Sunday, April 30, 2017

Nose Hill Park April 30, 2017

After experiencing what I did yesterday and then experiencing what I did this morning, it just confirms I am so fortunate to live in a place where I can have it all in the same weekend.  I was depleted by the time I got home last evening and from the week's happenings so my planned  intentions for today all day were to be one on one with my sofa.  That plan went by the wayside though.  Being the last day of April, a beautiful morning in the city,  not having completed a crocus hunt this spring, meant I had business to take care of.   From forging through deep snow yesterday just 100 minutes west of the city to meandering along dry trails today out my back door, yes I can have it all.

I arrived at the Nose Hill Park trail head early.
In no time at all the crocus show began.
they were in abundance everywhere
vibrant, healthy and alive
It was a slow go for the first kilometers as I took time to admire those wild flowers.  
Every now and then I looked up to take in my surroundings, there was beauty there too today.
a new life begins
After spending time in one area, it was time to move on to another.
This trail took me there.
a rock garden
seeing beauty in the simplest of scenes
spring time brings new beginnings of all kinds, from flowers blooming..... a thirst to be out & about kite flying..... being active filling the lungs with fresh air.
Nose Hill Park has such a variety of terrain.  There are valley's deep and hill's high with wide open spaces and skies as big as can be.  It's a place in the middle of a big city where you can escape.  The Park is filled with treasures of all kinds, just open your eyes and wander.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Kananaskis Lookout Loop April 29, 2017

Oh how life can be so beautiful and so cruel at the exact same time!  
On this good-bye April Saturday we looked forward to a springtime hike up to the Kananaskis Lookout adding a twist to our day by coming down the backside hence forming a great big loop.  After gearing up at the parking lot we aimed for the trail sign.  In hind sight a sign that read this....
.....would have been more appropriate!

But, this was the sign!
We were warned there was lots of snow in this area.  We took that into consideration so donned gaiters, fixed microspikes to our backs yet left our snowshoes behind.  The going was easy as we hit the Whiskey Jack Trail.  Along the highway drive, as a front seat passenger, I commented that I would be on the lookout for wildlife as it was early morning and the road was not busy.  I took that task onto the trail too.  Within a matter of minutes from the start of our hike a big brown fury something caught my eye.  Thank goodness it was a moose and not a bear!
Also early on into our hike we began to take turns breaking trail in the snow.  There was no looking back now wishing we brought snowshoes.  We forged on through the snow which got deeper and deeper the further we climbed.  I did look back here to capture our first mountain view.
The toughest part so far of our day was ascending The Lookout Trail.  The snow does not look that deep but it was the toughest time I ever had breaking trail in all the years I have been doing this.  Our stints at the front were very short.  It was very slow going.
 Finally the Kananaskis Lookout came into sight!
We reached the meadow and captured our shots of the beauty.  
my destination shot
It would have been nice to get to the Lookout and up onto the deck for a grand view of the Kananaskis Lakes.  The gate was covered in snow, at times we sunk to our hips in spots, we remained in the open meadow and took in the sights from there.  I dug out the mailbox and retrieved the guest book which we all signed.
It was later than we expected it would be when we arrived here.  I was alomst beyond hungry so devoured my tuna sandwich and chickpea salad.  We were fortunte to have sun and no wind while we enjoyed our visit.  
Clouds began to roll in and it sprinkled flurries here and there then quickly moved on.  We quickly moved on too as we were now heading down the backside of the Lookout trail descending through the deep snow.   We were able to make good time while we were energized.
looking back at the Kananaskis Lookout
 These untouched trails since all the new snow created very pretty scenes....  
 ...and a fun place to play!  Short Stop was keen to join me in running in the snow down the big hill.
I was overjoyed when we eventually reached the Hydroline and saw that it had been snowshoed on in the past days making for a broken firm trail to hike down.  We rested for a few minutes before going for it.  
We descended it then carried on along to the interestion to where we would take Fox Creek back to the Campground then back to the parking lot.  We convened at the interestion and without any hestiation after eyeing Fox Creek, made the decision to abort that plan.  We instead climbed the last big hill and carried on down the Hydroline to the Elk Pass parking lot then walked the two plus kilometers on the road back to where we started our day seven hours prior, not five and a half hours prior which is roughly how long we thought this great big loop would take us to cover.
The consensus appeared to be "glad this is over".  I felt joyful yet depleted and was lacking energy to express my thankfulness of completion of this adventure.  Yes life can be cruel at times but when the beauty comes at the exact same time remembering the beauty reigns.  Our drive home along Highway 40 where life begins was beautiful too.   Life will begin another day out this way and I always look forward to that!

Thank you for this day!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Barrier Lake Lookout April 22, 2017

I never take for granted that I am fortunate to live in a place on our planet earth that has amazing places to play with breath-taking scenery right out my front door.  I love these places, I appreciate them, respect them, and treasure them.  Bundle all that together, add in some friends, then together fully embrace what Mother Earth and Mother Nature created for us on this Earth Day.
The Barrier Lake Lookout is a safe bet to reach this time of year.  
The earlier in the day the better to hit this trail.  
blue sky + no wind = pretty reflections
Trail conditions were all over the map.  They were dry to begin with, then short sections of wet dirt, next came ice for the entire way up the switchbacks.  We had our traction devices which meant no problem for us.  We reached the first view point which was a mud fest.  No lingering long here as we favoured reaching the Lookout sooner.  We checked out the rocky outcrop then made our way along the steeper stretches which consisted of mud, dry dirt, ice, snow.   I was glad to have safely worked our way up through all that to where these kinds of views began.
Yamuska in the distant middle
distant views caught my eye as did even the littlest of things
While it was wet with loads of snow up here, it was brown and dry down in the valley.
I was surprised to crest the hill and see the Lookout was open.  That dry valley is why the Lookout Lady was home. She arrived two and a half weeks ago due to it being dry down below.  Fires already occurred, one being sparked by a passing train.
Her and her pup came down to the helipad to greet us and chatted with us for some time.  
She gave us permission to follow the trail to the back of her home.  
I did so to capture my destination shot from my favourite vantage spot up here.  
We savoured a lengthy amount of time up here.  
The weather was on our side and it was not busy (yet).  
I checked out the many scenes.
After investing as much time as we felt worthy for today at Barrier Lake Lookout, it was time to pack up and head back.  We vacated our spots on the helipad to make room for the swarms of people beginning to arrive.  Our timing was spot on today for our visit here.  The trail down to the rocky outcrop was now full of a mess of mud & ice & snow and a mess of people coming up.  While waiting for the rest of our friends to arrive here, we enjoyed the view.
Earth Day holds different levels of meaning for each.  We all know one friend truly loves to get down and dirty.  We questioned whether her mishap was an accident or intentional.  Some of us hold a special section in our hearts for this place called Earth, others like to hold our earth in other places.  All in all I am sure my friends would agree that in which ever way you become one with our earth, it is truly good for the soul!
We became spread out somewhat as we maneuvered down that mad mess.  We waited here to gather together before aiming for those icy switchbacks. Barrier Lake is always a sight to see from up here.  We noticed the clouds moving in, the wind picking up and our breath in the air.  Again, we were spot on with our timing today.
As we began to descend the switchbacks we knew we were now on the last stretch to heading home and you know what that means.  I take over the reigns with your thoughts! We made a quick and fun time out of it.  

Thank you Agent-X for creating an opportunity for us where we could come together and share in acknowledging Earth Day!  We are lucky people to be able to experience what we do.  Embrace!  Respect!  Enjoy!