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Tag Archives: Hiking with small dogs
Early in November we joined a group of friends to go and hike Jumpingpound Loop Trail with our dogs. We did the west arm which is approximately 5km in length (the full loop is about 9km) and we took Kona along with us.
Jumpingpound Loop Trail is part of the Sibbald Recreational Area and can be accessed by driving west on the Trans-Canada highway and exiting onto Highway 68 (Sibbald Creek Trail). The trail can be accessed from the Pine Grove Day Use Area – the gate was closed for the season so we parked on the road and hiked in to access the trail.
As is typical of this time of the year the trail conditions were quite icy from an early snowfall followed by some milder weather and a freeze. The hike took us a little bit longer than usual for this length of hike due to how icy the conditions were, just under an hour and a half. There is a great view of Moose Mountain from the trail and it’s a relatively easy hike despite the conditions that day.
This trail is popular with hikers all year and mountain bikers in non-snow conditions. Either the full or partial loop would be a nice snowshoe on days where there was enough snowfall. Just a reminder – bear encounters are still possible this time of year so you should be prepared, especially if you are with a smaller group. We found the trail really slippery, even with good winter hiking boots I would recommend making sure you have good traction system on your shoes or thrown in your pack just in case. Seeing one of our friends slip and fall on their dog got us off our rear and we each bought a pair of ICEtrekkers the next day. A fall on a dog as small as a pom could be deadly, we’re lucky it wasn’t us.
Here are a few more photos from our hike on Jumpingpound Loop.
Last weekend we grabbed the pom crew and checked out Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. It’s one of the newest Provincial Parks and it’s quick to get to taking the 1A out of Calgary toward Cochrane. It still is a working ranch and I was really hoping to see some cows but we had no luck with that.
We also had some pom visitors (Daizy and Lexi) for the night and thought this would be a good way to get everyone good and tired. We did part of Yodel loop and then tied in to the paved pathway to see some of the old buildings from when the town of Glenbow was in this valley.
The views of the valley were quite moody with the clouds. In all we walked 5km and had about 400m of elevation gain, which I found surprising to discover since it didn’t look like there was that much incline while we were walking. Daizy and Lexi were pretty zonked after this, they don’t get out to do as much hiking as CB and Kona do.
We spent about 2 hours here as we took plenty of stops for photographs. I used my kit lens and since it was overcast my photos did turn out quite dark. My attempt to photograph the crew was a major fail as I just couldn’t get in enough light quick enough for the poms to not be blurry. There’s also some weird spot on my lens that I just can’t clean off. It’s not in the camera as it doesn’t show up in photos taken with my telephoto or the lens I rented a couple weeks ago. I hate to admit it but my husbands iPhone took a better photo. I’ve attached both photos for comparison. I guess it’s time to get serious about a new lens.
On Sunday we were to meet a group to hike the Fullerton Loop trail in the Elbow River Valley of K-country. The meeting point was in the Allen Bill Pond day use area parking lot. We didn’t realize that there was current construction and some new traffic lights on Highway 8, so unfortunately we arrived at the meeting spot a couple minutes late. But just in time to see the last person in the group go out of sight on the trail.
No worries we thought, we can hustle, and with it being a larger hiking group, all with dogs, we should be able to catch up to the back. CB and Kona are pretty good walkers and can easily keep up with our pace. So we started off on Elbow Trail from the east end of the parking lot. Not far on Fullerton Loop Trail you have a choice. Go left or go right. We chose right. The group chose left. We discovered this after about a half an hour of an all-out assault on the trail; we came upon a couple that had left before the big group, and no, they hadn’t seen them come this way.
Once we realized we were going to be meeting the group somewhere along the trail, we slowed down to a more comfortable pace and I was able to take some photos of the dogs and the lovely fall leaves.
This is a heavily treed trail but there are two look out points and just as we got to the first lookout going counter clockwise on the trail we finally came upon the group. We didn’t linger long and joined them on the return instead of continuing along the west arm of the trail.
