Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Great Trail & a little "hope"

The star word for today was "Breathe"!  Breathe deeply and breathe in the fresh air!  Well, not only was the air fresh this morning it was cold, bitterly cold.  Today was my walk day although I was wishing it was not.  But it was and I was not changing that fact.  I did change the planned location though.  After the new snow and being so cold and roads not at their best, I opted to walk from home instead of hop in the car.  
I aimed for The Great Trail.  I hiked off in this direction once before but this time I took the rougher route instead of the main trail.  There were many single track trails around this area so I took to them.   It was not the prettiest day, it was dismal and grey.  Yet, I still found a way to love my walk.  
We received a light dusting of snow last night which created a perfect canvas!
It was a very quiet morning out here.  
I noticed foot prints from yesterday and a fat biker this morning.  
While I saw the track, I did not see the biker.  
Otherwise, it was just me here.  
noticing the little things
I see the mountains in the middle between the towers.
After meandering here and there but not quite every where out along The Great Trail, I then worked my way back along the Creek.  Next came climbing back up out of the valley and aiming for the Birth Forest.
The Birth Forest always brings...
Two hours later I was back home.  Before heading out, I took one of my books out and placed it on the coffee table.  Between sipping the hot chocolate and turning the pages of the memory book, I warmed up quite quickly!  I am sure all you local mountain people recognize the location on the cover.

You notice the title of this blog post The Great Trail & a little "hope", well here is a little hope.  I had this rock for quite some time and a few months ago began to paint a mountain scene on it.  It was not looking good at all and I lost interest.  I left it as it was and returned it to the basement.  A few days ago I was doing my daily sketch.  I was feeling hopeful and heartfelt and I put that feeling on paper.  My mind went to work, I took that rock back up from the basement, painted over the partial mountain scene with a few layers of white and added a little hope!  The rock is eight inches by four inches. It now sits where I see it every day.

today's 9 km route

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Nose Hill Park from Berkley Gate March 29, 2020

When I was heading into retirement and even in retirement, I knew I did not want a routine or structure of any kind.  Yet, I was O.K. with making plans so there were activities and outings to look forward to.  I enjoy planning and the anticipation leading up to a plan.  These past couple of weeks my life has been full of structure and has become so routine without any conscious effort of making it that way.  I am only realizing now that it just happened!  I know for sure this structure is exactly what I need in my life right now!

So, Deja Vu but a little bit different!  Here we go again!  No TV!  No News! Just up and out the door for a two hour walk at Nose Hill Park but this time from Berkley Gate.  It has been many years since I entered the Park at this location.  Choosing to start the day in a way that is healthy and happy, it was only me and a biker.  She at one end of the lot going in one direction, me at the other end going in the opposite direction.  
I raced up the trail to get high for the sun rise.
As I carried on further and higher, the glow began in front of me.
Then POP!  WOW!
It takes getting up and out early to see sights like this.  
being one with the morning glow
As the red began to disappear in front of me, the golden glow grew behind me.
I polished up a tiny piece of ice and used it as a prop.
With the red now gone and the gold moved on, blue & white filled the sky.
I roamed around enjoying the fresh air and scenery.  I could see others off in the distance, a biker, a dog walker, a runner, another roamer like me.  It was time to work on completing a loop and head on back.  I saw these stairs from the parking lot when I started out.  It looks deceiving here but they go on forever even higher and further than you can see.   As I came down the stairs, a lady was going up.  That tiny dot in the middle is the lady, she was doing stair laps.
With glowing cheeks, lungs full of fresh air, a happy heart, time now to get on with today's routine!

today's route

Saturday, March 28, 2020

my Ode to the Bears

Cross stitching has become a part of my life again at a most appropriate time.  Little did I realize this past autumn when I took the craft up again thank you to my east coast friend, that it would fill as many hours as it has been.  These days getting lost in a cross stitch project is my solace!  I completed this grizzly bear on Thursday and it is now framed and ready to hang on my wall.  The cross stitch work area is five inches by eight inches and framed it is eight by ten.  Because it is stitched on perforated paper, there is no need for stretching.  I call this work "my Ode to the Bears".

With recent world happenings, all hiking and walking will now be done within the city limits in areas that can be accessed out my front door.  As this is the case for tens of thousands of local mountain lovers, it only means the bears will enjoy full 100% outright ownership in our (or I should their) Rockies.  They are now coming out of hibernation, the big dominant males first, then the solo smaller males and the females and after that the Mom's will come out with their new babies.  They will enjoy the freedom of roaming without human interaction.

