wildflowers.
We did the loop in reverse this time. I'm not sure which is better, but this was quite enjoyable.
We first hiked along the Elbow River from Paddy's Flat, and took a break at the edge before hiking uphill.

The trail along the riverside.

The trail rolls along a flowery hillside.

The bright Elbow River follows us.

Looking up the Elbow Valley.

Taking a snack break along the edge of the river.

In this direction, the ascent is a steep push up a forested gully to the edge of the grassy ridge.
We did this section pretty quickly, and had lunch on the top of the first summit we reached, the east.
We hurried along the next two summits, due to a large black cloud threatening from the west.

The ascent gully.

The upper part of the ascent along the ridge.

The group hikes west towards a threatening cloud.

Looking back to the grassy summit from the middle one.

After the middle summit, the rest of the trip is treed, and we didn't worry about the storm on the way down.
We did end up getting some rain and a touch of hail, but the electical storm feared did not materialize.

Hiking down from the middle summit.

The group descends the larger trails at the end.

As we had moved pretty quickly, we finished off early, and stopped by Elbow Falls to finish the day.
The sun came back out, brightening the water into an awesome clear green.

The Elbow River flowing into the falls.

Looking up at the crest of the falls.

Photos taken by Rachel

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