Monday, July 30, 2007

But we did see some pretty things...

Regrowth after a forest fire seven years ago.

A lovely toadstool...we also saw two toads we later found out are a rare species. They were the size of the palm of my hand...I haven't seen toads like that since I was in Ontario.

A rotten and abandoned cabin, barn and feed manger from the turn of the century.

Beautiful mountains (notice all the snow...a late spring indeed)

A steaming creek in the early morning.

The Whirlpool River, the waterway David Thompson followed to get over the Rocky Mountains one hundred and ninety-six years ago.

Why a planned eight day trip turned into three days

For those of you who don't already know, our backpack trip was abruptly shortened. Here is a pictorial explanation:

A hopeful beginning

Humid and hot and we're fully clothed to protect from the mosquitoes.

Cooking on the bridge where the cool, the rushing water and the breeze keep all but the bravest of the bugs away.

The middle fork of the Whirlpool River...notice bridge footings on other side. Too high for the two of us to ford with 50+ lb packs and my lack of swimming skills.

Working our way back again...still fully clothed in the heat. We're walking in low marshy forest where the breeze does not venture.

Some of Brent's bites

Cooking inside the tent this time.

The campground we couldn't reach. I look pretty grim, don't I?

All's well that ends well...back safely to the trailhead. We warned a group of guided tourists on a one night trip of the "dangers" that lay ahead...although they weren't even going as far as our first site.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Heading to the National Park

We're off in the morning for eight days in the wilderness called Jasper National Park. If you don't hear from us in ten days (and you had expected to hear from us) then alert the media, the National Guard, the Marines, the Mounties, the Fire Brigade, the Arrogant Worms, the Milkmen, the Carpenters' Union, or some other group of your choice. Anyway, in honour of this festive occasion, I thought I would pass on some Park queries received by tourists (and, yes, they're real as far as I know): This is a list of questions asked by tourists at the Banff National Park Information Kiosks: 1. How do the elk know they’re supposed to cross at the “Elk Crossing” signs? 2. At what elevation does an elk become a moose? 3. Tourist: “How do you pronounce ‘Elk’?” Park Information Staff: “‘Elk.’” Tourist: “Oh.” 4. Are the bears with collars tame? 5. Is there anywhere I can see the bears pose? 6. Is it okay to keep an open bag of bacon on the picnic table, or should I store it in my tent? 7. Where can I find Alpine Flamingos? 8. I saw an animal on the way to Banff today — could you tell me what it was? 9. Are there birds in Canada? 10. Did I miss the turnoff for Canada? 11. Where does Alberta end and Canada begin? 12. Do you have a map of the State of Jasper? 13. Is this the part of Canada that speaks French, or is that Saskatchewan? 14. If I go to B.C., do I have to go through Ontario? 15. Which is the way to the Columbia Rice fields? 16. How far is Banff from Canada? 17. What’s the best way to see Canada in a day? 18. Do they search you at the B.C. border? 19. When we enter B.C., do we have to convert our money to British pounds? 20. Where can I buy a raccoon hat? ALL Canadians own one, don’t they? 21. Are there phones in Banff? 22. So it’s eight kilometers away… is that in miles? 23. We’re on the decibel system, you know. 24. Where can I get my husband really, REALLY, lost?? 25. Is that two kilometers by foot or by car? 26. Don’t you Canadians know anything? 27. Where do you put the animals at night? 28. Tourist: “How do you get your lakes so blue?” Park staff: “We take the water out in the winter and paint the bottom.” Tourist: “Oh!” I especially like the Alpine Flamingos...maybe we'll run into some of those this week!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Music for a Found Harmonium

How many of us if we found a harmonium in the garbage bin out back of our apartment would we write a song just for it? Well, Simon Jeffes of The Penguin Club Orchestra did just that, and the song is quickly becoming one of my (Brent) favorite of all time! Here is a version of the song filmed in front of an audience for the BBC.

Adventure To (that's Danish for two)

Sunday after church Brent and I pulled out the roadmap and drove to Dickson (straight west of Innisfail, home of the first Albertan Danish settlement, if someone an guess the correct year of the settlement, I'll give them a sweet prize). We took a bunch of secondary and thirdary roads (I know that's not really a word but what do you call what looks to be secondary but slowly deteriorates from new pavement to old pavement to an assorted lump of potholes and gravel and then back again). The countryside was beautiful, I decided that Carstairs would be a very cute little town in which to live. There was no water going over the dam, sadly, unlike the last time we were there right around the time of all the major Alberta floods two years ago.

We met my parents at the Danish National Canadian Museum just south of Dickson and had all-you-can-eat æbleskiver (bonus points to anyone who knows what that translates as literally). They're kind of like Dutch ollibollen except rather than being deepfried, they're baked in a special æbleskiver pan that sits on the stove.

A coupla major highlights of the trip: seeing my family and especially my brother Karl who has just moved home from Fort Mac, eating æbleskiver AND kransekage (Danish wedding cake--if you were at our wedding, you probably had some) and discovering that the museum has several resources that I will be able to use for my research when I start writing my thesis!

Inbetwixt adventures, Dougie Maclean

Last Wednesday, my parents and Brent and I went to see Dougie Maclean in concert in a church in south Calgary. He is a folk singer dating back to my childhood; my mum has two of his first albums on record...and I have his two latest on cd. He is most famous for his song "Caledonia" but that is certainly not his only good one. If you look him up on YouTube, there's lots of footage/recordings of him, illegal of course, but I found a chunk of a documentary to give you a taste of his music. I'm a huge folk music fan to begin with but he takes things to a new level. It was a fabulous concert, by the way. He teaches the audience all the choruses so that we can sing along and provide back-up vocals as it was just him and his guitar on the stage. Please excuse the strange facial expressions of the female singer...her name is Kathy Mathea, I believe, a Irish folk singer in her own right, but apparently not well adapted to film...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Marvelous Adventure #1

Monday July 16: approximately 5 days til Rachel and Trevor come home, 4 days until we go backpacking. This summer is going WAY too fast! We're trying to get our adventures in where we can, consequently this shall be the first of a two-post series on some of the things we have done.

Saturday night after I got home from work we quickly ate supper, transfered the pannier from Mom B's bike to mine and loaded it up with camera, water, bike map, lock and extra sunscreen. It was a hot hot day and I was on a mission to dip my feet in the cold almost-fresh-from-the-glacier Bow River water.

So...we went for a three hour bike ride up along the Fish Creek trail until it connects with the Bow River trail system, followed the Bow River til 19th Street and then took 19th back towards home. It was a beautiful beautiful evening and it was much cooler along the river than up at our house!

Our first picture stop (although prior to this we saw a baby deer hiding in the grass along the path). Later we saw more deer--at the zoo! Funny that within 3 km of each other there were wild and penned deer of the same variety!

Canada geese being spectators of...

The many rafters, canoeists and kayakers on the river that evening!

Some bridges along the way:

Prince's Island Park...we toured through to take a look at the River Cafe. The park was quite busy with people out walking or biking or rollerblading or just hanging out. We checked out the venue for the Calgary Folk Music Festival. Too bad we're going to be far far away from Calgary and can't go!

We biked by some Shakespeare in the Park (Twelfth Night) but didn't stop long since it was already part way over. We'll have to do that another time!

Finally, we found a quiet place for me to dip my feet before heading back home. A lovely evening indeed!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Nose Hill again

Brent and I went up Nose Hill on our bikes again last night and again I was amazed at how the hills are awash in wild flowers. There are so many different prairie flowery smells, the sounds of bugs and birds and the wind in the grass. Absolutely lovely. Have you been there? I highly recommend it!

Friday, July 06, 2007

This Technology of Ours

So much has changed for photography once the computers turned it all digital. Suddenly we could take the imperfect picture and turn it into the perfect one we were seeking. On the other hand, people use computers to take the perfect picture and make it into the imperfect picture. That is my favorite. The following pictures are from our backpacking trip to Maligne Lake last year. The first picture is one we took on the day. The second picture is one that I aged. The third picture shows a comparison between the two.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Nose Hill Park

Have I said before how much we appreciate Nose Hill Park!? A little bit of natural prairie right out our back door. So many times we have appreciated being able to see the natural beauty without even leaving the city!

Controversial change of late is the new paved path that is going in. We went to check it out and appreciated being able to the climb to the top on pavement rather than on gravel....but I'm still not 100% convinced. Here are some pictures from the trip. (And yes, because of the wet wet spring, there is a LAKE in the middle of the park!!)