On Sunday, August 8, I decided to go for a nice easy hike, something more like a long stroll through the woods. But a guy in the gift shop at Zum's - where I enjoyed a fine breakfast - convinced me I really should climb the Bear's Hump. Hah. I didn't make the calculation: 700 feet elevation gain in .75 mile is not a long hike, but it is neither an easy stroll. In fact, it's relatively difficult. But I was rewarded with panoramic views, as promised.
The Piikani originally called this mountain Great Bear or Grizzly Medicine Mountain, to honour the special bond between bears and the people. (We are in Canada now, and that's you spell honour.) The Bear's Hump represents the grizzly bear's muscular shoulder. In many native cultures the grizzly bear was, and still is, a very powerful spirit - a spirit which gave them their knowledge of plants.
Today, this mountain is called Crandell Mountain, but its shoulder is still named the Bear's Hump. It is rare to find evidence of grizzly bears along the trail.
Here are some things you'll see along the way: Douglas fir cones, Golden Mantled Ground Squirril, Chipmunk, Mountain Pine Beetle, Warring Shamans (well, only if you're Piikani, otherwise they look like two little kids from British Columbia each of whom wants to be IN FRONT), Corn Lily, Stinging Nettle, Cow Parsnip.
I didn't know all that, I read it off the sign.
Also from the sign: Napi sentenced the bear to a life of wandering. (I take it Napi is a Piikani god of some sort.)
I walked very slow, both going up and coming down (coming down was almost harder, and I thought for the first time in my life: I should check out using those ski-poles that lots of hikers use these days.) But it took me exactly 1 1/2 hours. Nevertheless I considered my hiking card punched for the day.
(*) 16 km is more than 9 and less than 11 miles. Probably. My computer doesn't do metric.