Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Drumheller and the Badlands

On Sept 22, 2018 we awoke to ... snow!  We are getting out of Banff just in time, apparently.



Coming out of the foothills, back onto the prairies west of Calgary.  Once again, it was low ceiling for our drive through the mountains and we didn't see much of them.


East of Calgaray, heading towards Drumheller:


We passed this building parked at the side of the road:


And then we got into more ... snow!


For much of my adult life I have wanted to go hike in the badlands.  Wouldn't you know it, we happened to visit at a time when the trail we wanted to do was closed, as it was being used as a movie set.  They weren't even filming that day (no doubt the snow was throwing a wrench into their plans, as well as ours), but we still couldn't hike, but the very nice security guard at the site directed us to this spot where we could see Horseshoe Canyon.  The snow made the badlands extra bad:


Ed's not actually smiling in this one, he is gritting his teeth ... it was cold!


Driving into the valley with the badlands and Drumheller:


We saw dinosaurs everywhere:


Since the weather was so lousy, we spent longer at the museum there.  Here is just one of the dinos that greeted us:



Monday, May 6, 2019

Grise Fiord again

I'll take a pause from re-living last year's trip to Banff.  I am now in Grise Fiord, I have started working in the arctic again.  I've been away since July of 2016.  Feels good to be back.

For contrast, here is the Rideau River in Ottawa just after takeoff:


Ice between northern Quebec and Baffin Island as we fly north:


The new airport terminal in Iqaluit. It was my first time there, I think they opened it in late 2016 or early 2017:


I liked my lunch on the flight to Resolute.  The chicken club sandwich was great, and the Biscoff cookies and Laura Secord chocolate bar were delicious too.


The plane lands now in Pond Inlet on the way to Resolute.  This view is of a piece of Sirmilik National Park (I think, or close to it if not) as we fly over the north end of Baffin Island:


I ended up stuck in Resolute for a day due to high winds, here is a view from my hotel room on April 26 as I watch the flag on the RCMP detachment flap violently:



Here are a few photos of my flight to Grise from Resolute on April 27.  Here we are crossing the NW lobe of Devon Island:



Grise Fiord, the fiord itself and not the town, as we fly in:


Ice patterns in the tidal zone near shore:


I had around 7 feet of legroom on the plane!  Luxury.  There were only 2 of us on the flight:


Nice clouds as I was out skiing in Grise Fiord on April 30:


More nice clouds while skiing on May 1:


... that's all for now.  I'll update later if I get some more nice weather pics.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Yoho National Park

One Sept. 20, 2018, we headed up the road, west past Lake Louise, into Yoho National Park.

Here is a nice view of Cascade Mountain as we headed north up highway 1:


As soon as we passed Lake Louise, we got into a traffic jam.. Traffic was stopped and we had no reason why.  After around half an hour, we started crawling again, and it turns out they had closed the road for blasting:


We pulled over at the viewing spot for the spiral train tunnel.  You can see it at the centre-leftish part of the photo, between two trees:


On the way up Emerald Lake Road, we stopped at the Natural Bridge, on the Kicking Horse River.  This photo has the head of the ubiquitous Rocky Mountain photobomber in the lower right; so many tourists just have to step over the railing of the viewing points to get a few inches closer to the beauty, and pose for hours for their spouse to take the perfect photo:





There it is:


We then continued up the road to Emerald Lake, to hike around it:



Ed at the far end of the lake:


Just another photo of breathtaking mountains as we drove back down Emerald Lake Rd. towards highway 1 after the hike:


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Kootenay National Park

Since we were in the area, we thought we'd take a drive through Kootenay National Park, and visit the hot springs at Radium Hot Springs.

We headed out on the morning of Sept. 19, 2018.  Here is that mountain across from our hotel:


Here it is from another angle as we head off up the highway towards the turnoff for Kootenay National Park:



Highway 1 between Banff and Lake Louise has many of these landscaped wildlife bridges.  The highway itself is fenced off, but these bridges provide a corridor for wildlife to cross, and supposedly they work well.  There are also tunnels, as some animals prefer the openness of a bridge, and others prefer the shelter of tunnels.



This is Castle Mountain:



I forget what lake this is, it's around the continental divide:


Here is Ed at the continental divide, with one foot in Banff National Park in Alberta, and the other in Kootenay National Park in British Columbia.  It's his first time visiting BC:


Heading down the road towards the Marble Canyon hiking trail:



These next photos are of the Marble Canyon trail.  This area marks the eastern edge of a massive fire that burned out the Kootenay valley in 2003.


An upstream portion of the Kootenay river just below Marble Canyon:


You can see the burned trees from the 2003 fire still standing upright, with the new trees growing up below them:



The Kootenay River going through the narrow Marble Canyon below, with a natural bridge over it.  The hiking trail crosses back and forth over the river several times:


Our shadows on one of the hiking bridges:



Waterfall at the top of the hiking trail:



I found the juxtaposition of the old dead trees still standing, and the new green trees growing up among them, to be really cool:


The Kootenay River again, about halfway to Radium Hot Springs:



More burned landscape as we drove by:


Just a couple more mountains, the scenery is fantastic:



Kootenay Valley Viewpoint:



Sinclair Canyon is right near the Hot Springs:


We went for a swim at the pools at Radium Hot Springs, and then did another short hike on the drive back to Banff, near the Crooks Meadow Group Campground.  Here is Ed on a suspension bridge over the Kootenay River:


River pictures from the bridge:




Here he is again:


We saw a black bear on the drive back, just before we got back to highway 1, but I wasn't quick enough on the draw with the camera to get a photo of it.