In my many years of being "out & about" I have had the great fortune of witnessing many grizzly bears and black bears in their natural environment.  The photos posted here were all taken while out hiking along trails (except one which was while camping).  These were opportunities to admire the bears from a safe distance and I zoomed in to capture the shots.  Some of the experiences were while I was hiking solo and others while sharing adventures with friends.

walking out of parking lot to hike Buller Pass August 28, 2019

meadow near Chester Lake August 17, 2018

along trail from Wenkchemna Pass September 15, 2012

along trail of Valley of 5 Lakes near Jasper August 24, 2018

 grassy area at Logan Pass Glacier Montana before hiking Piegan Pass July 1, 2016

Mom & 3 babies seen from along the trail back from Grizzly Col July 1, 2018

from the safety of my car, bear circled my tent at Crandal Campground Waterton August 21, 2010

along the trail from Lady MacDonald April 17, 2010 (photo by friend)

Mom along trail to Ptarmigan Tunnel Glacier Montana August 4, 2010

the Mom's 3 cubs following her August 4, 2010

on the way to Bullhead Lake Glacier Montana August 1, 2016

Parker Ridge August 26, 2013

trail back from Moose Mountain October 13, 2014

I had bear encounters that I have no photos to share.  The priority in those cases was to focus on staying calm, staying safe and getting distance between us or waiting for them to move on.
-Eohippus Lake July 11, 2015 (Mom & 2 cubs)
-Crandal Campground between washroom and tent August 6, 2012 (a black bear)
-Hidden Trail from Ribbon Creek August long weekend,  year = ? (1 large grizzly)
-Route back from Packers Peak to just before the parking lot August 8, 2018 (Mom & Baby)

The number of bear sightings I had from the safety of a vehicle are countless and not worth talking about except for Bearmageddon on August 11, 2019.  I have no bear photos to share of that experience, only my words.  

I have had more than my fair share of bear sightings and encounters but would not change those for anything.  I am fortunate they were all safe experiences where both us and the bears did the right thing.  I don't know if or when we hikers will be sharing trails with the bears again.  That makes me sad but I can only accept it and move forward finding other ways to fill that void!   

Friday, March 27, 2020

Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park March 27, 2020

My hike at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park this morning means more than ever as I now write my write-up!  With the new closures announced this afternoon, I don't know when my next visit to this wonderful park will be.  I cherish my ten kilometre experience there this morning which began with witnessing an amazing sunrise!  
trying to be artistic by adding a wood frame to the sunrise 
I opted for a different way down to the park bottom.  
The Visitor Centre is closed and has been for a couple of weeks.  
The lights remain on into dawn.   
The sky over Badger Bowl looked pretty in pink!
With the rolling hills along Badger Bowl, I got to enjoy another sunrise.  

This spot along the trail was worthy of investing a little time.  The snow capped mountain peaks stretched from one end to the other.  They are so close yet so far and even further away as each day passes and access to them is denied.  In a couple of weeks the ground beneath my feet will begin to show shades of pink and purple as the crocuses come to life.
farm land to mountain peaks
beauty far and wide
McPherson Trail was covered in sections of hard packed snow and ice.  It was spaced out enough that I could get around it easily without sporting my spikes.  I tried to be artistic again by placing a two inch piece of ice in the snow and capturing a shot of the sun shining through it.
another tiny piece of ice looking like it's covered with beads
The descent from McPherson Trail was sketchy and the bottom part of it where it links up with Bowbend Trail was even sketchier.  The river breached its banks and flooded the trail.  Still being early morning the sun had not reached this section yet so it was still fully frozen.
along Bowbend Trail
See the deer?
The cattle gate was closed to keep the cows out.
It was now time to work on completing this great big loop and that meant I just had to get up out of the valley along this last stretch.  To this point and over two hours, I saw a soloist in the distance and I passed by a couple and a threesome.  We gave each other lots of space and shared pleasantries while doing so.
Every time I come to Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, I have an enjoyable experience.  I have hope that some day down the road I will get to drive down that long winding dirt road to where I can begin  my day by witnessing another pretty sunrise. 

This was today's 10km route.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Confluence Park & Nose Creek March 25, 2020

I woke then tossed and turned for a bit, then I contemplated what could today possibly look like!  Some things I have control over for how this day will transpire.  So I began the opening up, not of the news nor of emails but rather I first opened the curtains and then the blinds.  When I saw some snow had fallen over night I knew this mornings walk would be wonderful.  I opened by heart to the love I could find in this day!   

the beginning of the Nose Creek & Confluence Park trails
I walked from home to the park and noticed no vehicles in the parking lot.  
It was still on the early side for most people.   
It was not too early for wildlife.
off in the distance the city was beginning to wake 
It was serene seeing this skiff of snow, so white, so bright, sparkling, untouched and so pure.
The path leads down to Nose Creek.  
This robin looked very healthy or maybe she is expecting!
As the minutes passed and the further down hill I hiked, the prettier it became.  
The early morning light brightened up the bushes .
I followed the path along the creek and then veered off to hike back up to the top, getting in a tiny bit of elevation.  Still there was no one.  You can see the pathway that I was just on, across and down below.  
What goes up must come down!  I went back down again, to follow the pathway along Nose Creek and to cross a couple of the bridges over the creek.  There is something taking place in this photo which I have never seen here before.  The reflection!  It is crisp it is clear it is colourful!  This creek is always muddied and dismal, not today!  
view of Nose Creek with the reflection, taken from the bridge 
view of the not yet fully thawed creek 
I followed the trail along the valley bottom towards the main Trans Canada Trail pathway system which is now called The Great Trail.  I stayed on it for awhile before veering off and up into a residential neighbourhood then walking a few more kilometres back to my home.
I left a little love behind for others who may come here to find a little peace.