Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek - Hiking Alberta

An enclosure, placed in a field for no apparent reason, captures the attention.

Today, a long-standing mystery will be solved.  I have stood at the Sibbald Viewpoint many times, over many years.  It is always a beautiful view to the flat grasslands below the ridge, particularly when colors are enhanced by low, morning sun.

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada Early morning view from Sibbald Viewpoint

 

There are four plaques at the Sibbald Viewpoint which provide some historical background when the grasslands below were a Native buffalo hunting ground.  Archeological digs nearby have uncovered evidence of Indian camps and artifacts which existed here more than 10,000 years ago.  The fourth plaque provides a bit of recent history about the formation of Kananaskis Country in 1978.

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada Plaque 1 of 4 - Getting Ready

 

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada Plaque 2 of 4 - A Day in the Life

 

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada Plaque 3 of 4 - The Hunt

 

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada Plaque 4 of 4 - The Birth of Kananaskis - A Shared Vision

 

There is a small fenced-in area near the centre of the grassland.  Why?  Is it a fenced archeological site to protect ancient artifacts?  Is it a corral?  Is it a paddock?  Is it visible in the following low resolution photo?

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada What is that fenced area in the field?

 

I am determined to walk into the grassland area after I complete my hike of the Sibbald Flat Trail.  Later in the day, I drive from Sibbald Lake, west on the Sibbald Creek Trail to the Powderface Trail junction and turn south for a short distance to park at a pullout near the bridge on the edge of the flat grassland. 

After a glorious thirty minute saunter in the sun on pasture land, dodging cow poop, I arrive at the enclosure which is substantially larger than expected.  It is not an archeological site.  It is not a paddock or a corral.

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada

The mystery is solved!

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada It is much larger than I expected.

 

The enclosure is a Permanent Rangeland Reference Area - Experimental Site - something, something - and around enclosure.  Apparently the Alberta Government hires people to watch grass grow and it needs to be cow poop free.  No offence intended.  Well, that was anticlimactic, bordering on disappointing.

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada

A telephoto from the grassland enclosure to Sibbald Viewpoint

However,  I notice, off to the left  in the far distance, there is an isolated stand of trees in the grassland area.  This will need to be investigated.  Characteristically,  trees growing in the middle of a field, for no apparent reason, indicate the presence of a former dwelling.

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada The first of two isolated stands of desiduous trees

 

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada Why are these trees standing isolated in the grass land?

 

Carefully, I scour the ground throughout the trees for evidence of old building material but I find nothing.  There are a lot of boulders scattered throughout the trees which could be remnants of old foundations.  Adjacent to the first group of trees is another smaller isolated stand of deciduous trees.  An out building?

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada

No visible evidence on the ground of early habitation

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada

The adjacent stand of trees on Sibbald Flat

Again, I examine the site thoroughly but find no definitive evidence of a former homestead.  If anyone has knowledge of a former homestead, I would be interested in hearing the story.  Please leave a comment.  I will make the relatively straight, cow paddy shuffle, kilometre long hike back to the car.

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada

Straight line cow paddy shuffle back to the car on Sibbald Flat

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada

Parked beside the Powderface Trail with two-humper Deer Ridge in the background

On the return drive to Calgary, from the Powderface Trail to east on Sibbald Creek Trail, I make one final stop at the Sibbald Viewpoint for photos in afternoon sun.

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada

Last stop at Sibbald Viewpoint pullout on road side.

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada The mystery of the enclosure has been resolved. Anti-climactic.

 

A kilometre further east, I turn into a road to the closed gate and make a short walk from the car through snow to the Sibbald Forestry Exhibit trailhead. It is a kilometre long hike along the top of the ridge to the Sibbald Viewpoint which I have just left. 

Near the beginning of this trail, I am able to take a photograph of Sibbald Flat from the north end.  It is a different perspective and a good reminder of today's excellent Sibbald Flat ramble of discovery on a beautiful, sunny, spring day.

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada

Sibbald Forestry Exhibit Trail access to Sibbald Viewpoint

Sibbald Viewpoint - Sibbald Creek, Alberta, Canada

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