Monday, September 30, 2013
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Saturday, September 28, 2013
I headed to Maudslay State Park this morning to walk in the woods and to keep an eye out for early color. I found color, just not the color I expected.
As I headed in to the park I saw a tree that seemed to sparkle. I walked closer and found a dead tree decorated by colored disks and silver threads. I looked around me and saw color in places where it didn't belong. What a delightful surprise! I had stumbled on an annual outdoor sculpture exhibit at Maudslay, one that will be disappearing tomorrow.
I wandered the park, stopping often to enjoy the unexpected art.
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 6:31 PM
Friday, September 27, 2013
When I left for my wanders in Alberta the trees (at home) were still wearing their summer splendor, leaves of green. When I returned I could see a tinge of brown starting to emerge.
I'm starting to see (and feel) the changes of the season.
Yes, autumn has arrived....chilly night air told me it was time to switch to flannel sheets
...shrinking daylight has me walking adorned with blinking lights to make sure I can be seen
...splashes of yellow and orange are scattered through the trees expanse of green leaves
...the wings of the seed pods of Japanese maple are bright red
Posted by Denise Goldberg at 7:47 PM
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Friday, September 20, 2013
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Photos from my wanders in the Canadian Rockies are loaded into galleries, ready for viewing. Start with the top level gallery, Alberta 2013, or click on the photos below to enter a specific gallery.
a few favorites:
in the mountains:
badlands and prairie:
Interested in words? You can find my ramblings in the blog entries tagged Alberta 2013.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
I find it amazing to see the difference in a scene based on a slight variation of viewpoint. Like the photo in last Sunday's post this shot was taken from Vermillion Lakes.
This time the mountains are complemented by a stand of trees, both highlighted by clouds and reflections.
Monday, September 16, 2013
My first day in Banff National Park started a bit later than usual since I needed to drive west from Calgary first. I didn't have a wandering destination in mind; walking (anywhere in the park) and absorbing the scenery was top priority.
I was delighted with the mid-day light over Cascade Pond.
mirrored mountain and trees
Cascade Pond, Banff National Park
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Oh! Denise just asked me to let you know she needs a little more time to decide which photos she will share in her galleries. I've been watching over her shoulder and she is making really good progress. She thinks she should be done already... I told her she is being too hard on herself; we've only been home for just over a week!
The temperature outside this weekend made me think of fall, and fall made me think of visiting Acadia. It's the middle of September now so we'll be home for a short while - then in the middle of October we'll be heading to Acadia for a long weekend. I should have enough time to come up with a list of places in the park where I'd like to wander. I already told Denise we just have to go to the Schoodic Peninsula - I really like jumping around on those big rocks.
I'm so glad there's a new wander coming; it's time to (re-)focus my dreams.
here's a photo of me at Grassi Lakes
Saturday, September 14, 2013
I love the window decorations at the Mut Hut Pet Emporium in Canmore. Rover posted two examples while we were still traveling; I can't resist sharing another one tonight.
What an awesome way to entice pets and their owners to enter the store!
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
A quick drive along part of the Bow Valley Parkway on my first day in Banff National Park gave me a glimpse of many shades of green. The trees wore several shades of the color, and the river took on its own (glacial) blue green hue.
Sunday, September 08, 2013
My first visit to Vermillion Lakes was under a very clear sky; I hoped for and was rewarded with a better view on a return visit.
What luck! a blue sky decorated with wisps of clouds, wonderful reflections...
mountain reflections at Vermillion Lakes
Banff National Park
Oh! The sun set last night so much earlier than it did when we were wandering in Canmore, Alberta last week. We had lots of time in the evening to wander the trails along the Bow River and watch the setting sun highlight the mountain tops. I was surprised by the early dark so I asked Denise about it. She told me it's because we live in the east side of the Eastern time zone and Canmore is on the west side of the Mountain time zone. There is probably also a bit of difference in the length of day because of the north to south difference between North Andover, Massachusetts and Canmore, Alberta.
I just checked, sunset yesterday in Canmore was at 8:15 PM, and sunset here in Massachusetts was at 7:10 PM - that's why the difference jumped out at me. Along with getting dark earlier at night it also gets light earlier in the morning here.
Just to show you the difference, when I looked outside at 7:20 yesterday evening it was almost full dark. Denise took the photo below at 7:10 last Wednesday evening and you can still see blue in the sky.
magic evening light over the Bow River
Saturday, September 07, 2013
Friday, September 06, 2013
Oh! It's so early in the morning that the sky is still dark. We're at the Calgary airport, through US Customs, waiting for our plane.
