An encounter with summertime grandeur at Glenbow Ranch
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
In the midst of an unexpectedly full summer, my wife Mary Anna and I were actually able to squeeze in a memorable three-hour mini-holiday. It involved a picturesque hike and picnic at one of our area’s natural treasures with three of our family, our own special treasures.
Last Thursday afternoon we drove 10 minutes east of Cochrane to Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, our very first visit – but by no means our last – since it opened nearly two years ago. With us were our Calgary son, Reg, and our two grandchildren, Naomi and Thomas.
Stretching along the north shore of the Bow River, the day-use park consists of 1,300 hectares of parkland through which 30 km of trails weave natural and human heritage into a breathtaking tapestry of river valley, rolling hills, historic cabins and mountain vistas.
We chose to walk one of the shorter loops. Beginning at the Visitor Centre, we headed down Glenbow Trail, then west along Bowbend Trail, and back along the southeast leg of the Tiger Lily Loop. Exertion-wise, this was no big deal for our son and grandkids, but solid proof that the grandparents should exercise more!
Since ours was a mid-summer visit, the fields were resplendent with vibrant greens dotted with a myriad of wildflowers – especially yellow, purple and Alberta-wild-rose-pink ones.
We were glad we had our cameras along. I’ve included a few photos with this column. The weather-beaten building at the lower right along the CPR tracks is the old Glenbow Store and post office. (For a photographically stunning book on the ranch and its place in our valley, be sure to read local author Fred Stenson’s Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park: Grass, Hills, and History.)
Sitting down at last around a picnic table near the parking lot where we set out, we wrapped up our afternoon of family-bonding over fried chicken and potato salad, still embraced by Glenbow’s grandeur – a truly memorable mini-holiday only minutes from home.
© 2013 Warren Harbeck