This amazing natural area just outside of Calgary is one of my favourite places to visit – the views are incredible in any season and in any type of weather. The Rocky Mountains to the west, rolling grasslands in the south and east, and even a view of the city’s downtown when you gaze north – it’s all eye candy from the trails, and depending on the time of year, you’ll catch a myriad of wildflowers in bloom, numerous bird species, and maybe even some wildlife (we’ve seen moose and deer, and a few small mammals such as squirrels). I took this photo about three weeks ago, when the aspens were just leafing out and their foliage had that brand-new-straight-out-of-the-package brilliant yellow-green colour and the snow pack was still high on the mountains (that actually hasn’t changed much – the peaks remain pretty white).
This is one of my favourite not-Rocky-Mountain (!) views from the top of the lookout hill at the Cross Conservation Area, a nature preserve southwest of the Calgary city limits. I took this photo on 14 December of 2017 (still adjusting to that being last year!). At that point, the weather was dry and warm and completely lacking in snow, which is a bit rare (although not unheard of) for us. We were promptly walloped with frigid temperatures and significant snowfall over the holiday season, but we certainly haven’t had anything to complain about in the face of the much more significant and devastating recent weather events in other parts of the world.
The autumn-sunlit seed heads of Clematis occidentalis, growing wild among the aspens at the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area south of Calgary, Alberta: so fascinating!
“Look up…waaaay up.”
Definitely dating myself here. Back in the *mumble mumble*ties we had a really sweet children’s program here in Canada (and in some parts of the States) called The Friendly Giant. In the very special intro to the show (watch here), Friendly, played by Bob Homme, would call the viewers to the castle where he lived with his friends, Rusty the rooster and Jerome the giraffe. There was always music and a story. I didn’t realize it until reading about it recently, but apparently much of the show was completely ad-libbed by Homme, and Rod Coneybeare, the puppeteer who worked with Rusty and Jerome. (You can really see that in the segment of the episode presented in the clip I’ve linked to). I think it’s a rare Canadian – of a certain vintage, that is! – who looks back on The Friendly Giant without affection.
What were your favourite TV shows as a child?
A quick shot from a not-snowshoeing trip my hubby and I took on the weekend out to Cross Conservation Area – you can see that our Chinook winds have been doing a fine job of eating all the snow we had earlier in the year. One fun part of hiking or snowshoeing Cross in the wintertime is that you get to share the land with a huge herd of grazing cattle – but of course it means you have to be extra-careful about where you place your feet! ;
Happy Monday! I can’t believe it’s already the 20th of January…the first month of 2014 is flying by! My hubby and I managed to get out and soak up some sunshine on Friday afternoon at the Cross Conservation Area, just south of the city limits (you’ll remember me writing about previous walks in January of last year and again in September). We really regretted that we hadn’t brought our snowshoes, as the crusty deep snow was a bit of a slog with boots on. Last year when we went around this time, the informal pathways were more defined, with less accumulated snow. Oh well, the extra exercise was definitely good for me – I think I’m still packing around all that holiday baking! 😉
All this sun and the steadily increasing daylight hours are definitely putting me into a gardening frame of mind…I placed a couple of orders for various herb seeds last week, and all the important dates (meetings, bed clean-up, maintenance days) for the community garden are now inked onto my calendar. I just harvested some fenugreek microgreens (YUM!) and I’ll put up some basil this week – I haven’t grown as many MG this winter as I usually do and I miss them. It’s nearly time to start the ground cherries, too…maybe this is the year I will finally have success with them.
Enjoy your week! What projects (gardening or otherwise) do you have lined up for the next little while?
(If you want to read a bit about the history of the Cross Conservation Area, I’ve written a post about it here).
There’s not much winter interest going on in my flowerbeds right now…there’s a nice homogenous blanket of snow, though! Ah, when will spring ever arrive? 🙂
A few days before we received another massive dump of the white stuff, my hubby and I managed to get out for a hike at the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area, located southwest of the Calgary city limits. Donated by Sandy Cross (son of A.E. Cross, one of the founding members of the world-famous Calgary Stampede) and his wife Ann to the Province of Alberta in 1987 and 1996, this wildlife preserve consists of 4,800 acres of prairie land in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
View from one of the outlooks at the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area. (Photo credit: R. Normandeau)
The Area is carefully managed to minimize the impact of its users on the land and on the animals that inhabit it – it is necessary to prebook hikes online in advance and pay a small day use fee upon arrival. You cannot cross-country ski and no dogs are allowed on the property. (You also have to park your vehicle in a separate lot and walk in).
As always, what strikes me about hiking in the winter is the way everything stands out against the snow. Animal tracks and leavings, moss and lichens, the stubble of fescue, tufts of hair caught on a barbed wire fence…these are all things you might miss in the green riot of spring and summer.
(Photo credit: R. Normandeau)
We believe this patch of hair belongs to one of the many head of cattle that are currently winter grazing on the property. (Photo credit: R. Normandeau)
(Photo credit: R. Normandeau)
Do you like the term “winter interest” (with or without snow) in regards to landscape design? Is it something you consider in your own garden?