Whither the Maus?

Cranbrook columnist Peter Warland laments the demise of access to a beautiful Rocky Mountains valley.

Peter Warland

“There is nowhere unsafe for the prudent person. Disaster awaits the fool.” -Anonymous.

Maus Creek was one of the first valleys that we explored when we arrived in Cranbrook. I’ve no idea where the German Mouse got the extra ‘e’ but the area intrigued us and became our Rocky Mountain playground for over fifty years. The idea of the road being washed out appalls us; there go dozens of our favourite walks.

We were probably taken there for the hunting in the fall of 1958 but fell in love with the valley. We obviously used the road for our various ascents of Fisher Peak, but those trips were rare. Whether on foot, on skis, or on our snowmobile, we always attempted to get up into the basins, the tarns and the lower ridges. That was where we took our children when they were up to the task.

At the head of the road are the remains of the old concentrator. Up on the hillside of what is now called Inch Post Mountain are the workings of the mine and, if you look carefully, there is the old trail that leads over the ridge, across the head of Horseshoe Creek and then over another pass and down into Sunken (Lost) Creek. There’s a world of exploring to be done.

There are several ways up into the basin of Maus Creek where those shallow mountain lakes tempt the weary. We’ve camped there many a time.

In July and August, the valley can be filled with flowers, fleabanes, glacial lilies, monkey flowers, penstemons, and the lovely willow herb. It’s a botanist’s delight.

There are several options for the hiker after the lakes. He or she can walk further up the valley, past a deep little tarn and then up into the basin with steep cliffs and gullies all around. Find the safe scramble, and there’s a ridge with a panorama out over the wide Tanglefoot valley, up to Windy Ridge¸ or way across to Mount Patmore.

Over the years we’ve scrambled the circuit of Maus Creek or used it to gain access to Dibble Glacier behind the Steeples. We’ve wandered through the Tanglefoot and over the pass into the headwaters of Cliff Lake, under the loom of rugged Mount Patmore.

For those who find pleasure in leaving the beaten path, there’s a great way to get up high by leaving the road at the top of the zig-zags and heading straight up. At the top there’s a craggy ridge in one direction and the possibility of wandering along back towards Fisher Peak. The opportunities are all there if a person is able to drive to the assigned parking area. Walking from the present wash-out can be a long and arduous trek. Believe me; we’ve done it more than once.

It hasn’t always been sweetness and light up in the Maus. One Fall night it took our party hours, it seems, to build a fire so that we might survive. Then, in Summer, there were the myriad insects that drove us and our frantic European guests out from Tanglefoot Lake. And I am embarrassed to write there was that occasion when two of us parked our vehicle in the Maus then, in foul weather, crossed a pass and traversed to the mine workings in Sunken Creek, where we bivouacked in misery.

The following soggy dawn saw us attempting to reverse our course back to the vehicle but we kept finding ourselves back in Sunken Creek. Exhausted and dejected, we finally slogged our way down through Horseshoe Creek and back to the highway. We phoned for help from Fort Steele.

No, the Maus Creek road is not merely the route to Fisher Peak; it is the gateway to the local Rockies, the valleys, ridges, lakes and peaks. It is one of the easiest ways for the adventurous to relish what the Rocky Mountains have to offer us. If that road is open there is no need to go and fight the mobs in Jasper, Yoho, Banff or any other national park; we have it all here.

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

Repaving of Victoria Ave (3rd St. S. to 11th St. S.) began on Monday, June 12. Drivers are asked to please avoid the area for the remainder of the day, if possible. Please watch for and obey directions from flaggers and signage, as the detours will be moving regularly. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Road construction, repaving programs well underway

Local road construction and repaving work continue apace, as summer programs get… Continue reading

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

A Photo from Sept. 2020, when First Nations and wild salmon advocates took to the streets in Campbell River to protest against open-pen fish farms in B.C.’s waters. On Dec. 17, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 fish farms from Discovery Islands. Cermaq’s application to extend leases and transfer smolts was denied. (Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror)
Feds deny B.C.’s Discovery Island fish farm application to restock

Transfer of 1.5 million juvenile salmon, licence extension denied as farms phased out

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

A 50-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle Tuesday, June 15, crashing through a West Vancouver school fence that surrounds playing children. (West Vancouver Police)
Driver ticketed for speeding near B.C. school crashes into playground fence days later

‘It’s an absolute miracle that nobody was injured,’ says Const. Kevin Goodmurphy

Most Read