Saturday, August 30, 2008

As promised, an aerial view of some of the northern parts of beautiful Banff National Park.

Helicopters had been chartered on 'minimums' to ensure availability for forest fire control.
But with the contracts coming to an end, and no fires to fight, we had to make the best use possible of the remaining hours.
The work we were doing today involved getting much needed supplies flown into remote backcountry patrol cabins.
This often meant feed for our horses, but also some firewood in areas where natural supplies are unavailable.
In some cases, we were able to bring along other park staff, and show them the country!
A lot of very remote, wild terrain.
Glacial carved valleys.
Turquoise lakes!
Bonus. Two videos at the bottom.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Waskesiu trip (Sask.) continued ...

While still in the Waskesiu area; after my truck got mugged (or hugged?) by the bear, we took in some more of the sights. One of these is a public viewing tower that you can climb to get a look above the surrounding trees. You see, they are 'mountain challenged' in this area :).

I think the surrounding trees have grown somewhat since the tower was built, but it still gets you up high enough to appreciate the divide between the watersheds of the Saskatchewan and the Churchill river systems.

This structure has been here for as long as I can remember, but I can't imagine that it has been maintained in a usable condition. Especially by Parks Canada, which is infamous for rotting infrastructure and facilities closed due to neglect. But here it is, and it is fairly dang impressive.
After leaving the park, I spent a couple days just to the south at Emma Lake, attending a family gathering. The camper was parked just behind the waterfront cabin, and evening found us sitting on the beach around the fire watching (and participating in) the impromptu fireworks demonstration/competition from other cabins surrounding the lake.

There were at least eight different sources of fireworks visible from our vantage point.
No children or pets were seriously hurt during this demonstration. That we know of!

After that it was time to turn the paw-printed truck in a homeward direction, so as not to be late for that occupation that still pays the bills.
Heading west - into the sunset across the flat portion of Alberta.

Collecting bugs on the windshield, and keeping away from the oncoming trucks.
Both directions, it was a convenient stop at a little regional park at the edge of the Alberta badlands (ie Drumheller). I think it was called Morrin Bridge Provincial recreation area?
It tried to rain in the morning, but Harley got out for a quick check for local 'prey', while I cleaned the windshield and enjoyed a morning coffee.

Remember - you can click on any photo for a much larger view (of Harley), or click on the Google map at the top and zoom in or out to your hearts content.
A northward looking shot from Google Earth shows the spot.

Next entry?

Hmmm, how about a tough day at work, flying around the north end of Banff National Park by helicopter. Preview below!
August has arrived, and it was time to take a road trip!
Saskatchewan was the destination this time, and as we crossed the border from Alberta, we realized that it is rather - flat!

But soon we headed north into the lake and bush country and entered Prince Albert National Park.
Paighton beach was looking as good as ever, on the south shore of Waskesiu lake.
We checked out the scenery in the townsite. The weather was fairly warm, so the scenery was good - and the beach was busy.
We camped out at the Narrows campground, and found the fees to be typically high. They wanted $21.50 for a campsite and another $8.80 for a fire permit. No electricity, no water, no showers. Compare that to an Oregon state park at Beverley Beach where for $18 I got electricity, water and sewer hookups, fireplace, free showers, and - cable TV! Hmmm?
The next day we toured up on the north shore of the lake into the Kingsmere Lake and Grey Owl Wilderness area.
For the first time, I got to hike the Narrows Penninsula trail which leads out onto the point opposite the Narrows campground.
Although it threatened to rain, it stayed dry and we had a good hike with only a few mosquitoes and some inquisitive loons for company.

Harley had forgotten to pack his harness or leash, so we had to buy a new harness in Prince Albert on the way up, and utilize some oversize rope to keep the park wildlife safe!While napping on the roadside in that general area, we had an early morning visitor. I heard some sounds that I attributed to other vehicles pulling up to view the lake. But whenever I looked out, I saw none. The vehicle moved a little, but there was some wind, and Harley rocks the camper when he jumps to the floor. There were some scratching sounds, but that is often from ravens landing on the roof.
When I finally got out to look around, I heard crashing off into the trees across the road, and found sandy paw prints all over the truck!

On the hood.
The front bumper.
The driver's side.
The side mirror.
And this curious black bear had even tried to sample one of the tires!
To be continued ...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A few days ago, as I was headed down into the village intent on a coffee and a newspaper, my friend and neighbor made me a better offer!
He suggested that we take his boat and go for a tour on Lake Minnewanka, near Banff.
I wavered on the decision for about half a second, before agreeing that his was a much better plan than mine.

Before long we were launching his boat, and off on a cruise around the lake!

The boathouse, and the base for the commercial boat tours.

Down toward Devil's Gap at the far end of the lake.

The 'captain' was obviously not enjoying the day!

A couple days later, it was time to head out to the little homestead to cut the grass.
Taking some back roads, we encountered a modern day cattle drive under way.

Harley brought along a 'friend' to help keep the gophers in line.

We had been dog-sitting for a week, so of course, 'Bessie' got to come along too.
With a new set of blades on the mower, short work was made of the mowing.
There were some nice flowers growing out by the fire pit.
So I took a few photos.

Then I mowed them all down!

Next entry: a trip back to Saskatchewan!