Denise was happy to see a Starbucks in the gate area - that meant it was possible to have a reasonable breakfast before getting on the plane. What did she choose? Oatmeal! It came with a packet of seeds and nuts and dried fruit, plus some maple sugar. It wasn't as good as the hot cereal Valerie made for breakfast at Canadian Artisans B&B but it was tasty and satisfying.
I think there's some kind of lull between outbound flights. It was really really busy here until just a few minutes ago, then it got quiet. We found a nice comfy chair, a good rest spot for a little bit. If I know Denise we'll be getting up and walking around for a bit before we get on our first flight of the day. This time we're flying to Chicago to get our plane to Boston.
Thursday, September 05, 2013
We went to a different place today. The forecast called for a pretty good chance of rain high in the mountains, and the hikes Denise really wanted to do were a longish drive from Canmore. That would have meant an even longer drive at the end of the day since we needed to be in Calgary tonight.
We headed to the east this morning, moving from the mountains to the rolling prairie. Our destination was east of Calgary, a place called Drumheller. It's the home of the world's largest dinosaur (statue) and the Royal Tyrell Museum, but that's not why we went there. You know Denise, she almost always wants to play outside. We visited the area because Denise wanted to see the badlands and the hoodoos.
Our first stop was Horseshoe Canyon where we enjoyed the view from the top. Next we stopped at the visitor center in Drumheller to find out how to find the hoodoos. We headed down the road but before we got there Denise saw a sign for a suspension bridge. That turned into our next stop. It was very narrow - only two people wide - and it swayed as we walked across it. Oh, and as more people moved across the bridge it swayed even more. Very cool!
We arrived at the hoodoos to find that they were protected by a metal walkway with railings. The lady in the visitor center had mentioned that to Denise, saying that it was done to protect the hoodoos. We walked around the hoodoos, then headed off on a narrow trail leading into the folded looking landscape. Some of the folds kind of reminded me of Death Valley, and the land here looks so different from the mountains. I'm glad Denise decided we needed to see the badlands of Alberta.
I'm not really ready to head home, but that's what we're going to do tomorrow morning. It's time to jump onto airplanes again....
Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Valerie asked me if I had heard the elk bugling early this morning. Apparently I was sleeping so soundly that I didn't hear a thing! When I came back from my wanders early this evening she asked if I'd like to walk with her and Bob to try to find some elk. Of course I said yes!
Dinner first... I had picked up some interesting salads at the grocery store, one a 7-grain salad with interesting seasoning, the other a broccoli and sunflower base with shredded cabbage, raisins, onions, a nice taste treat. After my dinner break the three of us walked to the river.
Bob spotted the bull elk first; I don't think I would have seen him without Bob directing my eyes. We watched for a while, listened to two bull elk bugling, then saw a number of females and youngsters. When we first saw them the elk were on an island. Soon after, I heard the sound of splashing water as they waded into the river and then on to land on the same side of the water that we were on. We backed up a bit and watched some more. There was a reasonable distance between humans and elk and there were trees and low brush between us too. What a treat it was to see these beautiful animals!
Instead of turning back at that point we continued to walk, enjoying the light as the setting sun lit up the mountains and created reflections in the river.
We drove the the north then headed west into British Columbia and Yoho National Park this morning. Denise wanted to hike part of the Iceline Trail. She knew doing a loop on that trail would take a lot of hours so she planned an out and back hike. Of course that meant that our hike was all up on the way out and all down on the way back.
We stopped at the park information center in Field. Denise thought we were in British Columbia but the sign said "Travel Alberta". She asked the Parks Canada person who was helping her with a map and directions. It turns out that Parks Canada and Travel Alberta have partnered on the information centers in the parks. Denise is pretty good about knowing where she is - I think she was relieved to find out that we were in the province she thought we were in. I told her it really didn't matter what the name was since we were exactly where we wanted to be.
