We had a wonderful day today, hiking up to the eastern outlier of Moose Mountain for a picnic. The heat was a bit much at times as we continued the recent trend of high 20's to low 30's temperatures but we walked slowly and enjoyed the trail to the small (dubiously constructed) little shelter on the eastern outlier where we stopped and had our food before walking equally slowly back to the truck. In the shelter Sarah began to regret the choice of shorts for the hike as it was quite cool up there when stationary. We only stayed about 20 minutes before heading back down to the oppressive heat of the lower elevations. It was a lovely little outing of approximately 12.5 km and great to be out in the mountains together.
For those thinking of making this hike there's a full description of route, parking and a map to the summit hike here, or it can be found on the Hiking Canada section of this site.
I set out today to make a nice steady hike beside Barrier Lake but a grizzly with cubs had other ideas and the whole area was closed due to her reluctance to move on. It matters little, when you are in Kananaskis you are surrounded by hundreds of hikes of all kinds so I continued south on highway 40 and waited for inspiration to strike. I didn't have to wait long, as I passed the parking area for the G8 summits and saw it was empty the decision was made. I've made this hike so often now it might be classed a 'regular' and I suspect I will make it again at some point. For those seeking full details of the hike including trailhead access, route descriptions and a map you can click here to see one of my earlier trips up this beautiful steep climb. You will also find a link to this and many other hikes in the area on my Hiking Canada page.
The gallery below is just a selection of images from today, heavy storms last night had knocked down the forest fires and associated smoke and best of all had cooled the temperature from the high 20's and low 30's to a much more suitable 7 degrees, by the time I reached the summit it was pretty cold and I was glad I had carried the fleece up there. Back on the ground after a wonderful afternoon it was saddening to see another new forest fire opposite Barrier Lake being battled by 2 helicopters with drop buckets and dozens of firefighters, it looks like they caught it early so hopefully they will have it out before it has chance to really take hold.
We made our usual circuit along the river today but to keep things interesting I only took along my macro lens and spent the walk exploring the detail around us. It was a beautiful hot day with the smoke of the wildfires finally gone thanks to overnight rain showers in the mountains. The gallery below shows a little of the flora and fauna of Cochrane including a robin with a beak full of mayflies, various bees and bugs and a creative shot of the river.
I've spent the day today completing the photos from the California road trip so if you're interested in the whole journey and additional images then grab yourself something nice to drink and click here to visit the page. As usual now I have also added a permanent link from our 'Canada Page' which now has over 60 different Canadian adventures to peruse.
It's that time of year again, the time when people head to the mountains in the hundreds of thousands and enjoy the beauty, the wilderness and their camp fires. Unfortunately far too many people fail to properly control or douse the fire when they head home, the result is hundreds of forest fires every year burning thousands of acres across north america.
Alberta has suffered 737 wildfires this year burning over 7000 acres of forest and there will be almost as many again before the season is over. British Columbia has suffered 374 covering almost 40 times the acreage of the Alberta fires, there are currently two fires out of control in BC each burning over 100,000 acres.
Some fires occur naturally via spontaneous combustion, lightning strikes and the such like but hundreds start at lakeside campsites every year and many are intentional. It would be nice if I could convince a few folks to "soak it, stir it and soak it again" when leaving their fires but I doubt a blog with 7000 views per month is going to make a dent in the thick skulls of those responsible.
The resulting smoke and haze often help to create incredible sunsets which was the purpose of this post tonight, but I seem to have got carried away with my rant. Anyway, below is tonight's sunset struggling through the smoke filled skies over Cochrane. I should add that we are in no danger from the fires as they are a hundred kilometres away.
We made the final leg of our journey from Spokane Washington to Cochrane Alberta today, the whole trip rounded out at 4500 km (2800 miles) taking my truck perfectly to it's next service interval which Sarah booked for tomorrow as we drove home. We stopped again at Sandpoint Idaho, as we enjoyed it on the way down to California and thought we would see a little more of it. We walked the beach and harbour again before walking into town and shopping on the main street before stopping for thick milk shakes in the shade of a street cafe. The journey was a good one again and even holiday traffic didn't hold us up. Once back into Canada we headed north to Radium Hot Springs where we had our evening meal before carrying on through Kootenay and Banff National Parks and home. It's been another great road trip with wonderful sights, the beautiful pacific ocean and beaches galore, can't wait for the next one.
We left Portland this morning and enjoyed a beautiful drive through the Columbia River Gorge calling at the 'Bridge of the Gods' and Cascade Locks before stopping for a snack at The Dalles. We then took highway 14 east to Columbia River State Park and made a short hike to a small waterfall in a tight canyon there. We then made the rest of the journey to our overnight hotel in Spokane Valley, Washington. Once settled we hopped on the interstate for 30 minutes to Coeur d'Alene and visited the city beach and park for sunset (main image below). Tomorrow we make the final leg of the journey back to Cochrane, hopefully with a few stops for photos along the way.
Today was going to be a long drive no matter how we played it, but we were not too concerned either way. The coastal route from Crescent City to Portland was going to be 2 hours longer than the 6.5 hour interstate route and when we got up this morning the sea har along the coast made the decision for us, we headed for the interstate. Heavy congestion around Portland added an hour to the journey but we arrived in time to go and explore a little bit locally. We opted for highway 30 in the hope of visiting a number of waterfalls and 'Vista Point' for sunset. Unfortunately the highway was closed due to roadworks, we did manage to visit one pretty impressive waterfall before heading back to the hotel, stopping for dinner at a nice local restaurant along the way. All in all it was nice to get the journey done and settle in for the evening, there will be other sunsets, and coconut creme pie with coffee sounded better this evening. All of the images are of Multnomah Falls just east of Portland in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge.
As the title suggests, today was a day for beaches. The har cleared out early and we were soon heading to the sea at Tolowa Dunes State Park just south of our hotel. It was fantastic to find we had the place to ourselves as we walked through the dunes to the beach. We walked along a little way then sat on an old redwood carcass watching the ocean and messing around stacking rocks. When we finally dragged ourselves away we only travelled another couple of miles south to Point St. George (main image below) where beach trails and rock pools kept us entertained. From there it was on to Crescent City Harbour and a nice little hike up a local viewpoint that looks back across the bay. We had excellent fish and chips close to the harbour before returning to the hotel to freshen up. Once refreshed and ready to go again we returned to Crescent City to shoot the sunset from the city beach. I guess it goes without saying that today was another cracker.
Today was all about relaxing and enjoying the area and as Sarah and I both really love the giant redwood forests of Northern California we made another visit to them. Our day started with a short drive to Crescent City where we walked out on the breakwater, immediately after that we walked out on the pier and talked with some locals who were catching huge crabs and fish from the pier end. We did this mainly because the sea har was still lingering as is often the case here. Once the sun broke through the haze we went to the redwood groves beside highway 199 and explored the wonderous forest. After lunch we headed out to Clifford Kamph Memorial Park just 2 minutes from the hotel where we lazed around on the beach and had a little paddle in the beautiful pacific ocean. In the evening we stayed in the hotel and went to the casino there for a short time (coming out a little over $200 better off) I guess we won't be retiring on that but it's better than a minus figure.
We arrived in Calgary, Canada on 29th December 2011 to continue our journey. This blog is intended to keep our family and friends informed whilst we explore Canada.You can use the RSS feed below to stay updated.
The Shaman, West Texas