Waterfall Valley

A short walk from the hot and dry cliffs above . . . 
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Washrooms: None
  • Board Walk and Dirt Paths (including some stairs)
Going Beneath the Bedrock  

Today I started on a cliff overlooking the river valley with clear views of the mountains in the west, Canada Olympic Park to the south, and downtown to the east.  The bridges and ponds of Bowmont Park were laid out below me, and I could see the Bow River stretching for miles both up and down stream. Standing alone on that precipice was exhilarating!

. . . to the cool and moist valley floor below.

But everything changed as I descended into "Waterfall Valley". The hot and windy conditions eased into a refreshing cool humidity, and the dry ground became muddy and soft.  The Saskatoon berries above were already starting to wither, while those deep in the coulee were just starting to form at the base of finishing flowers. The neighbourhood sounds of cars driving by and the odd backyard stereo were replaced by buzzing insects, chattering birds, and the gurgling of the spring-fed stream that runs beside the path.  In fact, this is one of only a few walks I've taken in Calgary in which I've heard and seen nothing of the city around me.  Just the sights and sounds of nature.  
Moss and lichen paint the tufa with vibrant colours.

After descending a few stairs, I followed a boardwalk deeper into the valley, at first bordered by lush grasses, then bushes and finally old growth trees.  I heard the springs before I saw them, tucked away in the foliage, and I began to catch glimpses of the little creek peeking out between the undergrowth as it tumbled over the rocks and branches in its path.  I also found pockets of  "tufa", beautiful moss-covered rock formations formed by the calcium carbonate in the spring water.  
The main attraction!

The walk down the board walk was beautiful enough on its own, but at the end of the path I was rewarded with a close-up view of the promised waterfalls.  Tumbling out the steep walls of narrow gorge that opens into the river, they were like a perfect dessert at the end of a satisfying meal.  A great place to relax and gather my strength for my trek back up the valley!

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