Saturday, August 08, 2020

Ptarmigan Cirque de Soleil et beaucoup de vent!

Me and the littlest took a quick late afternoon trek up to see the subalpine forest and alpine tundra.  Other than passing a few souls on their way home, we pretty much had the whole mountain to ourselves.  The temperature when we started out was only 10 C and the wind was hard to keep your hat on insane.  I was glad that I brought rain suits and an extra sweater for the littlest, otherwise, I think we would have been cold.

The flowers were stunning - paintbrush in white, cream, 4 shades of pink and red, purple aster, yellow and white avens, arnica, saxifrage, moss campion, Saussurea densa, fireweed, vetch, alpine forget-me-not, rocky mountain goldenrod, luetkea pectinata or smelowskia calycina (not sure which), shrubby cinquefoil, stonecrop, and I think my hard to identify thick-rooted spring beauty plant found way up in a gravelly, shaded crevice.  If anyone has a different identification, let me know, I struggled with this one.Today, even at a much lower altitude there is fresh snow on the mountain top.  

To think last week we were melting in the heat an today, I'm wishing I had a warmer sweater on, inside...!!!

White and Yellow Mountain Avens    
Moss Campion

Thick rooted spring beauty - Claytonia Megarrhiza????


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Consolation Prize

 This has been a strange summer, but I've certainly had some luck having various trails to myself.  This was one of the few new hikes I've done this summer.  A pleasant trek up to the Consolation Lakes near dusk, sushi for dinner, and good company (my husband).  Mount Babel creates an impressive backdrop with its interesting towers and spires.  The flowers were pretty and then we pretty much had Morraine Lake to ourselves for the dusk - which is hard to imagine given that its rare to getting a parking spot, let alone, solitude up here.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Blue Lakes and Rocky Shores

I'm pretty sure that happiness is a trail through the woods that ends in a gem coloured lake!  We explored some old favourites yesterday, traipsing through the woods and along the shore and appreciated the panoramic mountains around us.  We couldn't have asked for better weather.  It was sunny with a nice breeze.  The temperature was pleasant, but not hot.  And not only did we find beauty, but joy in the peace of uncrowded spaces and revelling in nature!  I'm looking forward to ticking a few more hikes off my bucket list this summer.  I remembered to clear off my photo card in preparation for my next adventures! 

It is amazing how ice and plate tectonics have shaped this land here and made it interesting and beautiful.  I feel guilty that I haven't hiked more of it in the last few years, but this is the first year that my small people could handle 10 km, and most of these places are a longer walk away than that.  I'm hoping by the end of the summer we can start taking on some more challenging hikes together.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Fairyland Mushrooms

One the games we play when we hike is to imagine where the fairies live and what they use different parts of the forest for.  This spot was declared a cafe and then a playground for little fairies.  What are your thoughts?

Its funny how we cycle through phases of looking back at different parts of my life.  As a high school teacher, I often found myself comparing my high school experiences to the ones of my students.  This past year, I took on teaching a much younger grade and found myself remembering that part of my school.  It was probably not my favourite year of my childhood.  It was my first year in a new school and the older kids in our class weren't always kind.  My most recalled experience from this part of my education was having our teacher send me and another student into the dusty book room to practice our spelling with banned spellers in the era of the common curriculum and failing a multiplication test that was otherwise perfect, except that my 5's looked a bit like the letter s.  To this day, I find this a draconian outcome.

Now, I find myself trying to puzzle how this pandemic will make my children's childhood's even more different than mine.    I'm trying to prepare them for the reality of school next year by constantly reminding them about not touching their face, washing their hands, and practicing social distancing, but I worry that we'll end up with a generation of kids who feel anxious when they are closer to someone than 6 feet.   Its a weird time in this world.  Some days I want to ignore it, since years living in the north makes some of it less weird, we rarely left our house except for work and groceries.  I feel like there will be lots to examine when all of this is done.  Or hopefully, when it is done.  I hope that it will make us a better world, but some days it seems to be making us worse.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see.  Probably we'll be worse in some ways and better in others.  So, until then, I guess we can only do our own bests and like everyone else, figure out what that actually means.

Tooth Fungas - Don't eat me!

Things most people don't know about me - I was almost a forest engineer - until I realized that I really wanted to play SIM City in real life and switched to Civil - and then I realized I missed teaching, and after all that, I'm almost on my 10th year of teaching.  However, I still find the many relationships between Fungi and Forest fascinating (yes, kids - that was intentional alliteration!)

