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Hiking is no longer my forte

There was a time when no hiking trail was a challenge.

Shep and I have been to the top of the Castle Mountain Lookout in Banff National Park.

We’ve done the Barrier Dam hike in Kananaskis.

No height was too dizzying. No switchback too windy.

Today, that seemed like light years ago.

I needed an escape. And the sky looked as true blue as it could ever, punctuated by big fluffy clouds. Shep needed to soak in some water.

We headed for Paul Lake, a provincial park that has a beach dedicated for dog use. This is a rarity, folks. A lot of provincial parks don’t allow dogs anywhere near the beach. Thus, we are grateful that Paul Lake is less than 25 kilometres from our house in Kamloops.

And since it was a weekday, we had the beach all to ourselves.

maremma sheepdog in lake

Now see that rocky hill in the upper right background? That’s Gibraltar Rock. And there’s a trail that takes hikers up one kilometre (plus 1/3 km of switchbacks) to the top of that rock.

I’ve read there’s a spectacular view of the lake from there.

I may never know. Our hiking days fell behind us when Shep injured his back a few years ago. He was assessed with Stage 2/3 arthritis about a month ago, and the meds he’s on now have him acting like a puppy.

He pulled on his leash, wanting to march forward. The few maternal instincts I have kicked in and I kept telling him, “Go easy, old man.” But he doesn’t listen.

With each charge up the hill (hikers climb 900 metres on this trail), my quads screamed at me. “You don’t do this anymore,” they were yelling. And my hamstrings chimed in: “You biked 15 km yesterday, you jerk!”

I took breaks. After all, there were wildflowers on either side of the path.

Like Indian paintbrush:

red alpine wildflower

And arrow-leaved balsamroot:

Yellow alpine wildflower

The beautiful wildrose (I miss you, Alberta):

pink alpine wildflowerI think I lasted about 20 minutes before I finally gave up. I figure I was halfway to the top and the hill that appeared ahead of me made me want to go home and nap.

I turned around. And Shep was not impressed.

maremma sheepdog on a hiking trail

Ah, but no. There was no time for sleep.

There was more to see.

We jumped back in the truck and kept going up the road to Pinantan. We crested a hill and came upon a breathtaking view of the valley. I couldn’t let this pass without snapping a panorama on my HTC One X:

panorama of valleyStunning, no?

We expect to see more gorgeous scenery as we keep exploring the backroads of Kamloops.

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