On the holiday Monday Allen Bill Pond parking lot was overflowing and Fullerton Loop was jam-packed with family groups with dogs and with people who looked like they had never ever hiked before. They certainly weren’t seasoned hikers: they passed us by silently without saying the mandatory “hello” or responding to our ”hellos.” Maybe they were too much out of breath to even gasp out “Hi,” like the young women we saw, eyes plastered with makeup, being pulled up the hills by their boyfriends. It was quite a sight, but good, of course, that everyone was out for excercise.
It would be nice to spread people around more, onto Snag No More trail for instance, though the bikers might disagree. So I am happy to report there is a third alternative to these two trails: the Sugar Momma-Bobcat, Ranger Ridge Connector and Fullerton combo. The 9.5 km or 9.3 km loop,depending which way you go around Fullerton Loop, is not quite ready for the masses as the Bobcat section is still only flagged.
Sugar Momma starts only 30 metres beyond the turnoff to Fullerton from Elbow trail. As you can tell from the name, Sugar Momma is a bike trail and the only trail not included in the official West Bragg network of trails despite it being a crucial S-N link. One day …Anyway, Sugar Momma is a beautifully routed and graded trail that winds up a south-east ridge of Ranger Hill. At 2.4 km two other hikers caught us up. They were going down the cutline access road to the east leg of Fullerton. Returning that way makes a loop of 6.4 km. We carried on to the summit of Ranger Hill for lunch, en route NOT finding where Bobcat took off down the west ridge. That’s because there was no trail and all the flagging had been removed. Then I remembered the red flags I had seen lower down the trail, so we backtracked for 900 m and set off following the little red Telus flags across the head of Fullerton Creek valley onto upper Ranger Ridge. And much to our surprise down the ridge. Going south? A flurry of flags indicated a junction from where Bobcat went over the edge of the western escarpment and headed back north on a very long traverse across a steep side hill to gain the west ridge.
Back at the junction, we headed south down the Ranger Ridge Connector on the now shortened hiker’s only trail that is a pleasure to walk. At the top of the big meadow step, we took in the view, then followed the new route through the aspens down into the pines. And so down the usual way to Fullerton Loop which was like entering another world on a holiday Monday. We returned via the east leg through the valley. The west leg along Ranger Ridge is much preferable for the views and is 200 m shorter.
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