From its bustling urban attitude to its refusal to lose that small-town feel, the city didn’t take long to grow on me. In fact, I’d known I was born to live here since I was 14 and saw pictures of my brother’s exchange trip here.
It wasn’t until Shep came into my life, though, that I realized so much of what Calgary has to offer. Renowned as a pet-friendly city, it’s home to 138 off-leash dog parks and a large network of other pathed parks where we can roam on-leash.
This past Friday, we hit one of our favourite haunts, Edworthy Park. Inside its 169 hectares, the Douglas Fir Trail features a terrific hike up and down stairs built into the hill.
The path is dusted with the cottony fluff of some seed — cottonwood — and wild flowers growing in the shadow of the not-quite-Douglas firs.
The stairs are a formidable climb on a night when I remember running up them as a Soldiers of Fitness client four years ago … and then I get passed by a six-year-old trying to beat his younger sister to the top.
Shep has no trouble, of course. He beats me at every turn, going ahead 20 or 30 feet and turning to wait for me, as if to say ‘the coast is clear, Mom!’
The sun starts to start as we approach the pedestrian bridge under Crowchild Trail. The sky glows with oranges and pink, colours that Greek mythology said came off the golden apples guarded by the Hesperides, daughters of Atlas.
It’s about that time I realize it’s 10:15 p.m. The gates at the south parking lot get locked at 11 p.m.
I think it might take an hour to get back to the truck.
Shep and I start to haul ass but it isn’t easy, carrying a full camera bag and a tripod and … wait, is that the moon hovering over the Bow?
We have five minutes to spare.
There was never a need to worry … I might even have tried breathing on the way back.