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Full moonies on Sunflower Hill

While some last-minute shoppers were still rushing around in search of perfect presents, 29 hardy individuals took a break from holiday gift-buying Dec. 22 to join Kimberley Nature Park Society volunteers Paul Paronetto and Paul Holden on a Christmas snowshoe hike up Sunflower Hill.

Spirit of Christmas: 29 people came together in the nature park Dec. 22 for an evening snowshoe hike on Duck Pond Trail to watch the full moon rising from Sunflower Hill.

After gathering at the Kimberley-Riverside Campground entrance at 4 pm to sign waivers and strap on snowshoes, the group equipped themselves with cameras, flashlights and hot beverages before hiking up Duck Pond Trail to the Sunflower Hill Loop, a distance of about 3.4 kilometres with a 100-metre elevation gain, where they gathered to watch a full moon rising over the Rockies.

Many in the group were first-time snowshoers, some from out of town experiencing the nature park for the first time. Others appeared to have opened their presents early and were well-prepared for the cool temperatures. This happy, determined group and their three rambunctious dogs quickly dubbed themselves “full moonies,” and the more experienced members set about helping the newcomers master the skills involved in hiking single file on snowshoes.

Right on schedule, the ghostly round orb made a brief appearance through the clouds, casting a gentle glow over the group. Many scrambled to capture the moment on phone cameras, the light from their screens contributing a bluish hue to the wintry yuletide setting.

Despite the dim light, sightings were claimed of a mule deer threesome and two elk, capping off an evening that for many was a pleasant break from shopping to enjoy some fresh air, gentle exercise and Christmas camaraderie on the final organized nature park outing of the year.

Christmas camaraderie prevailed, and a good time was had by all participants.

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