Sunday, August 25, 2013

Deer Ridge

Trip Date: August 2012

The Deer Ridge Trail is located in the Sibbald Lake Provincial Recreation Area, which is about 70km west of Calgary along Sibbald Creek Trail (Highway 68).  It is also part of the bigger Kananaskis Country park system.  This marked the first time I had been to this area of the province and I was pleasantly surprised.  Jaryd and I headed out in the late morning and parked at the Sibbald Lake Day Use Area, which doubles as the trailhead.  The hike is only 6.5km round trip and gains about 180m of elevation.  We were looking for a quick hike and something that would get us out of the city for the afternoon.  We found exactly what we were looking for.

Shortly after starting the hike you enter a large meadow that was the site of the 1984 Stoney Nation Sun Dance Ceremony or Ti-Jurabi-Chubi.  There was a informative sign near the sacred site that gave further details:
This is a site that was used by the Indians for their ti-jurabi-chubi or sacred lodge dance.  Roughly translated, ti-jurabi-chubi means "to make a lodge dwelling for a religious ceremony."  The dance that is part of the ceremony, in the words of Chief John Snow, is "an expression of the joy and ecstasy of a religious life, of being thankful for life, the beautiful creation, the rain, the sun, and the changing seasons." 
The lodge was made from freshly cut trees and shrubs, and then colorful banners were hung on the central pole.  After a ti-jurabi-chubi, the lodge is left to time and weather for dismantling.
The skeletal remains of the two structures, remarkably still standing after 28 years!
The bigger of the two was the Sweat Lodge
Colourful flags are still hanging on the branches
The second, and much smaller, structure
Final look before moving on
We came across another Ti-Jurabi-Chubi site while hiking the Zephyr Creek Trail on our way to the pictographs in Painted Valley.

Our first good view of Moose Mountain from Deer Ridge
Sibbald Creek meanders lazily below the ridgeline
Jaryd at the top of the ridge
This made a great spot to stop and have lunch
This sign read, "Weaver Mt." was attached to a tree that had been blown over by strong winds
We stumbled upon this Moose antler sitting on top of a tree stump that was conveniently located beside Moose Pond
Moose Pond
Sibbald Lake
Rome cooling off in the lake after a great afternoon

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