Ole Buck is a loop trail over a rise above Sibbald Lake in Kananaskis Country, Alberta.
The Ole Buck hike above Sibbald Lake begins on a brisk, breezy and predominantly overcast morning with grandson, age 6, heading west from Calgary, Alberta on the TransCanada Highway to the exit south at Sibbald Creek Trail (Hwy 68).
The first stop is the Sibbald Flat Viewpoint where a short hike to the edge allows discussion about this ancient Indian hunting ground. Buffalo, grazing on the flat, were hunted for food and clothing in this natural trap surrounded by forested hills.
The next stop is at the Sibbald Lake campground where parking at the hiking area near the shore of tiny, but beautiful, Sibbald Lake provides close proximity to the trail-head for Ole Buck. The objective for the day is to hike the 'summit' of the 'mountain' on the other side using the 2.4 KM (1½ mile) Ole Buck Trail loop.
The day is still cool and breezy so a layer of clothing is added and the hike begins with the one kilometer access along the lake shore to a small bridge crossing a creek onto the Ole Buck Trail. After heated debate the decision is to tackle the loop in a counter clockwise direction.
Initially the flat trail travels through very tall grassland. Occasionally the grass is taller than Grandson but the bright red coat makes him easy to find. Occasionally, glancing behind me reveals no more evidence than a small patch of tall grass weaving back and forth.
The trail ascends into forest and the climb begins through old forest beside a deepening forested gully to the evergreen tree surrounded, rocky summit where two rock cairns and a log bench provide a comfortable place to enjoy lunch. The sun is bright and the day has warmed up enough to allow hiking in shorts and T-shirts.
The hike down the other side provides occasional views through the trees of Sibbald Lake and Camp Adventure on the shore. There are very pretty vistas of surrounding foothills. Today, the focus is on basic map reading skills, doing a little off-trail hiking and learning the Sherpa step for descent so the knees will be better later in life.
Overall the hike is near 6 KMs (3¾ miles) through a wide variety of terrain with an estimated 152 m (500 ft) of elevation on the day.
On the way home, a stop in Bragg Creek completes the adventure with well-deserved triple chocolate brownie ice cream cones. This is a special day.