We didn’t do a whole lot of hiking this past summer – I ended up working most weekends and things just didn’t pan out as we had hoped. Our trip to Junction Hill in early June ended up being quite the adventure,* but the scenery was utterly worth it. I have never seen so many shooting stars (Dodecatheon conjugens) and calypso orchids (Calypso bulbosa) blooming in one place – it was simply breathtaking! This isn’t a popular hike by any stretch and so the area is largely undisturbed, allowing the wildflowers to blanket every inch of the ground on the lower slopes. In case you’re in Kananaskis Country and want to try this trek for yourself, be forewarned: this isn’t some little hillock that you can casually saunter up and back from. It’s a certifiable mountain with a highly inappropriate name.
So, this…found at the beginning of our hike. Not ominous, at all.
And one of the exceptional views from the summit….
If you’ve been following Flowery Prose for a while, you’ll know that aside from a couple of cases – absurdly weird filter here; and cropping here (because, trust me, you don’t want to get close to this sort of wildlife) – I don’t edit my photos. They are all straight out of the camera (excepting the resizing, of course). But I decided to take this one to the point of ridiculously soft…like an oversized fuzzy fleece blanket to snuggle under and sleep away this Autumn-That-Thinks-It’s-Winter. Conveniently, the Comfort Filter™ hides the fact that there was already a lingering skiff of snow on the ground as we wandered this beautiful trail outside of Bragg Creek, Alberta.
Wildflowers of the Mixed-Grass Prairie – Johane Janelle (2017)
Here’s a fantastic resource for anyone interested in identifying the wildflowers growing on the western Canadian Prairies! Alberta-based photographer Johane Janelle has created and published a beautiful and useful brochure listing more than 70 wildflowers found on explorations on the mixed grass prairie. The detailed photographs (arranged by bloom colour) assist with easy, quick ID, and Johane also lists the flowering period for each plant, as an additional aid. The brochure is folded and laminated so it won’t crush or dampen during hikes. It’s now a staple in my backpack!
Click here for a photo of the brochure, from the photographer’s gallery (don’t forget to check out her other work while you’re there!). You can order the brochure directly from Johane by using the Contact Form on her website.
“Come on in, the water’s fine!”
It always amazes me to see American dippers hunt in freezing water – and it’s even more amazing to think that during our crazy cold winters, there are tasty tidbits in there to feed on!
(Photo taken by R. Normandeau in January 2018, Beaver Flats, Kananaskis Country).
What birds are currently making their appearance in your area? (Feel free to link to photos/posts on your blog or social media if you wish!).
No need to leave the city to find ice falls! A quick wintery stroll in Fish Creek Provincial Park in early March yielded this frosty view. (If you live in or are visiting Calgary next winter and you’re looking to check these out, head to the ranch house off of Bow Bottom Trail SE and hike across the first bridge you see from the parking lot. Follow the river to see the falls, or climb above them to reach some cool caves).
It seems that the big spring melt may finally (!) be on its way, so this area will be taking on a more liquid form very soon….
Although it is *technically* spring in this part of the world, we’re still pretty much in full-on winter mode, so to show you some photos from a snowshoeing trip we took a few weeks ago seems sort of appropriate. Nothing “flowery” here, not at the moment.
But we have mountains! This is Sawmill, just off the Smith-Dorrien Trail close to where it intersects with Highway 40. It was a new snowshoe jaunt for us, a 5.3 kilometre loop with very little elevation. The most recent snowfall had occurred the day before, and the wind had blown hard, crusty dunes over much of the broken trail.
And in other parts, there were tracks. We think these were from a bobcat:
We figured we could rule out a cougar because the tracks were too small, and we decided a lynx could also be slotted into the too-large side of the scale. (I know, we ought to have placed an object for size comparison, but we didn’t think of it at the time). The tracks were slightly larger than those of a domestic housecat, which also lends credence to the bobcat ID. I’ve never seen one, but they are small!
We later found even smaller tracks running (but only in very brief intervals) in front of the larger ones and we believe the mother bobcat was likely carrying a kitten and set it down into the snow at certain spots. I did some research and it seems possible that bobcats could have young at the time of year we were out, while lynx will supposedly birth closer to April or May. Here are what we think may be bobcat kitten tracks:
I would definitely welcome any input on the ID of the cat tracks – maybe someone reading this can offer more insight? Does our imagined mother-kitten scenario seem plausible, or could there be another explanation?
At least, this next set of tracks could be identified with absolute certainty. My hubby offered the correct nomenclature: Polus pokysnowus. 😉
And on that note…have a wonderful weekend! Hope there is a little less snow where you are….