I love fungi that grow on trees!  These are particular beauties with their bright colours and long teeth.  I was busy hiking so I didn't even think to try and identify the host tree, but the trees here were surprisingly large for the subalpine forest.  I thought it would be easy to classify this striking mushroom, but many hours of searching have come up short.  The best match I could find is Hydnophlebia chrysorhiza or Phanerochaete sp.  However, if any forestry folks can help me out.  The available information online suggested that it attacked plane trees in one article and conifers in the other.  (This log is likely a conifer).  In the meantime, I'm wishing that I could find my fungi identification book, but I have a suspicion that it was for Eastern Canada and also likely still in eastern Canada at my mother's house.

Still a beauty found in the Canadian Rockies!  

Friday, June 26, 2020

To the joy of discovering new places!

Here are two new locations that we discovered - making this one of my new all time favourite hikes.  For very little effort, we were treated with 2 amazing waterfalls and one stunning lake, which regrettably made a small person's hiking boot wet, but she made it to the end with a Canadian Tire boot liner and a luckily stashed dry sock in my backpack!

The birds sang and the forest floor was carpeted with tiny yellow violets!  We are lucky to live in such a beautiful world!

Favourite places

I suppose it is not surprising that we return to our favourite places.  This part of this trail is one of mine.  A gravel outwash delta jutting in to a deep green lake, the vegetation is unique from the surrounding forests, the pines twisted like expressive dancers, and the view in all directions nothing short of magnificent!

I'm sure that I will try to make it back here this summer.  With reduced parking, it may be tricky to get a spot, but there are some new spots to explore that I haven't been.  Here's to rising early, and snagging those parking spots.  Although, the hardest part is herding two kids into the car with enough food, cloths, water and gear for the day - and still getting out the door early enough!

I'm am going to try and post a lot more this summer!  I'll have made 2 posts in 2020 by the time I press publish - which I haven't done since 2014.  The writing will probably still be rambly and purposeless, but one goal at a time!

I've done more serious hiking in the last week than I have since a few years ago!  I got 10 km out of my 4 year old without a single request to be carried, so I'm optimistic with enough motivational treats we are going to have a great summer and walking in the woods.  Even yesterday, we managed to hit that threshold where the natural landscape completely changed my stress level.  The view of green and trees after months of being a this desk (granted I have a decent view out the window that does in fact include trees and mountains, but its not the small as just being.

Me and my small hiking  companions have been revelling in the spring flowers - violets in white, purple and yellow.  Columbine in yellow, pink and purple.  We even saw glacier and blue bead lilies yesterday! 

What I also learned is that after several months of rarely leaving my house, my feet were wondering what these strange prisons called shoes were - although, they've forgiven me today.  Here is to blogging and hiking and lots of pictures!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Uncertainty of our Path

It wouldn't be a blog entry without first pointing out how long it has been since I last posted.  So welcome to June 2020. We are currently in the middle of a global pandemic (aka COVID-19) and schools were last open Friday, March 13th, 2020.  This coming Monday is our last official day of school.

So here is the good news - I have a lens that works with my DSLR and I can take pictures worthy of sharing again.  It's been awhile since my old K20D camera stopped working on the way back up Baker Lake in January 2017 and shortly after replacing my camera body, my good lens broke.  So, here is hoping that I get back to posting more regularly, now that a lack of photos won't be an excuse.  My other excuse is software based.  Since Picasa ceased to work, I had to think about it more since I could blog directly from my photo management software.  Also, I seem to still struggle to get pictures off my phone which seems to have become my default camera, even if the pictures stink.

As for the future, who knows what it holds.  Hopefully a few more pictures to share on this blog now and again!  Maybe some writing that doesn't sound like I've been interrupted a million times. 

At any rate, enjoy this beautiful shooting star!  We've enjoyed the flowers at the Many Spring Trail, but have had to get up early to miss the crowds.  Here's to hoping that we get back in the habit of spending lots of time outdoors now that its summer.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Greetings from the land of blog neglect.  It has been literally years since my last post, but I still come back to this blog because it is a treasure trove of photos and occasionally thoughts from my life.  I thought I'd share this picture from a recent adventure.  The Kananaskis never disappoints... and its stunning right now.  I was mildly riddled with guilt that I wasn't working or cleaning something, but 3 hours in the lovely fall air filled my cup in ways that nothing else would.  I enjoyed every second of the hike, especially the amazing views once we were above the treeline (filled the ache in my soul for the tundra this time of year).  I'm fighting the urge to take off and hike again today, especially since the sky is  currently blue.  Maybe I can sneak a short one in.  I also reveled in the drive through this amazing corridor through stunning mountains and lakes.  We didn't see as much wildlife as the last time I did this drive with my mom in July, but the land made up for it.  I also found the trail heads of a couple of hikes that are on my wish list. I'm hoping to do at least one of them this fall.  Finding the trail heads definitely will make it easier. 

