The weather has been really nice and it seemed like a shame not to take advantage of what is probably one of our last nice weekends to get out to the mountains. Most of my hiking choices lately have been based on driving distance from Calgary and this one is just under an hour so it was perfect. At around 12 km it isn’t too long but is enough to make it feel like a outting. Some elevation, but nothing the dog (and we) couldn’t handle.
It was pretty cool and cloudy when we got to the trailhead at the Barrier Dam parking lot on Sunday morning but there were already lots of other people out there at 10 am. It was also very windy so we bundled up before starting out across the dam. Once we got into the trees (which make up most of the hike) we warmed up and everyone took off a few layers. The fall colours were quite pretty and the trail is in good condition as it heads upwards.
Most of the hike is in the trees and it isn’t until you reach the first viewpoint (most of the way up) that it opens up to views over the lake. If you are looking for instant gratification this isn’t the hike for you. We stopped at the view-point for lunch and to a take a few pictures.
It was still cloudy as we ate lunch but it cleared up and by the time we were ready to hike on the sun had come out. We headed up the trail a little further to another view-point near the large metal repeater. The trail was fine for the dogs, just a little steeper, rockier and narrower than before.
The view from there is quite nice and since the sun had come out (making this warmer) we sat and enjoyed things for a few minutes. I am still trying to convince Patches to take a photo with his back to the view but he always insists on looking the wrong way. It’s a nice lookout because you get a view of the prairies and of Barrier Lake.
The way down was pretty uneventful. We let the dogs scramble down to the first look out and from there it was smooth hiking back to the dam at the bottom. With the sun out it was a pretty view back the way we had come.
We were all pretty tired by the time we got back to our cars. This was our longest day hike of the year and I am surprisingly out of shape for mountain adventures (even though I loved being outside on an October day). I’d love to get one more hike in before the snow flies (and then I have grand plans of doing some winter hiking) but we’ll see how things go. Still, if this is it for my hiking season it hasn’t been too bad of a year!