Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Chosen Alternative

Today's original plan was to catch up with a friend both literally and figuratively speaking!  Not having seen my friend in months and right now my friend not being 100% healed, it was to be an opportunity to X-C Ski at my slower pace together while filling in each other on the happenings in our lives.  When neither of us could see anything out our windows at dawn due to fog, snow, etc we touched basis and decided to call it a day before the day even got started and would head in separate directions later.

When the day did get started,  my chosen alternative to C-X Skiing was a stroll around the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.  It was my first visit there other then running by the area during marathon training runs a few years back or passing by on my bike heading to Fish Creek Park.
I soon realized this may not have been the best day to check it out.  I could hear the odd bird but wasn't seeing any.  It was cold and windy, and like I should have done, I figured they were staying inside.  I looked closer but no one was home!
Finally, a visual to match the chirps.  This was the best I could do.  I was quickly loosing my patience becasue every time I saw the bird, then zoomed in, it was gone.  I was cold and I was impatient!  
black-capped chickadee
As least the ducks are not as flighty and much easier to photograph!
I don't think purposely going out to shoot birds is for me! If I happen to see one when I am out and about then I will go for it but that's about it.  On the positive note, I got to see the Sanctuary, I got some fresh air and a little bit of exercise.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Seeing Red.....

.....isn't always a bad thing!
Reds really stood out in Waterton last weekend!  I went south with intentions of not just playing but having a couple of themes to focus on photography wise, with one being a specific color and the other being light.   The original color I had in mind was blue, hoping for lots of blue sky, but that wasn't happening and then I noticed reds being vibrant and popping and at times popping with a little help.

I found this boat in someone's side yard.  
It looked like it was hibernating.  
You can see a tinge of red reflecting onto the snow from the left side of the boat. 
I saw this entrance way along the main street.  
This place is obviously closed for the winter.  
I was surprised to see these windows were not boarded up as all others were.
If the sky was bright, the red wouldn't have been!  
Even though you can see the Prince of Wales Hotel, it's not the focus of attention.  
I was happy to "stop" here and enjoy the view!
I have that color accent feature down pack now.  
+1 means only red where as +5 means red plus shades close to red.  
See!  "Seeing red" can be a good thing!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Like a Magic Kingdom!

With this being one of my first views leading up to my four day stay in Waterton (Feb. 17-20), I knew I was going to be living the good life!  I was there to play with hopes of going through my childhood yet once again just like I did at Disneyland many years ago and like I do every time I am out in the mountains!
Have you heard that song called "Good Life" by One Republic which is the tune played during that Magic Kingdom Disneyland commercial?  Well, once again, I am putting my own twist to a T.V. commercial!  

Shortly after arriving in Waterton and after checking out the view from the Prince of Wales Hotel and even before checking into the Glacier Suites, I went for a snowshoe trip to Crandell Lake and across it to the campground on the far side.  

"when you're happy like a fool, let it take you over"
I didn't spend much time visiting up at the Prince of Wales Hotel.  It is closed for the season and the wind was wild and I'm glad it was wild because it created this.
On Saturday, we started out together and made our way up to Bertha Falls.  Who else falls?  I couldn't help it, the snow was so soft and pillowy and inviting!  We parted ways from here on in and went at our own pace.  I picked it up and flew back to the trail head where I went for a few joy rides on my crazy carpet. I had lunch in a shelter at the campground and then strolled around it enjoying the scenery.
"got this feeling that you can't fight"
And to think last summer, I pitched my Hubba Hubba right in the middle of this campground!
It looked dark and dreary out my front window facing west on Sunday morning but I bundled up anyway and went out into the early morning down by the dock and patiently waited facing east.  I now know that with photography you just have to be out there and once in a blue moon you will be in the right place at the right time.  This is my favourite photo of the entire weekend!  

"when everything is out you gotta take it in"

That sunrise made my day before my day even really got started.  I headed up the Akamina Parkway, parked at the Little Prairie Picnic Site then cross country skied to Cameron Lake and out onto it.  Two friends and I were the first ones there and made our mark in the virgin snow.  
"the hope is we have so much to feel good about"
We made our way back to the picnic site where Parks Canada was serving coffee and hot chocolate inside the wood heated shelter in honour of Waterton Winterfest.  I had my lunch inside the shelter.  I exchanged my skis for my snowshoes and trekked along the Dipper Trail to the trail head at Rowe Lake and then made my way back.  The trail followed the creek which was frozen.  It looked and sounded lovely.
"this has gotta be the good life"
The creek looked like it was full of marsh mellows!

This morning I went back down to the dock in hopes of experiencing another gorgeous sunrise but it wasn't meant to be today.  Instead we were blessed with a morning of no wind. How often does that happen in Waterton!

"tell me what there is to complain about when it's a good life"
"Oh a good good life yeah"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Hills Were Alive........

....with the sounds of "wow",  "look",  "what a view",  "the horses"  and birds singing!

The stars aligned for today's adventure into the  Mustang Hills.  The forecast was for sunshine, a blue sky, warmth and we got all that plus more.  We started at the Winter Gate along Route 66 and walked the road up to Rainy Summit to where the exploring began. 
This was the most snow we saw today partially covering Rainy Summit and on Outlaw and Banded Peaks.  Most of the elevation was out of the way now and it was time to head into the Hills but not before removing a few layers, hats and gloves.
The West Hill's summit was uneventful, no views, although time-wise it was a good place for a substantial snack.  It was also time to remove another layer and make long sleeves short.  Then we carried on to the Center Hill.  The view here was wide and forever.  Happy Hiker was living up to her name and I was right in there too!  It only got better......
.....when we arrrived at the East Hill!
Movement caught my eye and there they were, a herd of mustangs!  
I couldn't believe it!  
I had hoped to see a wild horse but here was a herd of them, right there.
We had a five minute staring match!
We won the match!  The mustangs turned and took off!
We spent lots of time on this specific Mustang Hill.  The views were spectacular, the sun was actually hot, there wasn't even a breeze and to think this is February and we are in Alberta!  We even found a geocache!  I felt something under my backside when I was relaxing under the tree.
This is my "summit shot" for the day under the tree and blue sky with Cobblestone Flats below and behind me.  After our lengthy summit visit, we planned our exit from the Hills then packed up on went on our way.
After exploring a bit more, we got back on track and found the slope we needed to descend to get to the open space and Route 66 for the road trip back to our trail head.  We encountered a small amount of snow here and there and got to bushwhack a bit.  
Once we were on the road again, we stopped for a bite to eat, layered up then strolled along for the last three kilometers as the sun set.  We were ready to be heading home!  I wonder what the man in the moon was thinking! 
I am thankful for today!  
I realize how special days like this are!
I accept it as a gift!