Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stewart Canyon Bridge

We hiked out to the Stewart Canyon (Near Lake Miniwanka) where we were treated to gem-toned water and a nifty bridge. (and a few mosquito bites en route. The cool thing is that later that day we saw a pastel picture by Jean Sheppard of Stewart Canyon that looked like exactly what we saw.
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Take me home, aren't I the cutest Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel you ever saw.

When asked, I told my folks that I hadn't seen any chipmunks out here, only to be proven wrong in the near future. This is not a chipmunk, and the chipmunk resisted being photographed by crawling into a hole. The ground squirrel, I swear, was posing for me at any rate.  He seemed to be doing the fashion model thing.

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Masses of Mountain Sheep, a Gaggle of Goatlike Goofs on the Hoof

I'm not sure why mountain sheep look so much like goats - but that is how I remember that they aren't. This herd of likely suspects were fighting over something good in the wood pile. Butting each other out of the way and ignoring use camera bearing people entirely.
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Lake Miniwanka during a quick patch of sunlight

30 minutes from now it would be raining - the preceding hour it had been overcast, but they sky cooperated with me just long enough to provide some wonderful lighting for this neat near-island of trees. I have to say that it is one of the prettiest hydro resevoirs I've ever visited.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bow Lake on a Gloomy Morn

Here is one of my favourite views, although the sun isn't out to highlight the beauty, sometimes gloomy has some drama that sunny doesn't.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Musical Ride

Anyone who knows me well, knows that Due South is one of my favourite TV shows. After years of watching it, and hearing their allusions to the musical ride, I was thrilled when I noticed that they would be coming to Banff. Sadly, like many things, its difficult to capture the impressive cavalry skills in a still picture, here they are performing the Dome. The weather was threatening to turn, especially right before the show, and 2 helicopters were trying desparately to put out a fire, but the show was great. I think it is excellent PR for the RCMP, who get far more bad press than they deserve, given that the media fails to notice them when they are keeping our streets safe and doing their job in their usually competent manner. Only when there is something awkward or scandalous, does they make the headlines. The money raised from the tickets went to a local cultural fund as well as two programs DARE and something I didn't quite catch, that are intended to help keep youth out of trouble and alive. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to watch this live.
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Stony Nakoda Dancers

The opening act for the musical ride were the Stony Nakoda dancers. Its been a long time since I've heard live drum dance music, and I've missed it. The dancers, especially some of the younger kids, were amazing to watch and it was an unexpected bonus - as I'd had no idea that there were any opening acts. The other opening act was the Cadet Core National Pipe band - I'm not sure how they do what they do with the white pom-pom drum sticks, but it was mezamerizing.
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Mountain Moonrise

Here is the moon, rising full over the edge of a mountain. I don't think we managed to see the northern lights last night, but there is still hope for tonight and I'm hoping this fall will offer some good opportunities now that sunspots are a more regular thing.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Canmore Sunset over the Bow Valley

This is the sun setting over the Bow River Valley looking towards Banff - I'm sorry to say that my camera doesn't do it the justice that it deserves - I'm pretty sure there must be unicorns frollicking somewhere in the distance and maybe some dinosaurs... it was one of those space-time continuum bridging sunsets.
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Magical Light on the Mountains

Spoiled with an amazing sunset - where the light almost seemed to cling to the mountains. I'm not sure if the fire was the cause - as we watched several helicopters with buckets attempting to douse a blaze on a mountain near Banff - maybe Cascade.
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Another Orchid

I've left the plant ID book in the car, so I can't tell you what this is yet.... but happy flower picture viewing on this fine, late July day.
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Minor Repairs to Blog

I discovered, much to my dismay, that you couldn't see a lot of my posts, even if you went through the archives. Blogger limits how big each blog should be to make sure it doesn't overload their serves and/or take too long to load (or at least this is what information on the internet has led me to believe, although I really don't care why Blogger is doing it). The fix is to add something called pagination, which allows you to flip back through posts that are cut off. Since, I'm still working with the old HTML template and I don't really know any HTML, its kind of ugly, but you'll find at the bottom of ever page and every archive page links to go to older and newer posts.

