With my work schedule, free weekends are in short supply around here – it’s fortunate the mountains are a short drive west and the daylight hours have increased, so we can get out for some exploring during the week. A couple of Tuesdays ago (before spring came along and all the nasty weather with it), my hubby and I headed out to Jura Creek, just outside of the town of Exshaw. It’s about an hour’s drive west of Calgary on scenic highway 1 A – or you could do as we did and take the faster route via Highway 1, turning off at Bow Valley Provincial Park.
The day we went there was a strong Chinook wind and it was so warm you could smell the fragrance of the junipers and the spruce trees and the earthy odour of the thawing ground. The path leading up to the creek bed was a muddy mess (memo to self: buy some rain boots already, you need them for gardening anyway). Once we got to the creek, the first few metres in front of the canyon were dry and bare. We tried to determine whether or not the area had gotten damaged in the floods of last June and it’s a safe bet it was: the sides and bottom of the gravel bar had obviously been pushed around by heavy machinery, but there was no sign of broken trees or other debris littering the banks.
For anyone looking for a good workout, Jura Creek doesn’t offer any sort of challenge; the creek bed is pretty much level and it was an easy walk through the canyon. The scenery is marvellous, though!
View of the dry creek bed, looking back from the canyon mouth. The trailhead lies south, about a kilometre away (to the left of the scene in the photo).
The creek on the other side of the canyon. We found open water in some areas.
Lots of moss.
Trees budding in the snow.
I did use ice cleats on my boots, but there was actually a fair amount of snow cover and they were only really necessary in a few spots, mostly when we exited the canyon and headed further along the creek.
Wonder what is in that cave? On second thought….
Back through the canyon.
I read somewhere that you can hike above the canyon, but I don’t know where that trailhead begins. It would be interesting to see it from above.
No outdoor adventures planned for this week – the weather is not co-operating whatsoever! Tomorrow night our community garden group and the local horticultural society are presenting an information session about raised bed gardening, and I’ll venture out for that – it should be interesting. What are you up to this week?