I will see if I can get back in the habit of posting at least once in a while.  At least now there is one entry for 2019 - we'll see if I can do at least once a month - to get back in the habit.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Blogging From the Tundra

I haven't posted in a very long time, and my most recent posts are actually mostly from the 1 year in the last 7 or 8 that I wasn't living on the tundra.  I'm still here.  The tundra still amazes me with its beauty.  I don't have many winter shots - but maybe that will be my job as we prepare to spend our 2nd Christmas on the tundra.

Life has been full of good changes and I've simply gotten busy (became a mom) and to some extent forgotten that I have a blog.  My blog is actually over 10 years old - and I guess to a certain extent Facebook has replaced blogging - but Facebook doesn't really call me to write anything eloquent - just tell people that I'm doing daily things that everyone does day like waking up and appreciating the smell of coffee.  Blogging lends itself more to thoughtful, edited posts with a purpose - even if the purpose is only to express mortification that its been nearly 2 years since I last posted anything.

I've pulled a stack of tundra pictures from this fall that hopefully I'll post over the next little while - and then add to them a stash of winter tundra pictures.  We'll see how it goes.... but the world should know the beauty of the tundra and I'm not quite ready to let this project die after 10 years.  I just might have to rethink how I use it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

You want me to eat duck and turkey - never

Yes - I love my cat so much that I've been picking out the food she doesn't like in the current mix just for her.  We've given up trying to feed our cats different food - but Molly doesn't like the stuff the vet recomeneded.. thus the picking it out of her dish... funny cat.

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Small Tiger

Is she pondering the variety of kibble I've been feeding her - trying to find something that she likes but doesn't bug her tummy.  Or maybe just eating me or the strange object in my hand.  Ah Zoe, you are a funny kitty and I have no idea what you think about.
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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Zoe agrees that the snowsuit is one of the best napping spots

A few weeks ago I posted a picture of Molly napping in my daughters snowsuit - and here is Zoe doing the same.
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I know I'm spoiled for nice sunrises and you don't even have to be up early to catch them this time of the year - but this one was stand out and the camera really doesn't do it justice.
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Yellow Mice Taste The Best

Zoe's hunting proess as she attacks the yummy yellow mouse.
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Playing with my water

This is the ever adorable Molly cat playing with her water.
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Winter Wonderland


Canmore's Policeman's Creek steams in bitter winter temperatures.  Got really lucky with the light and a couple of shots turned out awesome.  As I continued walking home - I ran into a bridecicle and groomcicle posing for a photographer.  I hope they did wander up the trail a few more meters to take advantage of this backdrop.
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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Yoga Cat Strikes Back -

How much more Yoga can a cat get then stretching on a yoga mat in a Lululemon bag (okay - Sobey's bag in this case).  Zoe really has a thing for Yoga mats and I'm lucky she didn't take this oportunity to claw my mat to bits.

Zoe has been in a super playful mood lately chasing balls and batting around toy mice.  Molly really hasn't figured out these types of play, but I'm sure she will in time... she does do some pretty impressive midair aerobics if the mood takes her.

As for me, Mom and baby yoga and now skiing have really been great for me.  I need to work on my flexibility.  Its been a long time since I've stretched seriously daily... but hopefully soon.
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Monday, November 11, 2013

Kitty Prepares for a Winter Adventure?

Where is a cozier place  to sleep than the babies snowsuit?  I can't think of any....
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reflections of Thanksgiving

Today was a glorious, perfect fall day.  The sun shone, the weather was cool, but not cold and I managed to get 2 walks in.  The first walk was with my family, up to Grassi Lakes and the second just along the river, but it was beautiful.

Its a been a big year for us and we have so much to be thankful for.... especially our daughter (even as she threatens to wake up) and our wedding - especially the fact that all of my immediate family members made it in one piece and that so many friends and family were able to join us... and the sun shone and I got to get married outside.

I'm also thankful to have 2 unbroken feet.

We were lucky to have thanksgiving dinner twice with my husband's folks.... and they love their grandaughter... and the world is just generally good, because being a new mom, I don't have time to read the news so often anymore....

Happy Thanksgiving!
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Friday, October 11, 2013

Forst Stream Going into the Upper Kananaskis Lake

I just thought the light hit the water just right.   This was on the early part of our hike up to Rawson Lake before it started to pour.
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