We drove down the Yoho Valley road and left the car near the end of the road. We walked on a gravel road past the Whiskey Jack Hostel and then found the trail to Iceline heading up through the woods. The trail was mostly dry but there were some sections were the ground felt a little slippery. There was even one switchback where there wasn't anything between the edge of the trail and a steep drop down. I was a little surprised that Denise kept going even though she knew she wouldn't like that turn on the way back down. We went up and up following the twisting path, up and up some more. After 2.6 kilometers we were finally above treeline and at the real start of the Iceline trail. We walked along the trail for a while, stopping to chat with some other people, walking up some more, stopping to enjoy the scenery. Then we turned around and retraced our steps. There are two Iceline loops, one that is supposed to take 7 hours and one that says it takes 8 hours or two days. Maybe we'll come back here again some day and do the full 7 hour loop. I think that would probably take us more than 7 hours though, and I think we would need to stay in Field so we could start earlier in the morning. Hmm...
After we walked down from Iceline we crossed the road and followed the trail to Takakkow Falls. We could see and hear the falls for most of our hike today. It was only when we walked behind a ridge that the sound from the falls disappeared. Wow, that's a big waterfall!
Takakkaw Falls from high on the other side of the valley
Nothing captures the awe and wonder of Yoho National Park like the tremendous thunder of Takakkaw Falls. Plunging from above at a height of 380m (1246 ft ) with a 254m ( 833 ft ) freefall, Canada's second highest waterfall leaves every visitor humbled. Fed by the Daly Glacier above, Takakkaw Falls' flow is at its peak in July when glacial meltwater is running freely.
courtesy of the Field, BC page: The Waterfalls of Yoho
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Today was a day of three lakes.
Denise surprised me with her choice for our longer hike. She usually doesn't choose a long hike in the woods; she likes to be above the trees so she can see things. Our first hike was from Lake Louise to Lake Agnes. Small lakes in the mountains create a pull for Denise; I guess that's why she decided it would be OK to walk up and up and up through the woods (starting at 5741 feet and reaching a high of 7005 feet.
It was worth the walk up to see Lake Agnes; it was a gem of a lake. I really liked the patterns in the land above the lake coupled with the reflections in the water.
There was a bit of a loop in the trail. When we got to a point just before the surface of Lake Agnes there were a lot of human-made wooden steps to climb. Oh! I wonder how the builders got all of the finished wood and support structures - and all of the wood for the Lake Agnes tea house - up there. There were horses walking part of the trails; maybe they helped.
Back to the stairs... when we started down we saw a second set of stairs so we decided to try them. When we finished the stairs and started walking on the trail again Denise almost immediately turned around and climbed back up the stairs. The trail on that side felt a lot steeper than the side we came up, so she figured we would go back down the same way we came up. She stopped on the steps to chat with some other people. While she was talking two people who we met walking up walked down the stairs and started down the path. In just a few minutes they were climbing back up the stairs too. They said they thought this side was too steep. That made Denise feel much better - it wasn't just her thinking that the trail was uncomfortably steep!
After our down and down and down walk we stayed at Lake Louise for a little bit, enjoying the turquoise waters. Next we headed for Moraine Lake. Why do you think some of the names start with the word "Lake" and some end with the word "Lake"? Sometimes I think that people are just a little bit odd!
When we arrived at Moraine Lake it felt like there were hordes of people there. And uh oh! Denise really doesn't like large groups of people. I told her it would be better once we moved away from the end of the lake. It's a good thing that I was right about that; otherwise we would have jumped right back in the car. I'm glad the walk down the lake was a good one. We took a side jaunt up a trail to see the sign about bears - a good number of the trails in the area required that you walk in groups of 4 or more. I guess that's a good number of people to make enough noise to not surprise the bears.
Moraine Lake was wearing a different shade of turquoise than Lake Louise. The water shimmered in the sunlight, seeming to change colors (or shades of color).
reflecting patterns, Lake Agnes
When I arrived Valerie (my host at Canadian Artisan's B&B) talked a bit about the history of Canmore. The town was once inside of Banff National Park but the park boundary was moved to the west because there were coal mines here. That created a conflict with the National Park Act of 1930 which said that mining was inappropriate for a national park.
I thought that was quite interesting. That little bit of information was enough until I saw the poem (below) on the sidewalk as I walked in the center of Canmore. If you're curious too you might find these two "history of Canmore, Alberta" pages interesting, one on CanmoreAlberta.com, the other on Kananaskis.com.
poem in 3 sidewalk blocks, unknown author
There's a world below,
dug out and timber-framed,
mapped and named.
Its tunnels stretch for miles
under the mountain.
Once it shook with blasting,
screech of train, and whistles.
The coal was iridescent blue.
Headlights on a curved track
burst like shooting stars
out of the deep.
