Alberta snapshot: Upper Kananaskis Lake hike.

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This gnarled/gnarly (!) tree stump was posed dramatically in the middle of a massive rock slide area that we crossed on a recent hike around Upper Kananaskis Lake. If you find yourself with a few hours to kill in Kananaskis Country, this is the hike to do – it’s 16 kilometres of incredible scenery and diverse landscapes that are not to be missed.  As a bonus, the elevation gains are minimal so if your knees are a muddled mess like mine, you can still nicely manage.  And there are TWO waterfalls!  Truly difficult to top.

Aaaaaaand then the stump got me thinking about gardening (well, pretty much everything does so that’s not a huge stretch)…and specifically, wildlife and naturescape gardens and stumperies.  I haven’t seen too many designed/planted stumperies in the city, but there is a fantastic one at the Ellis Bird Farm in Lacombe, Alberta that wowed me when I saw it a few years ago. What are your thoughts on converting leftover (dead) tree parts to garden elements? Have you ever done it? If so, how did you go about creating your design?

Flowery Friday.

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I wonder how much soil is under that rock?  I’m guessing, not much.  And I’m not showing it in this photo, but there was snow clinging to the rocks just southeast of where I was standing.  In July.  This common willowherb (Epilobium ciliatum), a close relative of the (ahem!) even more common fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium*, also known as rosebay willowherb), is a mountain plant with heaps of beauty AND brawn.

*In another case of Nomenclature Gone Wild, fireweed was previously known as Epilobium angustifolium.  I can’t yet find an explanation as to why the genus name was changed for this plant and not for common willowherb…but I’ll keep digging.

Alberta snapshot: Wintour snowshoe.

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Amazing views, bright sunshine, and perfect crystalline snow made this snowshoeing trip to the winter road in Kananaskis a few weekends ago a real treat.

 

Alberta snapshot: Cat Creek Falls.

Another hidden gem in Kananaskis…although the drive to get here and back took us about three hours from where we live in Calgary, this short hike (just under 4 kilometres round-trip) culminates in a special treat.

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Alberta snapshot: Prairie View Trail.

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The result of a fun afternoon hike in Kananaskis my hubby and I did back in April.  The peak in the foreground is Mt. Baldy, overlooking the amazing blue water of Barrier Lake. This is a great hike for beginners or parents with older kids (or experienced hikers who want to blaze through in a couple of hours or less). The only significant elevation change occurs shortly after you’ve hit the first lookout. While we encountered only three cyclists at this early date, Prairie View is apparently a popular mountain biking trek, so everyone has to share the trail during the peak season.

Alberta snapshot: Mount Black Prince and Warspite Lake.

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Mount Black Prince with Warspite Lake in foreground, Kananaskis Country – snowshoe trek on 6 February 2016.  Venturing across the lake would have been too risky due to avalanches.  

Absolute majesty.

Snowshoeing West Bragg Creek: Snowshoe Hare.

A couple of snaps from a snowshoeing trek on a Chinook-cloudy, balmy day in West Bragg Creek two weeks ago.  The Snowshoe Hare loop is about 5.5 kilometers long, quite hilly, and treed nearly the entire way.  It’s not quite as scenic as the nearby Snowy Owl trail (which we snowshoed last year), but it’s a bit more of a workout.  There wasn’t much snow out there at the time, and the trail was pretty compacted from the heat and the traffic.  Wandering around out there that day, it rather felt like spring was near….

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