Fly like an Eagle (for real this time)

My last photo featuring a bird had the same title, except it was not actually an eagle. Here you go – let’s try this again.

Taken in Glacier National Park, Montana.

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Top 5: Roads for Cruisin’

I am a big road trip fan, and I always need to be the one behind the wheel (except when driving a manual transmission in Italy – thanks Katie for taking on that job!).

I’ve done a few gorgeous road drive in my day, and I am going to attempt to pick my mostest favoritest ever.

This is going to be hard.

5. Highwood Pass – Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada

I’ve been back and forth on this road a billion times, it feels like. I know it like the back of my hand, I suppose! It was all those early morning and late night drives in search for the perfect grizzly bear to observe.

4. Rogers Pass – TransCanada Highway in B.C., Canada

I didn’t expect much on my way to Revelstoke, B.C.. But this pass was absolutely breathtaking. The wildflowers were the most colourful and widespread I had ever seen!

I wasn’t able to stop and capture my own photo!

3. Going to the Sun – Glacier National Park: Montana, U.S.A.

I’ve completed this drive 3 times now, and I will never, ever get sick of it. It would really be nice to drive it some day when I can actually see the sun peeking through the gloomy clouds. Still – jaw-dropping beauty with all the glaciers, pine trees (ohhh the smells!), and mountain goats.

2. Amalfi Coast – Italy

Zing – jaw dropping scenes and those crazy little towns like Positano hanging off the side of those sheer rock cliffs. Sure, I would move there though!

1. Road to Hana – Maui, Hawaii, U.S.A

WOW – the views! At one spot, there was a very unique tiny town that sold the best banana bread and shave ice. The volcanic rocks and huge crashing waves there were amazing! Once in Hana, we noticed that it was getting late in the day and we had to turn right back around. I was kicking myself for not booking a room there to spend the night (they were full). Try to keep your windows open when you pass the eucalyptus trees – wow! Wow. WOW!

Honourable mentions to Beartooth Highway, the Canadian gold rush route through the Fraser Canyon, the drive from Vancouver to Whistler (Sea to Sky highway), and any driving we did in Italy and Hawaii – there wasn’t a dull scene anywhere!

 

Hike #1 this summer: Carthew-Alderson – Waterton, Alberta

It was a tough decision making this hike my #1 experience this summer while away camping and doing photography for 2 months.

My previous three: Specimen Ridge in Yellowstone, Sulphur Springs in Jasper, and Avalanche Peak in Yellowstone were all spectacular hikes.

But, after I looked over the photographs that were taken on this hike, I figured out that it was not such a hard decision after all.

Here are the dets from the Waterton Park site.

Distance: 18.0 km / 11.1 mi (one-way, transportation needed to or from trailhead)
Time: 6 – 8 hours (plan a full day)
Elevation Gain: 650 m / 2132′

Carthew-Alderson is one of the most beautiful hikes in Waterton Lakes National Park. Enjoy some of the most breathtaking scenery the Canadian Rockies has to offer! This trail winds through the montane, sub-alpine, and alpine zones! From Carthew Summit look east over the peaks to the prairies, and south into Glacier National Park, Montana.

Highlights include a misty walk through one of Waterton Park’s oldest forests, and the pyramidal grandeur of Mt. Alderson. You can take the hike from Cameron Falls in the Townsite to Cameron Lake, or from Cameron Lake to the Falls.

Follow the thick red line!

So come 7:45 am on this beautiful August morning, with coffee in hand (necessity!), we set out with a group of about 10 others in a mini bus from The Tamarak and headed to Cameron Lake to begin this adventure.

As per usual, we began our little competition of making sure we stayed in first place, ahead of the bus load of people that were dropped off with us. A few quick pictures were snapped of the two glacial lakes along the way.

It seemed that everywhere we turned, an amazing, jaw-dropping scene awaited us. So for once, we decided to sacrifice a record time on the hike and take it slowly. We stopped to appreciate all of the various scenes in front of us.

Wowee – look at that!

One of my favorite spots on the hike was an optional side trail to the peak up Carthew Ridge. It had one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. You could see into Montana, and Glacier National Park. You could see all the glacial lakes dotting the landscape and mountain peaks rising from the ground and surrounding you in a awe-inspiring 360 degree view. As my boyfriend was off on one of his frantic searches for wildlife to photograph, I sat atop a rock and enjoyed a peaceful view of the rugged landscape.

Another fav (it was so hard to pick a fav moment) was walking over a ridge of snow that emptied out into a lake. I could actually see the belly of the snowpack from the base of the lake. Ohhh what fun it would be to take my geography students to this area!

