Snowshoe trek: Wintour.

FPWSNormandeau

Between my work schedule and the weird weather around here (no snow, then extreme cold), snowshoeing isn’t really happening this year. My hubby and I have managed one trip so far, in January.  Due to the huge avalanche risk nearly everywhere on our side of the Rockies at the time, we headed for a safe place: the first few kilometers of Wintour, in Kananaskis Country.  In the couple of hours we were out there, we heard the thundering crack of EIGHT avalanches in the peaks several kilometers west and east of us. That gives you a bit of an idea of just how risky it would have been to head out into the backcountry that day!

 

Junction Hill hike.

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.

JHFPNormandeau

Wildflower bliss!

COFPNormandeau

And one of the exceptional views from the summit….

JH18

*1. Ticks! We had a tick removal kit from the Central Alberta Lyme Society (CALS) and this very useful information from Alberta Health.
2. Don’t underestimate the need to wear properly-fitted hiking boots.  My new pair are super comfortable and I thought they were suitable, but I should have tried harder to get something that didn’t encourage my toes to crush themselves into the tips of the boots on the descent. Here are some tips for a proper boot fit.

Natural landscapes: from the river to the peak

I’m spreading a little blog love during the month of July! I’ll be reblogging recent entries from some of my favourite bloggers – I encourage you to click through and check out more of their work. Enjoy! ~Sheryl

FRANK KING PHOTOS

SUNRISE ABOVE THE ATHABASCA RIVER, JASPER NATIONAL PARK, ALBERTA

I visited this Canadian Rocky Mountain viewpoint in overcast conditions and vowed I would return when the weather was better. Fortunately, that was the next morning. Truly one of the most spectacular scenes in all of North America; I made equally compelling vertical and horizontal photos because it’s hard to screw up a vista this stunning.  🙂
Nikon D7100, tripod, polarizing filter, graduated density (darkening) filter on the peak and sky.

Click on the picture for a larger view.

Want to buy this picture? Email me and I’ll make it happen! (fdking@hotmail.com).

Check out my coffeetable book, “MOMENTS OF LIGHT: Thirty Years of Photography”: http://bit.ly/JTNnMX

View original post

Alberta snapshot: Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary.

If you’ve been following Flowery Prose for a while, you may remember that in July of 2016 my brother, my hubby, and I took a trip out to the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, near Cochrane, Alberta. We had such an amazing time on the interactive tour that we decided to go again in early March of this year.  What a treat!  The wolfdogs were still sporting their fluffy winter coats and the absence of green grass and leaves on the trees gave us a different perspective than we had in the summer.  The Sanctuary has taken in more wolfdogs since we were last there, and staff and volunteers have built more enclosures to comfortably house them.

WDSFPNormandeau1Photo courtesy R. Normandeau.
The ravens love to steal the excess treats from the wolfdogs. The birds and wolfdogs are very tolerant of one another…aside from an occasional bit of stink eye.  😉 

We did the interactive tour once again and had a blast feeding and meeting some of the beautiful residents of the Sanctuary, as well as learning more about wolfdogs and the unfortunate reasons a rescue like this is so badly needed.  The highlight of the trip, however, was when the wolfdogs all spontaneously set up a chorus of howling, joining together to sing for us.  My brother was quick on the draw with his cellphone and he generously allowed me to share with you the audiofile he recorded:

Audio courtesy D. Mueller.

So wonderful!  If you’re interested in learning more about – and/or supporting – the work that the Sanctuary does, click here.  If you plan to travel in this part of Alberta, it’s a highly recommended stop – the staff are incredible and it is guaranteed that you will totally fall in love with the wolfdogs. ♥

WDSFPNormandeau2

Alberta snapshot: Death Valley, Sandy McNabb.

DVFPNormandeau

The afternoon of the very same Tuesday I shot that frosty photo of Twin Valley Reservoir (see here), my hubby and I intended to do some snowshoeing at Sandy McNabb, in Sheep River Provincial Park.  The snowshoeing part of that was thwarted by temperatures that had risen to nearly plus 10 degrees Celsius and the accompanying heavy slush on the trail, so we hiked instead (and were grateful for waterproof boots!). The trails at Sandy McNabb were previously unfamiliar to us, but we’ll be back in the summer, for sure! During the winter, most of the trails are designated for cross-country skiing, so snowshoers, hikers, equestrians, and fat-bikers have to be aware of which ones are multi-use.  We chose Death Valley/Death Valley Loop, and despite the ominous moniker, it was an enjoyable, fairly easy 6 kilometre trek through primarily forested area.  We were even fortunate enough to make the distant acquaintance of one of the local residents. So fun!

DVSFPNormandeau

Photo credit: R. Normandeau.

Alberta snapshot: Fullerton Loop (part 2).

 

FL2FPNormandeauAnother photo from our snowshoeing trip to Fullerton Loop, near Bragg Creek, Alberta, a couple of Sundays ago.  The snow and cloudy skies turned the whole world black and white…with just a hint of blue. The silence was magical.