Sunday, May 4, 2008

Since returning home (or at least that place where I stay between road trips), the weather has finally started to turn around with some warm and sunny days after a string of new records for cold temperatures.

So, I was out hanging around the Bow Valley. And I mean quite literally hanging, with nothing but air under my feet. And nothing above me but a rope and a rescue helicopter.

Once again, as we do every year, we were practicing our rescue techniques for reaching stranded or injured hikers, climbers, and skiers. Rescuers, and a search dog if required are lowered to the ground by the helicopter in areas too steep or rough to land. They carry all the first-aid gear needed to stabilize the patient and package them into a flyable stretcher. Then the helicopter returns and picks up both the rescuer and the patient , and they are flown to where the helicopter can land, and usually a waiting ambulance.

This year, the practice session was held only a day or two after we had flown a very seriously injured snowboarder, who had fallen in some very rough terrain just outside the boundaries of the ski area.

Both the pilots and the rescuers have to be re-certified each year in this rescue technique.

Helicopter returns to pick up a rescuer and a patient in the orange bag.
And off into the wild blue yonder - to a waiting ambulance.
Everyone contemplates this 'training patient'.
And in this scenario, the patient is moved onto a stretcher inside the helicopter for a direct flight to the hospital or a waiting EMS unit.
The 'patients eye' view of the process, as I volunteered to be rescued this year!

The bears have been a bit slow appearing this year, not that I blame them with the weather we have been having. But we are still getting a few calls about agressive wildlife behaviour.
Although some people have been quite alarmed by the random attacks from out of nowhere, it was a bit hard to take this attacker too seriously!
Scoping out the next victim.
Moving in for the peck, or wing-strike.

And if you think that this bird was guarding a nest, it must have been on all sides of a 4-way intersection, as she (?) was following people all over and not just in one location!

And we've had a big black wolf traveling in the area for the last few days. I had seen him the day before, but well out of range of a decent photo. Today I found him roadside, and managed a few snaps. He was not as close as the grouse!

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