Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hiking Fullerton Loop

Last Saturday was, thankfully, absolutely beautiful. We had a hike scheduled with our youth group, and as much fun as hiking in the rain can be, I really didn't want to do two damp hikes in a row! Fullerton Loop is technically in Kananaskis Country but its elevation is still low enough that it's not really a mountain hike, just a hilly one. It's about 8km past Bragg Creek (blink and you'll miss it!) and the parking lot is Allen Bill Pond. The location is amazingly beautiful and the day was so clear that the snowy mountains look close enough to touch.

The hike starts from the parking lot (where there are outhouses - nicer ones than the ones at Grotto Canyon) and runs alongside the river, passing under the highway. It then diverts away from the river, through a gate (apparently there are free-range cattle around, but we only saw 'evidence' of them), and along a beautiful, mossy, sun-dappled, spring creek. Further up parts of it were still nothing but an iceberg, but there's not much I love more than a merrily tinkling spring creek.


The path splits and you have the option of going to the left and up a few steps, or to the right and across a little bridge. GO TOWARDS THE RIGHT! Unless you like hideously steep uphill paths - your choice. :) Even looping to the right is steep - my legs don't get tired, but my lungs just burn. (I'm waiting for tests to see if I have asthma - I suspect that's part of the problem.) Going to the right takes you around the east side of the hill, and it's shadier and more sheltered. There's not much of a vista, but there's lots of nice shrubbery and such.

At about the half-way point, there's a bench with a bit of a view, but there's still a lot of trees in the way. It's an excellent to eat lunch and ponder over the mysterious placement of an electrical outlet located at the foot of the bench, even though there isn't any electricity for miles.

A little bit further on and to the right you can finally get a good glimpse of the snow-capped mountains and you're on the west side of the hill and there aren't as many trees.


The tricky bit here is to look at the view, which is riveting, while walking down a REALLY steep hill covered in loose gravel without tumbling off the edge of the cliff. Woooo!

See? Very steep! It looks like it drops right off the face of the earth.

By this point the loop has come back around far enough that you can look waaaay waaaay down and see the parking lot and the pond on the other side of the highway.
I call this one "Man on a Cliff".

Coming down the hill I actually bruised the pad of my right big toe from the friction in my shoe. Ouch! Part of the descent was through this lovely pine-scented forest, and back alongside the creek, then back along the river, which was looking very sparkly in the afternoon sunlight.

River passing under the highway

The whole loop is about 7km, and from the time we left the church to the time we got back to Calgary, including a stop in Bragg Creek for ice cream (which I couldn't partake in - I need some dental work done, and sadly, ice cream is just too cold), it took about five and a half hours. My crazy metabolism was in high gear after all that hiking (uphill both ways, I tell you!) so I ended up basically eating two dinners, and three days later I'm still feeling hungry. Sunday I was pretty stiff in my hips and lower back, but thankfully that passed quickly!

Verdict: Beautiful view, good company, easy drive for a day trip, but just too gosh-darn hilly for me to really enjoy it over and over again, the way I do Grotto Canyon. But if I ever go to Israel on a dig again, I will go to Fullterton Loop as part of my training program, and I'll carry my own daypack instead of letting Trevor carry it the whole time. :)

This coming weekend we're going to Edmonton for our church body's tri-annual business meeting, at which Trevor is our church's voting delegate, and I'm a reporter for the newsletter. I'm really excited about it - we're going to see so many of our friends and play a role in the democratic system that makes our church system run. Wooohooo! Hopefully there'll be something exciting to blog about next Tuesday...or I should say something that someone who's not a Lutheran-political-geek would find interesting. :)

(I feel like I need a sign-off tag. "May your sword stay sharp." "May the odds be ever in your favour." "May the force be with you." "May the fleas of a thousand camels infest the armpits of your enemies." Any suggestions? :)

No comments: