There was a forest fire at Exclesior Creek earlier this year and I was very saddened to see in the newspapers that the area around my oft-visited viewing site at Medicine Lake was burned.A desire arose in me to see it first-hand. I admit that as I drove up Maligne Lake Road to Medicine Lake the moment I saw the burned area I felt overwhelmed by the devastation.I was also curious what kind of photos I could take of the burnt area and perhaps what was already starting to grow. There were areas that were thick with trees and probably needed thinning out. Yes there will be rejunenation but I felt the loss as well. I talked with a local artist in the parking lot who shared with me how he has come for many years to the area to paint “en plaine air” and we agreed it was sad as well as would be interesting to see what abstracts could be discovered…he as a painter and I as a photographer.I could still smell the charcoal as I took the following photos. Since it was fall the lake was much lower and I was able to walk on ground that normally would be under water. This lake has an under water drainage system and the level drops dramatically in the fall as the water goes underground and drains into the Maligne river and canyon.The photo in my header is of Medicine Lake .there is an eagle’snest on the left and I worried about the young until I saw a photo of the burnt tree with the healthy eaglet still in the nest.
The last photo is taken from the lake looking back at the parking lot above the stairway.there are some trees that survived as well as saplings in their fall colours
After going into town for a yummy muffin and Latte from The Other Paw, I headed about 20 km south on the Icefields Parkway to a most wonderful lake. There is a small parking area here and no signs except for the board at the trail head. It is just a short walk through the woods, to a creek. Cross the creek and follow the trails -there is one that goes straight ahead and one that goes left along the creek then into the woods. Both ways are short walks that take you to different parts of the rocky shoreline that has, in some spots, emerald green waters and if you time it right , amazing reflections of the water and cliffs across the way.
This is a place where I can spend hours pondering the scenery and on a warm day, soaking up the heat from the rocks.
Just down the road is the junction of highways 93 and 93A. I turned right here to go to Athabasca Falls.There are short walks to various viewpoints of the falls and the gorge. You can feel the energy as the water rushes over the rocks and through the gorge.
I have been to this spot in spring , summer and fall -never the same and always exciting.
Next was Medicine Lake where there was a forest fire earlier this season and further up the road, Maligne Lake, an almost 40 km drive. I will save that for my next post.
On my first morning I took a path behind the hostel a very little way up Whistler mountain and took images looking up to the Skytram and out to Pyramid Mountain. Nothing like going to the mountains to find out just how bad the fitness level is.In no time I was huffing and puffing and feeling the strain in my calf muscles. It was a frosty morning and made for some pretty scenes.
on the path in front of me
The Sky Tram Station on Whistler Mountain behind me
Looking across the valley at Pyramid Mountain
fall leaves are mostly gone and sunlight warms the frosty air
I gave a month’s notice to my work and am taking a much-needed break for a week. We have been short-staffed and over-worked for a long time while making money for the company and I am tired. On Monday I will be heading for the hills, either Jasper National Park or David Thompson country. When I come back I will hopefully have a whole bunch of new images. For today, I am resting, going to the advance polls to vote in the provincial election and researching options for accomodation in the days to come.Recharging batteries, figuratively and literally.
On Sunday I will still be in this area of Central Alberta but going on the Snow Goose Chase sponsored by the Nature Club. We will be bussing around the country spotting Snow geese on their migration north-a truly magnificent sight. Maybe we will see Bluebirds and owls, cranes…and huge flocks of Snow Geese.
Here are some images from the past as I think of which direction to go:
Medicine Lake, Jasper National Park
Abraham Lake David Thompson Country
Just thought that I would post this photo of a raven that I took last spring at a stop on the Icefields Parkway in Jasper National Park. Been inspired by some photos on the blogs . Thoughts are with the election tomorrow in the US. all the best.
I am recovering and feel better today. In retrospect I got busy.Real busy. Then I stopped using one of the most important tools in my kit. The daily practise of quiet time, prayer, meditation, sitting in the silence, whatever I choose to call it. The name is not important but the practise is. It is the difference between practising the problem or practising the solution.
Sometimes the size of my tool kit overwhelms me and I get stuck with indecision – the paralysis of analysis. This is the time to ” just pick one. ” “Use it.” Everything turns around from there. My best tool is the “take the time” tool. Next is the “gratitude” tool. invaluable but totally useless if I don’t use them. Have a great day!
It is great to get on the road and travel, take tons of photos, go for short hikes and even buy over-priced items but it is so important in the travelling to stop and take a breather, to take that pause, and just breathe. I did a lot of travelling in a week but did make a point of taking a moment, or a few, to find a quiet or noisy spot and just sit, be still within myself, and soak in the beauty. Here are some of those places: water lilies at Jackfish Lake. Medicine Lake on Maligne Lake Road, misty evening at Fish Lake, Patricia Lake shoreline, bench beside Sunwapta River, Beauty Creek, and Windy Point on Abraham Lake.
I am all showered and shaved now- really discovered the parts about myself that I don’t like and the parts I do like brought on by the fear of bears and heat and exhaustion. The trip brought out the best and the worst in me with sleeping in strange surroundings, the constant sound of rushing water as some hostels were beside turbulent rivers which was energizing at times and annoying when I wanted to relax and sleep at other times. There were bear warnings in a few areas which made me very vigilant and never felt comfortable enough to camp in a tent but did stay in wilderness hostels and went on short hikes. sometimes my knees swelled and I slowed to a snail’s pace. On the first day of the trip my muffler detached from the bottom of my car and I tied it on using wire and on the last night I locked my keys in my vehicle so it wasn’t stress-free. But no computers, no phones, just the occasional stop at a restaurant to recharge my batteries and quench my thirst really felt right and it was great to go to bed without street lights shining through the window or radios to distract me.
And photos! Oh boy…did I ever take a lot of photos. Some were well planned and others were expressions of my being snap-happy. A friend joined me on the first couple of days to shoot photos and I joked with her that I didn’t want to run into a bear but would like to see one from the car. We were armed with our bear spray and more afraid of using that stuff than running into a bear but we did practise pulling the lock out and putting it back on so that we knew how to use it. At one point we were in an area that had posted signs that stated it was grizzly country so we made some noise. I found myself humming then realised that the song was “Teddy Bears Picnic.” Ha! How ironic!
I got my wish when I took a road tour in the early evening specifically to spot wildlife on my last night in Jasper National Park. I spotted a black bear, cinnamon coloured just walking through the woods. I drove into an adjacent parking lot keeping a good distance and shot a couple of manual photos, noticed how dark they were so switched to program mode. I wanted enough speed to capture movement and open aperture to capture light.I also upped my ISO to get more light. In the end the ones shot manually were the best and I managed to lighten them up in Lightroom.
I think that I can do this right today. I mean, getting both the words and the photos down in a blog together. I am going through my old photos and disgarding duplicates and just plain “bad” photos. I am finallyletting go of the photos from , can you believe it, four years ago from a disasterous relationship that left me heart-broken and bitter. The year I broke up with this man I went on a vacation through the Canadian Rockies, through Banff , Jasper, and Yoho National Parks.
I took my drum and my bicycle with me and stayed at hostels and met people from around the world. Other than a couple of drunks most people were polite and well- mannered. I really enjoyed the trip and loved the beauty of the mountains.I was fairly physically fit and did some moderate hikes.
I have been to the mountains a few times since then and always enjoy the journey, setting off with nuts, licorice and a cup of ” Tim’s”. Healthy food was abundant on these trips, after shopping at grocery stores and allowing an indulgence at a restuarant or two. As an aside, don’t go grocery shopping in Lake Louise unless you like paying twice the price as everywhere else. A loaf of bread was $5.00, long before the recent insanity of sky-rocketing food and gas prices. In Yoho four years ago I paid $4.00 for a can of Chunky soup. So shop in the larger centers outside the parks if you are on a restricted budget. I don’t mind paying for entry to the parks themselves as it protects conservation.
Anyway here is a pleasant journey to the past and I invite you to come and join me to see the sights. I shot these photos with a hundred-dollar point and shoot before I got my DSLR. Click on the images to enlarge.