The Weaselhead is a natural environment park in southwest Calgary. Whether approaching from the north or the south, you descend to the Elbow River valley bottom until you’re just a few meters above the water level of the Glenmore Reservoir. What makes this park unique in Calgary is that it contains a river delta; the Elbow River delta began to form in 1933, upon completion of the Glenmore Dam. Every year since, the river has deposited sediment and the delta has grown eastward, gradually maturing into a mixed wetland / grassland habitat. The area is mostly in a natural state, despite once being used as a training ground by the Canadian Armed Forces. Users of this “natural environment park” are strongly encouraged to stick to the established pathways and trails; the park is well-used by walkers, hikers and cyclists.
Like most large parks in Calgary, the Weaselhead is home to plenty of geocaches. Most hiders are sensitive to the nature of the park and place their containers within a few meters of established trails. Here’s a general overview of the natural area and geocache placements:
The last time I ventured down into the Weaselhead was last spring, with a group of grade 6 and 7 students I was introducing to the game of geocaching. So when I knew I’d be in the area again last Tuesday afternoon, I figured there might be a few new geocaches for me to find. I was right! The most intriguing prospects are described on their cache pages as “beacons” dropped by the “Other Side”; although traditional caches they contain some extra instructions, and operatives visiting these beacons are asked to share any intelligence gathered with other operatives via GC3BGB9 – Loose Lips. In accordance with instructions from HQ, over the course of my walk I successfully located each of the three beacons and successfully removed 6 clues to share with my fellow operatives. So here we are, about 2 weeks after publication, with about half of the search grid completed. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for an insightful operative to locate the final beacon and save the world!
As always, I had my camera in hand. Being mid-winter, the sun is quite low in the sky by early afternoon, and with the Weaselhead down in a valley, long shadows were especially challenging. But I managed to come away with a few photos to give you a sense of the park:
Also of note, I managed to help a travel bug complete its mission today. Unfortunately, completion was delayed by about 6 months because poor NoobBug was forgotten in the bottom of my caching bag! That’s a big downside risk to being only an occasional cacher these days, and I’m really going to have to think through whether to pick up travel bugs and geocoins in the future.
By the time I climbed back up to the parking area, I’d covered about 7 km and found 6 new (to me) geocaches. The only wildlife I spotted were some birds, but I saw evidence of beavers in the area (flooding from their building efforts, frozen solid) and heard the chatter of squirrels and some yipping coyotes. And the best thing about a mid-winter walk in the Weaselhead? No mosquitos!