From the parking lot and back the hike is approximately 7kms with 200 m of elevation gain. We left the parking lot at about 9:38am and we were back at 11:10am. Pretty quick and well under the three hours that was planned for the hike. Overall this is an easy hike with good terrain (hard-pack dirt) for the dogs and can be done quickly in a time crunch. It’s a busier trail on weekends but I don’t think that’s a bad thing when the bears are still fattening up for the winter.
Since we were done so early we decided to visit Elbow falls to eat our lunch and take some pictures. I had rented a Canon EF 15-85mm lens for the weekend and thought this would be a good spot to test it out since I didn’t get very good views on Fullerton Loop. I’m looking to upgrade the kit lens that came with my Canon Rebel now that I’ve been using the telephoto I bought in the spring. The Canon EF 15-85mm is a little heavier than my lens but I was immediately much happier with the quality of photos it was taking.
I just love coming to the Falls but this place is super busy on nice days no matter the time of year. Sunday was no exception and the trails around the falls were loaded with people.
The most interesting thing about this area is that just on the south side of the Elbow River is the McLean Creek off-road recreational area. It’s so neat to see the quadders and dirt bikers hanging out on the rocks of the falls, seemingly so close that you could almost reach out to shake hands. I almost felt like I was spying on family time while testing out the zoom on my rented lens. From the photo’s I took it looks like we weren’t the only ones to have great time out in the Elbow Valley.
Every time I come out this way I always say to myself that I need to come out here more. It’s so close to the city and you really can be out and back in a few hours depending on what trail you choose to do. A bonus is that the weather this fall has been amazing so far; hope it stays that way at least for a few more weeks.
* For more information on the trails in the Bragg Creek/Elbow Valley area of Kananaskis Country check out the Alberta Parks website. You’ll find out which trails allow bikes and horses and which are for hikers only including information on distances, trail difficulty and estimated hiking time. Dogs are allowed on-leash on all the trails in the Provincial Park. Don’t forget that bear’s frequent this area so make sure to come prepared.
On Canada Day we like to head into Banff National Park when the weather is good because the park entrance is free on Canada Day, and where better to celebrate our Country’s birthday than by being in a national park.
The trail reports didn’t look that good for the national park; snow at elevation and wet/flooded trails in the valley’s didn’t leave a lot of choice for a mid-distance hike, so we ended up going to the Benchland trails in Canmore instead. We chose to do the Montane Trail and then to loop back along the Silvertip Footpath along the edge of the Silvertip Golf course. According to the area maps the hike should be about 7.4 km in length. The walk tracker app I recently downloaded for free from iTunes had us at 8.0 km when all was said and done.
The view of the Three Sisters is spectacular from most places in town. This view is from along Cougar Creek looking back towards the day use parking lot, just before we pop into the woods on Montane Trail.
I think CB and Kona appreciated being in the trees as it give them some shade. The skies varied from overcast to clear during our walk, weather can change here so quickly and we only had a little sprinkling of rain while we were out.
This is a really pretty trail and there is a lot of opportunity to see wild flowers, such as this western wood lily. There were also purple and yellow columbines and crimson paintbrushes along the trail, as well as many flowers I don’t know the names of.
I feel pretty lucky to have had a chance to get a picture of this butterfly. I think it’s an Atlantis Fritillaria but I’m not completely sure although I do know that this is a Fritillaria and the flower it’s visiting is an Arnica.
You can see some crimson paintbrush just off the side of the trail beside Kona.
There was also ample opportunity to stop and think for a while, just enjoying the scenery.
For most of the Montane Trail you are walking above the Silvertip golf course and you can see parts of it from along the trail. It’s a pretty course as one would expect in this part of the Rockies. We encountered some mountain bikers but overall the trail was pretty quiet. From the Montane Trial you then turn onto the Silvertip footpath along the western edge of the golf course which leads you back into the neighborhood and to the day-use parking lot.
Along the way we ran into this guy. He was so cheesed that we were there he even yelled at us with his mouth full. All in all a nice walk and a great way to spend the afternoon.