Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fall comes early in the this part of the Rocky Mountains.

Before the snow gets too deep in the high country, the horses we use for patrolling the park must be taken to their winter pasture and turned out.

I didn't get to go along on the last ride this year, but I did meet them at their destination and assisted pulling the horse shoes off for the winter. The horses also get their hooves branded, and get a shot of de-worming medicine.
Here's a quaint sign on the road to the ranch.
Along the way, there were also some wildlife hanging out. There were no tourists around, so I could pretend to be one.

Later, on another day, I found the time to patrol some old sections of fire road - with a few less horse power.

I didn't get any photos of the helicopter this time, but I did have to make a short flight into this backcountry lake.
A bunch of old signs and garbage had been collected, but weather had prevented it's removal on a previous attempt.
So the pilot dropped me off here and hooked on his long line while I ran up the trail and secured the cargo. He then flew it to a road accessible location, then came back for me.On the home front, Harley got a bag full of catnip from some of his admirers, (thanks Marie & Terry)and was really getting in to it!We got a call one morning recently of an overdue mountain climber. I found his vehicle in this parking lot, and soon the search was underway - once the rain and fog cleared a bit.After a first fly past of the mountain, the subject was spotted, and we quickly geared up the helicopter to sling rescuers in to the site.

In cases like these, we don't get to ride IN the helicopter, but rather hang UNDER it on the end of a long rope.

The Calgary Herald carried the story, but if you don't like bad news, don't read it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the horses were off down the trail, not to be put to work again till May of next year. Giddy Up!
If the weather stays nice, we hope to take out the camper, or even the new 5th wheel for another good run before things are snowed in. This winter's expedition southward might be a bit short - due to lack of vacation time and time-in-lieu, as well as some ill-timed training at work.
But we will be saving as much time as possible, and there will for sure be some time in California and Arizona at the very least. My new truck wants to use Ultra Low Sulphur diesel, so until Mexico has that available, we will not be able to go there. Till next update.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sadly, many of the park's wildlife die in collisions with (speeding?) vehicles in the park, and the railroad takes it's toll as well.
Recently, this big bull moose met his end on the highway.

Although he will no longer roam the valleys in the park, others do benefit from his remains.

I managed to put up a camera to watch who came to the moose meat banquet.

Fortunately, some steps are being taken by the park to help alleviate the carnage on the roads,
This section of road is being twinned, and as part of the project, the road is fenced off, so wildlife should not be able to easily access the travel surface.

But, since they still have to travel from one side to the other, numerous types of wildlife crossings are built into the design.

Many are various forms of culverts and underpasses, but some animals to not adapt well to tunnels, so several overpasses are constructed as well.
In these photos, such an overpass is under construction. When finished, wildlife will be able to cross the highway high above the traffic.
In this image I borrowed from News of Interest TV, you can see one of the completed overpasses that was constructed about 10 years ago.
It's been quiet on the RV front, but I did manage to drag the new fifth wheel for a couple nights close to home.