CANMORE – Rich in its natural surroundings and scenic hiking paths, the Bow Valley is the perfect destination for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts everywhere. But with so many hiking trails to choose from, where do you start?
A new edition of the Rocky Mountain Books Popular Day Hike Series from was released with updated trail hikes for the season and experienced hikers, Gillean and Tony Daffern have brought their hiking expertise to two of the five books, Kananaskis Country and the Canadian Rockies.
“Almost all of the ones in the popular day hiking are worth hiking … that’s the whole idea of the popular day hike. Especially, if you’re new to hiking or visiting the area,” said Tony author of the Canadian Rockies edition of the series.
Back in 1979, the husband and wife team noticed a gap in the literature when it came to guides on Bow Valley scenic hikes. Hoping to bridge that gap, Gillean and Tony co-founded the publishing company, Rocky Mountain Books and published its first hiking guides.
“There was the Canadian Rocky Guide back in ‘78, [then] they just announced Kananaskis Country. There weren’t that many people hiking around … so I decided to write a guide for Kananaskis Country in ‘79,” said Gillean.
The Dafferns have extensive knowledge on the hiking trails throughout the Bow Valley, as Tony carries more than 50 years of mountain range experience under his belt as a seasoned climber, hiker and ski mountaineer.
Gillean spent over 30 years documenting the hiking trails in Kananaskis Country. Along with the Popular Day Hikes: Kananaskis Country Guide, she wrote the Kananaskis Country Trail Guide, a five volume series that sold more than 100,000 copies.
With their contributions to the Popular Day Hike series, Gillean and Tony were awarded with the Banff Mountain Festival’s Summit of Excellence Award in 2006.
Both books are on its fourth edition and is tailored to visitors and locals alike. Comprising of five books, the series covers the most popular day hikes such as Kananaskis Country, Canadian Rockies, Northern Okanagan, South-Central Okanagan, and Vancouver Island.
While Tony said that not too much has changed with the Canadian Rockies Edition, the couple mentioned that Kananaskis Country has changed as a result of the 2013 flood.
There is still a lot of work that needs to be done on the hiking trails in terms of flood mitigation on Kananaskis Country’s hiking trails according to Gillean. In the meantime, Gillean will continue to update the books as the trails are revised.