As for the picture... this is a wild life over pass being built north of Banff. As a driver I appreciate the highway being fenced, although the fencing isn't nearly as impressive looking as that along the new highway in New Brunswick, but as a forester/biologist, I have an appreiciation for the importance of connectivity between habitat seperated by human alteration - and I wondered what kind of studies were done to decide where and how to build this structure.... Anywho, enjoy unfettered abilitity to seek out older posts, I may have to switch my archiving to weekly, although once I'm back to my usual grind, my posts will probably drop significantly and it won't be such a big problem.
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Heather Bells

The patch of heather overlooking the mossy rocks and the falls was unusually pretty.
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More Views of the Scarab Lake Falls

The little falls, just before the stream cascades down a massive cliff were pretty in themselves, lots of moss and lichen and a nice view of Egypt Lake. Not sure it warrented the 2.5 km scramble up and the 2.5 km scramble down (about 140-170 m about in change in elevation - 140 m difference between the lakes, but you actually climb to a hill above the lake, that we think had an elevation about 170 m higher than the other lake, before descending to Scarab) There was a nice little rocky area where we enjoyed banana bread from the Rocky Mountain Bagel company (glad that I caved in and bought some baked goodies with my coffee). I'm not sure I've ever had banana bread taste so good and I think we would have felt short of food (and definitely chocolate) without it and an apricot almond cookie that we munched when we got back to the pass.
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Inukshuks Guard the Pass

A few small Inukshuks graced the height of Healy Pass, amongst the flowers and soaking up the sun. They made me just a little home sick.
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Healy Pass Vistas

At the highest point on the trail, the view across meadow, forest, scree and bare rock is breath-taking. It makes every step work the effort and fills one with the wonder at the beauty of the land. If the mountains were a little smaller and the trees a lot fewer, there were places that I might have mistaken for Baker Lake.
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Peyto Lake Panorama

Here is the mystical blue Peyto Lake...... for those of us who grew up surrounded by the tea coloured lakes of spruc boggy Ontario, its almost shocking to see anything this blue....
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Learning to Pano - Scarab Lake

After hiking down hill from the Healy Pass, it seemed too close to pass up the chance to hike up to nearby Scarab Lake, and see the view from the top of the falls. From Healy Pass, you can see both Scarab and Egypt Lake, with an impressive cascade between them, and it really doesn't look that far away until you consider the elevation factor.... Still... here is Scarab Lake - interesting, although probably more stunning in the sunlight, suddenly shy after being out most of the day before and after we visited the lake.

This is my first attempt at stitching together Panoramas. After a few tries with some different options, it turned out that the free software that comes with Cannon's Cameras (Photostitch) was the best available option for our budget. Gimp was a total wash and Photostudio (the ancient version that came with my scanner) struggled. I know I have a bit to learn about how to take pictures for a panorama so the colours come out and things line up easily... but if you don't try, you won't learn, right.
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Chateau Lake Louise

I did actually go in the Chateau. Although, man made objects generally aren't my cup of tea, its a neat bit of history to see. There is something about tourist resorts that never quite rings true with me... Whistler being the worst example, there is something so fake about Whistler, that I feel like I've been hanging out in a shopping mall rather than a town... not that the Hotel is pretending to be anything other than a resort, still it had that feel about it. Still, it had delightful gardens with one of the most impressive backdrops I've ever seen.
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Lake Louise

Yawn... Its definitely time for sleep and a shot where you can sort of see how blue Lake Louise is...
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Poppy Power

My first visit to this iconic Canadian vista left me amazed once again at the beauty of my home, whether it be the Tundra in the fall, Spruce bogs in northern Ontario or red spruce along the Fundy shore. This particular vista is Lake Louise from the Chateau gardens.
Poppies have left an impression on me also. They are both hardy and fragile looking at the same time and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. I'll have to grow some more next summer.
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Healy Pass Meadows

I will have to save the rest of the pictures and stories for tomorrow, but it didn't seem right not to post some paintbrush pictures. They were stunning. The glacier lillies are fading fast, although there were still patches where you could find them in their glory, and some kinds of anemone seemed to be finishing up their blooming, although the seed heads might actually be more impressive than their flowers, but the paintbrush were coming into their own.

The original plan had been to hike into Sunshine meadows, putter around and then maybe take the shuttle bus down, but seeing as the meadows in the direction of Egypt Lake were pretty spectacular, it was decided that there was a great advantage to going where there would be less people. We hardly saw anyone all day including having Egypt Lake entirely to ourselves, which was really nice. It was also nice going somewhere I hadn't been before.

I definitely was spoiled with wildflowers yesterday, and breathtaking views of mountains and clouds and blue sky. Even the sunset was spectacular on the drive home with the mostly full moon hanging just above the mountains.

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