Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Badlands October 21, 2017

Waiting for the sun to rise at Lake Louise last Saturday was so enjoyable that I wanted a repeat of some sort for this Saturday.   It was my daily focus all week outside of the usual life happenings.  When the idea of hitting Drumheller in The Badlands came to me, I weather-watched and waited for the day.  While waiting for the day a more detailed plan evolved to include hiking in Horsethief Canyon which I have never done before.  This then would just be another addition to this year's theme of venturing to new places to me.  All necessary conditions were ideally forecast so at an ungodly hour of the morning I began to execute the plan.  
My eyes were peeled as I drove those back-prairie roads in pitch dark watching for wildlife that may spring out at me.  But what to my wondering eyes did appear?  Something shot across my windshield startling me, it was gone before I could even comprehend that it must have been a shooting star.  A little while later there was another one and then late yet another one.  I pulled off in a pull-out turned off the car lights and just sat and gazed.  A few more shot across.  I totally forgot all about seeing all that until I saw an article in the news when I got home and googled more about it.  This is what I witnessed, the Orionid Meteor Shower!

A little bit later than planned I arrived in East Coulee at The Hoodoos.  
The sun was coming up over the badlands landscape casting a beautiful color onto the formations. 
background backlight
full sunrise
On the way to The Hoodoos I drove past the road to the Suspension Bridge so after taking care of the sunrise business at The Hoodoos I dropped in to check out the view from the Bridge.  The early morning was still enough to offer up this pretty reflection in the Red Deer River.
It was a quick and easy drive to Horsethief Canyon.  
It was early enough that the first morning light was still obvious.  
I took a few minutes to look over the lay of the land from the overlook.
Then it was time to head on down into the Canyon.  I made sure to keep looking back to where I came from.  One could get disoriented down in here.  I went most of the way down but not to the floor.  I need to go back but not alone the next time and take more time to explore throughout the bottom and over to the Red Deer River.
I spied this point off in the distance and aimed for it.
There is a way up everything.
some of the views
It was time to head back on up to the top of the Canyon.  That took a little while as I kept getting distracted by the amazing scenery.  When I made it to the rim, I took a look back to where I ventured.  There is so much territory to trek through and I only covered a portion.
It was time to dine but before doing that, I visited The Little Church.
My sins are only little so I just needed a small church and a minute.
my snack spot with a view
While at Horsethief Canyon I saw another road across the way above the Red Deer River that looked like it might be worth having a look along.  It was the South Badlands Trail which I followed for numerous kilometers.  I could look across to Horsethief Canyon and down to the winding Red Deer River from Orkney Viewpoint.
I had no intentions of visiting Horseshoe Canyon on this trip but hey what the heck why not.  It was on my way home but just outside and above Drumheller.  The new stairs to the bottom were closed and under construction.  I worked my way down on a trail off in the opposite direction.  That trail down landed me here.
I meandered along.....
....then up and down and up again to where I captured these spectacular views.
On my way back to head up out of Horseshoe Canyon, I eyed this formation then realized I could get a summit shot up on that.  Yes there is a way up everything and I found my way up to that white top.
an on the top shot
It was so beautiful up on that spot that I spent some time just relaxing and admiring what was around me.  I didn't want to leave but I was feeling tired and I still had to drive home probably in loads of traffic.   I finally reached the top of the Canyon and looked down to where I was.  My shadow followed me all day.

This was an incredible day filled with much more than I had in my plan to attack.  It's good just to go with the flow and at times unexpectedly you end up in the right place at the right time. Every second of this day was the right second in the right place.  

Saturday, October 14, 2017

West for Winter October 14, 2017

I declare "I am ready for winter" so I went west today looking for it.  I kicked off summer with heading to Iceland, a place I had never been and it was such a successful solo trip.  I had a wonderful summer of venturing to new heights at places that I have never been.  I shared trails with many old & new friends, more so than ever before.  I found a new love in kayaking a sport I tried for the first time in September.   I enjoyed three large large hikes the most I have ever experienced in a row.  

