Dale Hodges Park, Calgary

by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky mountains.

BEST urban hiking — in my opinion — is along the north bank of the Bow River in the NW of the city of nearly 1.3 million.

A new attraction has been added. Dale Hodges Park – stormwater wetlands, wildlife habitat, trails for cycling and walking, and lookout points across the scenic river valley.

Formerly a gravel pit, it won the highest award of honour from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects for its use of environmental landscape design.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I’d never seen a muskrat (photos) in my home town. Until I visited Dale Hodges Park.

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Hiking Tunnel Mountain Banff in Winter

Tunnel Mountain 1,692 m (5,551 ft) is located in the Bow River Valley of Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.

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The mountain is nearly completely encircled by the town of Banff and the Banff Springs Hotel grounds

Climbing Tunnel is super popular year round as the trail is well graded. In winter many folks bring hiking poles and ice cleats as there are slippery and icy sections.

4.3 km (3 mi) round-trip.

You’ll often see Elk on the way up as I did.

Banff Township seen from Tunnel Mountain

related – Banff’s Tunnel Mountain Hike is Wonderful in Winter

Bobcats in Calgary

In my travels around the world I’ve seen much elusive wildlife including snow leopards.

BUT I’d never seen more than bobcat paw-prints.

In recent years, bobcats have been moving into big city Calgary, population 1.2 million plus.

MyCalgary.com

The city offers plenty of squirrels and jackrabbits.

One took a nap in a city yard a couple of weeks ago.

I saw this one just after dawn in the neighbourhood where I grew up. It seemed totally unworried about me standing only about 2m distant.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

BestHike #10 – Overland Track, Australia

The Overland Track in Tasmania is one of our top 10 hikes in the world.

Click PLAY or watch a 1 minute introduction on YouTube.

Overland Track

The best & most famous walk in Australia.

Overland

AT A GLANCE

  • surreal, unique Tasmanian vistas
  • pretty lakes, tarns and waterfalls
  • exiting by ferry it’s minimum 62km (38.5mi) carrying a pack plus many possible sidetrips without a pack.
    • Elevation Gain: +4,793 ft / 1,461 m
      Elevation Loss: -5,160 ft / 1,573 m
  • 8000-9000 walkers / year in the past
    • 60 walkers start / day 2018 in high season
    • Oct 1 – May 31 Overland Track Pass reservations online
  • access by public transportation
  • easy-moderate hiking IF the weather cooperates
  • add challenging sidetrip peak scrambles if the weather is good
  • Nov – early May best months
  • possible to hike year round (snow travel during the winter)
  • 7-nights recommended. Start Ronny Creek. Finish Cynthia Bay.

Read more on our Overland Information page.

Glorious Rathtrevor Beach at Dawn

Dawn low tide at Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville on Vancouver Island.

I’ve been walking early morning at Rathtrevor for months during COVID lockdown. This edit gives you a good feel for the glorious setting.

I’ve not yet tired of taking a morning walk in exactly the same place each day. Every dawn is different.

Low tide here stretches nearly a kilometre out into the Strait of Georgia.

Thousands of birds are here Spring and Autumn during migration. This video shot in November.

Rathtrevor has a terrific campground, if you ever get the chance to visit.

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MountainLion.org on that cougar encounter

Mountain lions are much less dangerous to hikers in North America than snake bites, lightning strikes and even bee stings.

But plenty of people have been freaked out by a recent viral video.

 “The encounter might have been avoided altogether, but once it happened, the runner did a lot of things right,” says Denise Peterson, a Utah resident and region coordinator with the Mountain Lion Foundation.

“But individuals and the media are getting a lot of things wrong …

26-year-old Kyle Burgess has told reporters that he was running on a trail in Provo’s Slate Canyon when he saw kittens on the gravel path ahead of him. Thinking they might be bobcat kittens, he started recording video on his phone. When the mother lion appeared, he immediately knew he had made a dangerous mistake.

In the six minutes that follow, the video shows Burgess doing many things correctly: he backed away slowly, continued facing the lion, spoke loudly and firmly, and didn’t try to run away.

The lion followed him for several minutes, occasionally hissing and lunging. “She clearly did not view him as prey,” says Debra Chase, CEO of the Mountain Lion Foundation.

“The behavior was meant to chase him away, which it did very well. The mother lion was reacting to a perceived threat to her young.” …

Mountain Lion Foundation Issues Plea for Proper Reporting on Utah Encounter
CC BY-SA 2.0

Resurrection Pass Trail, Kenai, Alaska

The 38-mile Resurrection Pass Trail through the Kenai Mountains is by far the most popular multi-day backcountry route in Southcentral Alaska. Ideal for backpackers and mountain bikers—and a great destination for skiers and snowshoers during snow season—the trail links historic gold mining areas near Hope with a trailhead near Cooper Landing close to the Kenai River.

It is a true classic, drawing hundreds of visitors over the entire year. Many Alaskans return annually—often taking at least five days to traverse the route. …

You have two options for accommodations on multi-day trips: rent cabins or carry a tent.  …

If you want to hike from one end to the other, you need to set up a shuttle or book a trip on a local trail taxi. …

The Kenai Mountains feature prime brown bear habitat, and the forests abound with black bears. So take all the usual precautions—including storing food in bear lockers or portable vaults, keeping a clean camp and carrying bear spray for deterrence. Make noise and pay attention. Hikers regularly report encounters with or catch sight of both species. Having said that, the trail gets regular human traffic and does not have a reputation for unusual bear problems.

Mid-June through early September is the window.

Kraig Adams expanded on the standard route. And put together a video which reveals the massive landscape very well.

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(via Adventure Blog)

Pileated woodpecker, Vancouver Island

The pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is native to North America.

The term “pileated” refers to the bird’s prominent red crest, with the term from the Latin pileatus meaning “capped”.

These birds mainly eat insects, especially carpenter ants and wood-boring beetle larvae.

A pileated woodpecker pair stays together on its territory all year round and is not migratory.

The are often brazenly tolerant of people.

Click PLAY or watch one brazenly ignoring me on YouTube.