That mirror world is dark now.
The men laid down their tools,
and took the mantrip
to the surface, home.
In the quiet,
hear the mountain sigh.
Monday, September 02, 2013
I loved yesterday but after spending 6+ hours in the car I decided I needed a close-to-home day today so I spent most of the day in or close to Canmore. I briefly considered driving around Spray Lake in Kananaskis Country but somehow driving on a gravel road for at least two hours didn't sound very restful.
My first stop was the Grassi Lakes trail on the edge of the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park. There are two trails leading to the lakes, one marked easy and one marked more difficult. The more difficult variation was a narrow trail with a view, some steep steps, a few sections that were uncomfortable but hikeable. Yes, I took the more difficult trail on the way uphill and chose the easy trail for the way back. That was the right decision.
There were two shallow (and tiny) lakes that wore beautiful colors that changed with the depth of the water. The photo below was taken looking across the first lake. Seeing the lakes was well worth the hike.
The next portion of the day was a wander on the trails around Canmore, mainly staying as close to the Bow River as possible. There were a lot of folks out today - walking, biking, roller blading, enjoying the sunshine. I shared conversation with some of the people I met along the way. I spent time walking solo too, enjoying the quiet sounds of the birds.
A quick rest stop, time for a yummy berry smoothie to regain energy, and I headed to Vermillion Lakes in Banff. Yes, I stopped there yesterday on my way back from Parker Ridge - but I knew I'd be going back. Today's visit had the added benefit of some clouds in the sky. I much prefer a bit of decoration instead of a plain blue sky. Don't get me wrong - clear skies are good. I just like a bit of variation.
It wasn't windy today (and we were at a much lower elevation too) so Denise snapped a photo of me in front of one of the Grassi Lakes. I thought it would be a good idea to show you that both of us are enjoying our wanders so I nudged Denise to grab one of herself too. The photo of her was taken on one of the many trails that wind through Canmore.
Denise really happy that she can use her phone to snap photos of both of us; that way she can share them now instead of waiting to get home again.
Sunday, September 01, 2013
We headed north this morning without a clear destination. Denise was tempted by two hikes just south of Icefield Centre; she figured she'd decide where to hike when we arrived.
Parker Ridge turned out to be our hike for the day. The trail description sounded interesting, and Denise said she hadn't hiked that trail before so it was new to both of us.
After a series of switchbacks you'll be rewarded with dramatic views of the Saskatchewan Glacier - headwaters of the Saskatchewan River.
We walked up and up and up some more. The trail description said there was a 250 meter elevation gain but there were times when it felt like more than that. At the base of the trail we could see ground cover starting to wear autumn colors, with yellows appearing amid the greens. We walked through tall thin trees for a while although the trail opened up pretty quickly. As we got higher on the mountain we could see patches of red color in addition to the yellows.
As we walked we could hear (and feel) the wind howling. I bounced up the trail for a while, then I hopped into one of my good viewpoint spots in Denise's camera bag. The wind was so strong that I was afraid I was going to get blown away! Denise wanted to take my picture at the high point of our walk but we both decided that with the howling wind that wouldn't be a good idea.
The walk was beautiful even with the constant up and up. We got to the high point and the trail started heading down a bit. Uh oh! I still couldn't see the glacier at that point; I was starting to worry. But oh! just a little further and we could see the crackly snow of the glacier. Further yet and we could see the silty water in that really really pretty shade of blue emerging from the tip of the glacier.
Walking down took a while. Denise thinks it's harder to walk down than up. I think that's because she always tries to step carefully. I didn't time the up and down separately so I don't know if one direction took longer than the other.
On the way back to Canmore we stopped at any viewpoint that looked interesting to Denise, ending with a quick drive along the Vermillion Lakes. I think we'll probably go back there again to spend a little more time.
Saskatchewan Glacier from high on Parker Ridge
Mount Rundle from the Vermillion Lakes
I went looking for some information on the wildlife crossings that span the highway in Banff National Park. The information on the Parks Canada Banff National Park Highway Twinning Project is fascinating. According to Parks Canada, there are 41 highway crossings with 36 of them having video monitoring.
"Since monitoring began in 1996, 11 species of large mammals - including bears, elk and cougar - have used crossing structures more than 200,000 time. Combined with fencing, crossing structures have helped reduce wildlife - vehicle collisions by more than 80%." Credit: Parks Canada web site