Now I want winter!  
Do you?
At 2:30 am Saturday morning I realized I needed to save my Saturday.  All original plans finally fully fell by the way side and I was on my own.  I knew I wanted winter and I chased it down.  I landed at the Lake Louise parking lot in darkness along side only five other vehicles.   I geared up and joined the others.  We waited, then waited a little more.

then Lake Louise began to wipe the sleep from her eyes
then she stretched
then she came alive
and showed off her winter white
then added a touch of color to her day
While the others packed up and headed on their way elsewhere, I strolled along the lake shore.  
The scenery was incredible.  
My pace was a photographer's one.  
I was alone and thoroughly enjoyed the peace the quiet the scenery.
nearing the far end of Lake Louise
I knew I could go deeper into winter following the trail.  

a golden moment in my day
At the far end of the lake I noticed other fresh tracks in the snow that were heading the same way I was.  They came down off the slope onto the trail.  They did not belong to a bear but they were a significant size to not belong to a bunny, nor a weasel, nor a coyote.  Then I noticed there were two sets one bigger one smaller.  Then I did an about face and aimed back along the lake.
I arrived back to the parking lot in time for some lunch.  I savoured that then headed out again along the Fairview Trail and the Tramline to check out when the X-C Ski season may start.  Soon my friends, soon!
Before leaving The Village, I went for a stroll along the Bow River Trail.  
I thought about being up on Fairview (on the right) with my southern friends this summer.
I said good bye to Lake Louise and hit the highway east then south.  I drove into Kootenay National Park in British Columbia with intentions of going deeper south.  The weather here was not what I was expecting and the road conditions rattled me a bit.  I turned around and stopped in at The Continental Divide for a safe photo opportunity, the one and only from B.C. today.
Next it was on to Banff where I spent the next hour walking along the Bow River here and admiring the beauty and watching the runners race on the icy pathway.  The trees still had color and it felt autumn-like here.
I roamed around the Bow Falls area.  I watched a wedding from a vantage point on the other side of the river and after that walked along the paved golf course pathway.  The weather was incredible and the scenery too.
Once I invested time in touring Banff it was onto the 1 then onto the 1A.  I stopped off to capture the scary looking cloud, admired Yamnuska, and continued along the winding old highway.
 from scary cloud to friendly cloud
Nearing dinner time I was getting close to Ghost Lake.  I pulled in nd envisioned kayaking here next summer on a calm day.  It was wild and windy here right now.  I thought about waiting here for the sun to set but I was ready to settle too, settle onto my sofa with my blanket and drifting off to dreams of winter to come.
While it's still autumn in the city it is winter in the mountains.  
I know what I am ready for and what I want and it's time to chase after it.  

Monday, October 9, 2017

Nose Hill October 9, 2017

It wasn't until when I woke early this morning that I took time to wonder what would my Thanksgiving Monday look like.  I wondered for a minute then my plan was in place.  I hopped out of bed and began to execute that plan at a quick pace so I could make it to Nose Hill Park before sunrise.  Today's the day to be extra thankful and I wanted to acknowledge that by watching the sun rise and then admiring the earthy autumn hues.  This photo captures exactly what I had hoped to see but I witnessed lots more than just this which was more than I could have hoped for.
 I waited and watched as the sun broke through the horizon.
 The sky filled with amazing sunrise shades.
It was fresh and cold and I was bundled up for that and needed all the layers even as I began to ascend.  When I was ready to explore the Hill I turned my back to the sunrise to see fields and hills of orange.
All I could think of was alpenglow!
It looked like the place was on fire!
shadows stretched on for eternity
 I found my way to the rock circle and took time to have my breakfast.  
The lighting was gorgeous so I savoured my breakfast instead of devouring it.  
 It was an incredible feeling to be here this morning seeing all there was to see.  Even though it was still early I could see another parking lot entrance off in the distance which was full.  Many others had the same idea as me.
Mother Nature at her finest!
The whole while my eyes were focused on what was in front but I did take a look back and the sun was still working its way above the trees.  I knew I needed to stay low to capture the beauty the light was causing.
still more trails to follow
 nothing other than just a plain simple pretty picture
 autumn meets winter's snow capped peaks  
and yet another trail calls
I both figuratively and literally got lost on Nose Hill this morning.  I did not pay attention to where I was going as I just went with where the colors called.  Every now and then I ascended to a high point to get a lay of the land and my bearings.  That offered me even more vibrant vistas.
Feeling visually fulfilled and even somewhat exhausted from all the witnessing of beauty it was time to head home.  I exited Nose Hill Park with a broad smile appreciating that I am pretty fortunate for what I have in my life. 

Thank you!