Tourists

I really enjoy the part of camping and hiking where I can get off the path of most resistance (aka throngs of tourists in the way) and hike to an area where you MAY see another living being, but more likely you will see a bear.

Anyway, I was reminded that, when I am a tourist, I cannot complain about them. I must embrace them and be one with them. Check out Peyto Lake on the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper:

The shot – taken in 0.0001 seconds, not framed, or tripod-ed and standing on the wooden railing while my boyfriend hung on to my legs for support

The chaos behind the shot

Wait until I show you some of the views from my hikes. There is no chaos behind the scenes. It’s just another gorgeous and peaceful shot waiting to be taken.

Sigh.

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Photo – Look ma, I can read!

Medicine Lake – Jasper, Alberta

I caught this big horn baby behind me as I was attempting to take a few photos of his/her mom. It was hilarious, this little guy spent about 5 minutes looking on at the information board as if he was reading about how his home was created.

Just so you don’t feel left out, this is what the little guy is reading about:

Medicine Lake, Jasper

During the summer, glacier melt waters flood the lake, sometimes overflowing it. In fall and winter the lake disappears, becoming a mudflat with scattered pools of water connected by a stream. But there is no visible channel draining the lake – so where then does the water go?

The answer is, “out the bottom”, like a bathtub without a plug. The Maligne River pours into the lake from the south and drains out through sinkholes in the bottom. The water then streams through a cave system formed in the slightly soluble limestone rock, surfacing again in the area of Maligne Canyon 16 kilometers downstream. This is one of the largest known sinking rivers in the Western Hemisphere and may be the largest inaccessible cave system anywhere in the world!

Summer melt water coming into the lake exceeds the capacity of the sinkholes to drain it. Decreased melt water in the late summer and fall means that the lake’s sinkholes can drain the lake faster then the Maligne River can fill it. This creates the disappearing lake phenomena. Aboriginal peoples called the lake Medicine because of its seemingly magical powers, and the United Nations created the Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site partly because of this unique drainage system.

Parks Canada

Now you know!

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.