Sibbald Meadows Pond is an idyllic oasis of peace and quiet, at roadside towards the west end of Sibbald Creek Trail (Hwy 68) and a few kilometres east of the junction with Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40). The pond is created by a human-constructed dam and during the summer it is a bustling picnic area.
Inexplicably, there is no traffic on the road and there are no other people present. I am alone and master of this tiny park, except for an abundance of birds and shy or nocturnal wildlife, reluctant to make their presence known. The empty and widely spaced picnic tables afford some degree of privacy when summer weekend crowds will take advantage of this tiny but impressive park. Fragile remnants of mushroom ice have drifted to the east end of the pond and float as final testament to winter’s thickly frozen surface.
A trail around the north periphery of Sibbald Meadows Pond reveals the best picnic spot sheltered in trees beside the pond, before open ground provides excellent views across the pond to an isolated beaver dam and countless platform isles alive with nesting birds.
In my earlier Type A life, I would have known the names of each species but the benefit of age allows me to forget what little I knew and concentrate on the magnificence of their presence and movement. Now I call them all ‘birds’, however Canada Geese are present. A tiny and glossy red-winged blackbird flits about and the red patches on its wings catch the eye as it gathers insects. A pair of loons glide serenely on still, reflective water, and create a wake of intersecting V’s on the surface. They sense my quiet presence is no threat and venture close to visit. There is a large variety of avian activity.
The kilometre-long (5/8 mile) trail gradually fades into forest and I turn about and return the way I came. I walk and pause in slow motion. The day has morphed, from a driving tour with intent to hike, into a strolling, relaxing day to enjoy new sights. The total isolation is my companion. Nature will tell me what I need if I listen carefully.
Within the first 100 metres, I discover the pond extends to the south side of Sibbald Creek Trail. There is no reasonable alternative but to stop at this final reprieve and enjoy the log jam, at the beneath-the-road culvert, which forms this extension in combination with the natural beaver dam stretching 50 yards across the pond. Canada Geese share the space with me. The silence and imagery are overwhelming. It soothes the soul. If I was any more relaxed, I would be in a coma. The weight of the world is gone. The delicate magnificence of nature, given the opportunity, always prevails. Given the time and opportunity, it transcends comfort.
Sibbald Meadow Pond has a unique personality. Each natural treasure has a unique personality altered infinitely by seasons and weather. A nearby alternative is Sibbald Flat Pond near Ti-jurabi-chubi with trails to Sibbald Flat and Eagle Hill.