Photo – Wait for meeee!

This bighorn sheep is staring off into the distance at his 12 other companions that picked up shop and left into the rocky hills at Maligne Lake Road in Jasper, Alberta.

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R.I.P. Sir Elk

It’s been such a wonderful summer.

So many fabulous wildlife adventures and photographs taken, a ‘new’ camera inherited (story to come soon), and countless amazing meals eaten along the beaten trail.

I am so sad that it is coming all to an end…BUT not just yet.

There is this brief hiatus in Vancouver babysitting my boyfriend’s parents dog while they are off on an amazing African adventure. After that stop, we are on the road again.

This time, it’s not through the states, but through the quirky Trans Canada Highway en route back to Toronto. Instead of the 2 loooooong driving days to Yellowstone from Toronto, we are taking 9 – 10 days to slowly working our way back across Canada via some interesting Canadian historical sites (eg. The last spike, the burial ground of Louis Riel…).

BUT I must share a very brief and very sad short story with you that has been casting a gloomy cloud over my head, despite a very sunny and warm Vancouver, and a very excitable and heart warming dog to babysit.

There I was in Jasper, Alberta among a huge crowd of people photographing one of three amazing bull elks with crazy racks that I have now known for three years. Ps, a side note – I’ve been learning all the innate wildlife talk – it could have gotten more technical than that 🙂 more technical than ‘crazy racks’.

These elk were so docile and accommodating to the throngs of people, young and old…in their faces snapping off photos with flash, yelling, running in front of them, stalking them, attempting to feed them…you name it. I was impressed, yet again this summer, and so happy to see these stunning elk so healthy after three years running.

The morning we were set to leave Jasper, just 3 days ago, we were stopped to photograph a black bear with one cub on the Icefields Parkway when a motorcycle stopped beside us and gave my boyfriend some very saddening news.

This one guy from the three bull elks (the smaller one as he is known) had just been hit and killed by a transport truck on the Yellowhead Highway where we always see him.

It was heartbreaking and so damn frustrating and it has kept me heavy hearted ever since I heard the news.

R.I.P.

Putting the Bear into Bern…

Ok, I’ve been saving one of my favourite Swiss cities…  but I must finally share it.  In fact, it is not secret in the least – it is the very capital of Switzerland!  Yes, I am talking about the beautiful city of Bern.  Anyone who has visited me in Switzerland has been taken to this city, because it is a city I never tire of visiting – it is strikingly beautiful, culturally and historically interesting, and with great food and shopping – what more could you want?  At the same time it is a small city, and the historic part of the city is easy to visit in a day.  And, of course, there are THE BEARS.  That’s right, the namesakes of the city are still kept right in the city.

The story goes that the Duke who settled the city of Bern wanted to name the city after the first animal he found in the forest that he cut down to create the city, which of course was a bear.

Bern also has a link to Einstein, and you can visit Einstein Haus, where Einstein worked and filed his first patent.

Here are some of my own photos of the city and its bears:

Bern, and the Aare River

Another shot of the city, crouched in the right-hand side of the picture.

One of my favourite spots in Bern – the market chessboard. This spot is always busy, and there is always an intense match going on, with many on-lookers.

Window shopping in Bern – possibly the largest Swiss army knife in existence? Note the price tag (oh yes, you can buy this): a whopping 1200 francs! 🙂 Is it possible this knife has a fold-out maid that will clean my apartment for me?

Bear…with onlookers! Yes, there are often many people here to see the bears. They are now in their new “bear park” – I will leave the discussion of whether or not it is humane to keep them there out of this blog, but the question does remain…

Frolicking in the water…

I’m sure my lovely blogger host will soon trump this post with actual pictures of bears in the wild, but this is the best you’ll get in her absence… 🙂  But perhaps it will satisfy the wildlife cravings out there.
Happy Friday,

northkate

 

 

 

 

 

The home stretch!

Oh my goodness ‘northkate’ is AMAZING!

I am in the home-stretch of my summer camping/driving adventure, 2012, fresh into Vancouver, B.C. at my boyfriends parents house for a little bit of ‘luxury’ (aka – shower, mattress AND linens, and a coffee maker).

Before I even get into anything from my summer thus far (3 weeks to go!), I need to re-read for the tenth time this evening, the AMAZING, spectacular, thoughtful, entertaining, superbly written, and educational posts written by my dear friend northkate.

Who wants to move to Switzerland asap and experience a teeny bit of what she has been exploring there?

I cannot thank her enough for all the spectacular posts she has written. I am now going to push her (quite forcefully) to continue posting.

If not on my blog, then her own. I think she is such a remarkable person and has quite a lifetime full of travel experience in her very young years to create her own blog.

Wouldn’t you all agree?!

Thank you so much again k.

Stay tuned for an influx of a billion wildlife photos, hiking adventures and oddities discovered along the long winding roads.

Grindelwald – not just a character in Harry Potter

Hello again!
It has been a long break, but moving to Geneva has occupied my time in a big way, recently.  In any case, I thought I’d highlight a place in Switzerland I got the chance to visit a second time this summer, causing me to fall head-over-heels for it one more time:  Grindelwald.

Grindelwald

In the above picture you can see that Grindelwald is a mountain village, situated in a valley in the Alps.  The hiking in this area is fabulous, and there are also numerous cable cars and little red mountain trains that you can take as well – the typical Swiss experience!  The town itself is very pretty – slightly on the touristy side, but I find it still retains its charm.  The mountains dominate the landscape, and these are not just any mountains.  The three largest are none other than the Eiger (one side of which is the North Face), the Monch, and the Jungfrau.  If you feel like forking out the dough, you can take a train from Grindelwald to the “JungfrauJoch”, which is the highest train station in Europe – situated on a high pass between the Jungfrau and Monch.

This was the view from our hotel window – I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Here are a couple shots from hikes and train rides around the area.

The path…

Glacier

Alpen flowers – so pretty!

Thistle close-up

The Three Sisters (in the background): Eiger (North Face), Monch, Jungfrau

If you come in the wintertime, you are in skiing heaven – and also not far from Wengen, which hosts the World Cup slalom ski race if I’m not mistaken.

If you take a short (breathtakingly gorgeous) train ride from Grindelwald, you pass through Wengen and end up in Lauterbrunnen.  This is a village that seems unreal – it has a huge waterfall (Staubbach falls) right above it.

Lauterbrunnen

For those in Canada, I hope you enjoyed your August long weekend.  Have a great week,

northkate