Tom Campbell's Hill

  • Washrooms: None 
  • Paved and Gravel Path
  • Parking: Street Parking
Threatening sky over Calgary's downtown district.
Look Out Point   

I drove out to Prairie Winds Park this morning, excited to start my walking week under a (finally) sunny sky.  I was dismayed to find a sign explaining the park was closed to the public to prepare for a music festival.  But, assuming no one would be working this early, I snuck in anyways.  Filled with daring and rule-breaking adrenalin, I jogged across a wide lawn and over a hill to discover . . . construction.  Apparently, the city is redeveloping the creek and walking paths this summer, and all that was left to experience was tractors and mosquitos.  Since neither are photogenic or interesting, here's an account of a walk from last week instead:

The golden fescue seeds.

Ask Calgarians what is west of downtown, they'll likely come up with the zoo or the science center.  But sandwiched between them is Tom Campbell's Hill Nature Reserve, perched high on a hill overlooking the river valley.  I followed a tree-line colonnade out to the south end of the ridge, where I found an expansive view of the city around me.  It was interesting to see how effectively this hilltop shielded the quiet neighbourhoods on one side from two busy freeways on the other.  But even more interesting was the afternoon sky, transitioning from fluffy white clouds in the east to the dark thunderheads looming out to the west.  

When the sun peaked through the clouds, though the rich colours of late summer shone out from between the ripening grains of the fescue grass.  Amongst it all were giant boulders strewn here and there, some of which have been co-opted into benches and trail markers.  

Flowers shining in a brief sun burst.

The main path around the perimeter of the hill is relatively short, but there's lots of informal trails to explore on the slopes.  The grassland may seem monotonous from a distance, but once you're in the middle of it, there's lots to see close up!  In fact, I was so distracted that I went well over my aloted hour, and found myself standing on an open high hill in the face of an imminent thunderstorm.  Ack!

I hustled back to my car just in time for the downpour, and was treated to an exuberant lighting display as I drove west.   The storm passed quickly though, and a lovely rainbow emerged just as I was pulling into my neighbourhood.  Sunshine to thunder storm to rainbow to sunshine all in 35 minutes!

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