Hiking the Brown-Lowery Provincial Park Trails

It was a wonderful opportunity to get in a spring hike, when I was called in as a substitute teacher on a field-trip day!  I had been up this way before and wasn’t particularly happy about the mosquitoes that acted like jet-fighters; it was so boggy and hot.  This day, though, was different!  While there were a limited variety of wild flowers in bloom as yet, I enjoyed recollections of my last journey, when the meadows magically came to life with white blooms and huge elephant-ear leaves.  I am still struggling to identify this plant because there are very similar wild flowers; White Angelica, Spotted Water Hemlock, and Cow Parsnip.  It happened that yesterday, these were not blooming.

Just fading, were Calypso bulbosa var. americana ‘Eastern-fairy Slipper’.  In huge quantity were Mertensia paniculata ‘Tall Lungwort, Bluebell’. Arnica cordifolia or Mule’s Ear Daisies were plentiful, as were Linaria vulgaris ‘Toadflax, Butter and Eggs’ at our lunch spot.  As we hiked out in the rain, we found some beautiful wild tiger lilies. I haven’t noted here, all of the plants I discovered yesterday, but will research and add them in later.  Bird songs were varied and magical, although I wasn’t able to make any sitings and I’m really inexperienced, identifying by song alone.  Suffice it to say, it was a fantastic thing to get out hiking.  It was exhilarating and I continue to absolutely love where I live!

Brown-Lowery Provincial Park is an unexpected refuge of greenery in ranching country. This 228-hectare park is a lovely preserve of old-growth spruce and aspen forest with an extensive understorey of wild flowers (in season) and other plants.

In low-lying areas, marshes fed by tiny streams support wetland vegetation including cow parsnips. Brown-Lowery Provincial Park is a series of rough trails that wind through what seems to be a vast property.  The land was donated to the province by Home Oil founders Robert Brown Sr and Major James Robert Lowery in the 1960’s. This site, previously a recreation area, became a Provincial Park in 1992-1993. Not many Calgarians know of the park, so it’s generally crowd free, and a great place to wander and take in the sights, smells, and sounds of the forest!

The Park is just northwest of Turner Valley, southwest of Priddis, and is accessed from Highway 762 (turn at the sign for “Plummer’s Road”). It’s not a big area — only about 3 km2 — but there’s plenty of hiking to be done.

The area is a maze of trails and paths, some leading to viewpoints, some along creeks, and some to the remains of structures in the area — a cabin and a sawmill.

During the spring, the area is known for its birdwatching potential and is a wonderful preserve for all wildlife.

Our lunch spot provided the most breath-taking view, after a couple of very athletic ‘ups’, the students were celebratory and hungry!  It was a wonderful respite from the city!

The setting provided a panoramic screen where we watched the dramatic weather see its origins in the mountains and travel one valley after another, toward us.

We got down into the low brush as the lightning grew in force.  Fortunately, we only experienced one downpour and enjoyed the challenges that mud provides on a downward slope. :0)  A magical day, for certain!

Let’s Hit the Road, Jack!

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living. Anais Nin

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