Dear Reader (2020-06-09),
Tuesday June 2 – Baldy Pass <> 8.5 km
There are only a couple of cars when I arrive at the Baldy Pass parking lot on Highway 40 in Kananaskis Country. A rhythm to the start of my walks is emerging. Take off sandals, put on boots, check pack, make a lens decision (usually 105) for walking, check that the keys are in my pocket and not on the front seat, and lock the truck. There is a familiar lightness and quickness of step in the first 200 m or so. After those initial steps my breathing and pace adjust and the forest begins to take form. Details (#1) and small bold patches of colour (#2) become visible.
I spend much of the first part of the trail thinking of a name for the cow that was walking on the edge of the exit ramp just west of Scott Lake hill. I decide that her name is Saraffin (Paraffin is of course the name of a horse). She had been hitchhiking back from the prairies. She had held a cardboard sign by her tail that had read “Back to Pasture”. The cardboard sign was now in the ditch – cows pass gas and they litter. A flat bed truck had dropped her off and she was home again.
The trail has started to climb and crosses a dried up rocky creek bed, and that is surprising for this time of year. There are a couple of small stone cairns marking the trail’s direction. A rock tossed onto a cairn bounces off – there must be a protocol to rock placement. I set a rock on each of the cairns.
As the trail climbs some sections are slick from the last of the melting snow that still exists in small sheltered crevices. Baldy Pass is marked by a large cairn. There is another cairn 40 meters higher which provides a better vantage point to see Mt. Baldy (#3) and Midnight Peak (#4).
Thursday June 4 – Ribbon Creek and Falls <> 18 km
The title of this walk could also be called “Too Many New Things”. The book (Gillean Daffern’s Kananaskis Country Trail guide 4th Edition Volume 1) says bicycles are permitted on the first 4 km. 4 years ago I had outfitted my bike, a touring bike, with extra strong rims and extra tough tires. It is though still a touring bike (long wheel base) and not a mountain bike (shorter wheel base). Wednesday is spent cleaning the bike and making sure that the brakes work, in preparation for my first bike ride of the year. I also decide to use my large backpack so I can carry my tripod inside the pack. I reach the trailhead with camera around my neck, along with bike, gloves, helmet, and backpack – and this is for day-trip. It takes me 1.5 hours to travel 4 hours, what with marvelling at the scenery, pushing the bike at least half the way, and stopping for photos. After locking my bike to the bike rack provided at the 4 km point, I walk the next 5 km thrilled by the photographic opportunities and have lunch at the falls (#5, #6).
On the return trip to the bike, there are many more people on the trail. We give way to each other in the Covid way, and exchange pleasantries. Many people are wearing shorts and carrying very small day packs. The clouds say it could get cold and wet for those who have started late, but then again many of them are of an immortal age.
I arrive at the bike rack looking forward to savouring a contemplative ride through the woods. The following 20 minutes are spent in deep concentration navigating rocks, cliff edges, and trees (remember that comment about short and long wheel bases). I arrive back at the truck with my heart racing and no damage done. It is my longest walk so far this year and I vow to return soon.
Later back at home my enthusiasm of the trail is seen manifest as an amazing collection of absolutely banal, poorly conceived, badly exposed, or badly composed images. Few survive the cutting room, and most of the ones that do, receive considerable and I hope subtle post processing. By way of example #5 is the one I like and #5a is the original.
Saturday June 6 – Bowmont Ridge and Sideshow Bob Trail <> 8 Km
On Saturday the thought of driving south or west into a forest feels too daunting. Furthermore, there isn’t really enough time to make the drive. Instead I check AllTrails.com and find a new to me Calgary trail, which starts at Shouldice Park. The trail is a loop that winds above the river on the north shore of the Bow and then returns on the same side closer to the river. The light is flat and there are very few things that catch my eye. This walk in hindsight was more about therapy than anything else. Sometimes the healing power of the outdoors can be found close to home (within 30 minutes drive). I did though get inspired by a couple of locations where I could extend ideas from 30 in 30 (stay tuned but don’t hold your breath).
As always, thank you for visiting, and your comments are always welcome.
Ribbon Falls Diary Entry: Trail to Ribbon Falls From Ribbon Creek Parking Lot (Kananaskis Village; Aprox. 18 k return trip; 4k on bicycle followed by 5 k walk to falls and then return is the reverse
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