(Wild)flowery Friday.

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These sweet little yellow columbines (Aquilegia flavescens) make me smile whenever I come across them. This one caught my eye last June while out at Grotto Mountain, and the photo is an absolute bright spot for me on this snowy, blustery day in January.

I hope everyone had a joyful holiday season and that the start of 2017 has been good to you!  I will be taking a hiatus from Flowery Prose at least until the end of January and possibly until mid-February to tackle a bunch of projects…I look forward to catching up with all of you then!

Alberta (historical) snapshot: Mount McGillivray bunker.

Now, this was a fascinating find!  A short (about 2 km, one way) hike west from the Heart Creek parking lot near Canmore, Alberta leads you to this gigantic cave carved out of the base of Mount McGillivray.  My hubby and I headed out there a few weeks ago to check it out.

There is plenty of speculation about the purpose of this huge excavation, but it seems that a private enterprise called The Rocky Mountain Vault and Archive Company started digging it out in the late 1960’s, presumably so that they could rent space to individuals and corporations to store documents (in the event that the Cold War took a nasty turn, perhaps?). You can read more about their ambitious plans for the site here (it was slated to become operational in 1970) – but there doesn’t seem to be any information about why they never finished the project. At any rate, it’s an amazing place to visit (and fortunately, there weren’t any creepy Hallowe’en masks hanging from the ceiling when we went – my heart wouldn’t have been able to handle the fright).

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Looking towards the entranceway from inside the vault.  

Snowshoeing at Hogarth Lakes.

The past couple of weeks have been a bit too cold (understatement) and mostly too busy (also an understatement) to head out to the mountains and strap on the snowshoes – but here’s a look back at a trip my hubby and I took in January.  We’d never been out to Hogarth Lakes before, so the scenery was a real treat for us, even if the skies were grey and snow fell the whole time.  It’s a sheltered spot and there was very little wind (yay!), except for a massive gust at one point when we rounded a corner and the trees blasted powdery flakes down on top of us.

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Hogarth Lakes is a hiking/snowshoeing loop in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, in Kananaskis, Alberta.   We got there by driving south on the Smith-Dorrien Road from Canmore until we reached the Burstall Pass trailhead – the road was in surprisingly good condition that day, considering the snowfall.  Even so, we were reassured by the sight of a snowplough as we headed up towards the parking lot.  Mountain roads…not to be trifled with!

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This short (4.4 km) loop is relatively flat and great for beginners – it would be one families could take their younger children out on, especially if the trail is packed down.  We found a bunch of side trails that looked like fun, but we stuck to the main loop, especially after we were warned by a group who had stopped for refreshments that they had noticed some open water on one of the side trails they took.  Better not to risk it, especially as we aren’t familiar with the landscape.

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Here are a couple of shots of the Spray Lakes Reservoir near Canmore.  I took these photos on our trip back into town after snowshoeing.  You can see the sun had briefly emerged – of course!  🙂

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I would love to see the Lakes in other seasons as well – I’m looking forward to heading out there again.  We’ll definitely be back with the snowshoes!

You can find a link to a map of the Hogarth Lakes Loop here.

Another account of an excursion to Hogarth Lakes can be found by clicking the link in Hiking With Barry’s post 5 Great Snowshoe Trips – Kananaskis.

Mountain walk.

I hope everyone is enjoying the festive season! Have you had a chance to get out and do some gardening? (Weather permitting, of course!). Or perhaps you’ve gone on a nature walk?

My hubby and I attempted to work off some of the holiday cookies on Christmas Day and did a bit of wandering around Canmore and Kananaskis Country. We live less than an hour’s drive from the Rocky Mountains and it is always such a treat to head out there! No matter what time of the year, there’s always something new to see…while I’m especially fond of going on wildflower hunts in the late spring and early summer, you simply cannot beat wintry scenes like this:

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One of my goals for 2013 is to spend even more time outdoors!  Have you made any resolutions yet?

Have the happiest of New Years!  Make every moment count!  🙂