|The view to the south from Prairie Mountain|
Yesterday, April 22nd, was Earth Day. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and I could think of no better way to spend Earth Day than to hike a mountain. I’ve really grown to love hiking since moving to Calgary. It gives me a sense of connectedness with nature and awe for my surroundings in ways that I find difficult to feel otherwise. This would also be my first solo hike of the season. As much as I love to travel with company, hike with friends and be around people, I do enjoy doing things on my own. I’ve always been that way, and consequently, I’ve done quite a bit of solo traveling and hiking. I notice that when I get all thinky, I either go to self-help books, or I venture out on my own. Yesterday was one of those days.
|“I’m happy to be here!”|
I decided to hike Prairie Mountain, which I’ve done several times and figured it would be a great hike to kick-start the hiking season :). It’s also close to Calgary near Bragg Creek, so it makes for a fairly quick excursion. I was interested to see how I would do considering it would be the first intense hike since last year. Either way, I knew that my quadriceps were in for a treat!
|Snapping a quick photo during the ascent|
|Just me and the trees|
|I was preparing for a muddy/snowy hike|
|The home stretch!|
The hike was shorter than I remembered, but just as gruelling as I expected. My quads were definitely on fire at times and I had to control my pace and breathing for most of the ascent. I passed many hikers along the way, but for the most part, it was just me and the trees, earth and mountains around me. The summit is beautiful. On a clear day, Calgary rises up in the east among infinite miles of flat prairie land. In the west, there are gorgeous views of many mountain peaks. In between panting or focussing on my steps, I would smile to myself and reflect. I feel extremely fortunate and lucky to be living so close to such amazing natural beauty. Why wouldn’t I take advantage of it as much as possible…? There are so many epic hikes I want to complete, and seemingly never enough time.
|Calgary in the distance|
|The summit. The flag wasn’t there last year :)|
|Stunning mountains to the west|
|Panoramic from the summit|
The Elbow Falls area was swarming with families out to enjoy the weather, so by the time I parked and geared up with my bag, gaiters, microspikes and hiking poles, I didn’t begin my ascent until 1:50 pm. Even with the mud and snow, I reached the summit by 3:20 pm. The descent was kind of fun- a combination of walking, sliding, and running down the mountain. I was back at the car by 4:20 pm- so 2.5 hours up and down ain’t bad at all!
|So many people in the Elbow Falls area|
|At the summit. I conquered you real good, Praire Mountain.|