Simon’s Valley and Big Hill Springs

Just time for a quick post today before heading out again. This afternoon Tucker the Dog and I headed out towards Big Hill Springs Provincial Park for a short walk.

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We made a short detour to the memorial plaque dedicated to two soldiers who lost their lives in a plane crash and the schoolteacher who tried to save them. The plaque lists the crash as happening in “Simon’s Valley” so that’s how I titled the post, although you will also see it called Symons Valley in other locations.  I first came across this memorial back in 2005 and will stop in here on occasion.  Not really sure where the actual plane crash took place or how close it is to this exact location, but it is an interesting bit of history.

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Big Hills Springs is an underrated Provincial Park.  It is small and doesn’t offer much in the way of amenities.  There are your standard pit toilets, three picnic tables near the parking lot, and a selection of garbage and recycling bins.  The fact that it isn’t overly developed is part of why it appeals to me.  I also appreciate the fact it is less than twenty minutes from home, making it a convenient destination when I don’t want to drive vey far but still want to get out into the woods.

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I was surprised how many cars were i the parking lot on this Wednesday afternoon.  There appeared to be a group of people having a picnic/gathering at a couple of the tables near the trailhead.  Then there was a smattering of people out for exercise and parents with their young children wandering around.

The trail at Big Hill Springs is gentle enough to be done in running shoes — no need for hiking boots.  It is also a short enough loop that you don’t need a lot of time to walk it.  There is a llttle bit of uphill involved and some tree roots which can threaten your footing if you aren’t paying attention, but that’s about it.  If you can navigate a flight of stairs you are physically fit enough to enjoy this park.

I like doing the loop in a counter-clockwise direction, even though that gets most of the highlights out of the way early.  The path wanders beside a small creek which picks its way down the hillside via a series of small waterfalls.  There are also the remnants of an old mill, although I know nothing about the history of it.

After the waterfalls you leave the creek and climb to the top of the hill on the west side of the park.  From there it is a lovely walk through the woods, with occasionalal glimpses of the creek as it wanders through the valley on its way to Cochrane and the Bow River.

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Remnants of an old mill

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With the sky clouding over and the threat of rain in the air, I was thankful it doesn’t take long to enjoy this park.  Although, under different circumstances with more time, there are plenty of unofficial side trails to explore and many places you can sit by the creek away from the people on the pathway.

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The flowers were out in full bloom today

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A Fitting Tribute

So, as I mentioned, just a quick update today.  Have a great Wednesday!

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