Overall, I had to designate this hike as my favorite, over Avalanche Peak in Yellowstone because there were just so many unique, diverse and spectacular views awaiting me with every 10 steps I took.

Almost there! We can see the townsite peaking out from the trees.

Hike #4 Specimen Ridge: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Hike #3 – Sulphur Skyline: Jasper, Alberta

Hike #2 – Avalanche Peak: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Photo: Fly like an eagle.

OR a red tailed hawk.

This was a very rare and spectacular chance to see a hawk in take off mode. It was being pestered by a tiny little guy (looked like a robin?) in Glacier National Park, Montana.

PS – Happy Thanksgiving Canada! Sorry, don’t have a photo of a turkey…

Absolutely idiodic

Watch this video.

It’s a “what not to do when encountering wildlife” video.

Something that I have witnessed, but not to such a degree.

And, what? The father laughs at the end? Don’t worry, Yellowstone is just a circus. You won’t ACTUALLY feel it when the bison gores you and seriously injures or kills your child. THAT IS SARCASTIC by the way.

It’s unbelievable. A few years ago, a child was killed by a bison when the father thought it was an a-ok idea to place his kid on the bison’s back for a good point-and-shoot picture.

Listen to the rangers, the pamphlets, and the signs: STAY 25 YARDS AWAY FROM BISON.

I just talked (rationally) about this a few days ago. Sorry, but this was absolutely IDIOTIC!

By the way, try OnTheWay

I saw this website OnTheWayApp, where you can plug in a road trip start and destination and it will plot “must sees” along the way.

What a great concept, and then I put it into practice.

Last summer, I drove out from Toronto to Yellowstone (Wyoming/Montana) and had probably the greatest tour guide (my boy) directing me to our destination. He has been to Yellowstone every year since he was 10 years old (29 now).

Although he either flew in, or drove in from Vancouver, he still had one of those great childhoods where he and his parents explored as many park as they could when he was growing up.

What I am saying about this new site is – it is great if you have absolutely no clue where to stop and what to eat along your road trip journey.

But when I looked up the route we took last year to Yellowstone, it recommended stopping at a movie theatre in Guelph (been there….it’s a movie theatre), then Limeridge Mall in Hamilton (ummm a mall, with banks, a few clothing stores and a food court), after the mall, it recommended John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario where you could view the OHL hockey team for an evening, if they are playing there that evening…in the fall – spring…then IKEA in Dearborn, Michigan.

It’s a great way to look up malls and arenas as I discovered after looking up alternate road trip destinations.

Really, I despise criticizing anything, but this site is just a google map with a few tagged waypoints.

Great concept, but more people need to ‘write in’ the local must-sees to make this site work.

A bit of history for you, a bit of happiness for me!

On this day in 1872, my favorite National Park was established.

Happy birthday, Yellowstone!

(all pictures are from my adventures last summer in the park)

From history.com:

President Grant signs the bill creating the nation’s first national park at Yellowstone.

Native Americans had lived and hunted in the region that would become Yellowstone for hundreds of years before the first Anglo explorers arrived. Abundant game and mountain streams teaming with fish attracted the Indians to the region, though the awe-inspiring geysers, canyons, and gurgling mud pots also fascinated them.

John Colter, the famous mountain man, was the first Anglo to travel through the area. After journeying with Lewis and Clark to the Pacific, Colter joined a party of fur trappers to explore the wilderness. In 1807, he explored part of the Yellowstone plateau and returned with fantastic stories of steaming geysers and bubbling cauldrons. Some doubters accused the mountain man of telling tall tales and jokingly dubbed the area “Colter’s Hell.”

Before the Civil War, only a handful of trappers and hunters ventured into the area, and it remained largely a mystery. In 1869, the Folsom-Cook expedition made the first formal exploration, followed a year later by a much more thorough reconnaissance by the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition. The key to Yellowstone’s future as a national park, though, was the 1871 exploration under the direction of the government geologist Ferdinand Hayden. Hayden brought along William Jackson, a pioneering photographer, and Thomas Moran, a brilliant landscape artist, to make a visual record of the expedition. Their images provided the first visual proof of Yellowstone’s wonders and caught the attention of the U.S. Congress.

Early in 1872, Congress moved to set aside 1,221,773 acres of public land straddling the future states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho as America’s first national park. President Grant signed the bill into law on this day in 1872. The Yellowstone Act of 1872 designated the region as a public “pleasuring-ground,” which would be preserved “from injury or spoilation, of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, or wonders within.”

For a nation bent on settling and exploiting the West, the creation of Yellowstone was surprising. Many congressmen gave it their support simply because they believed the rugged and isolated region was of little economic value. Yet the Yellowstone Act of 1872 set a precedent and popularized the idea of preserving sections of the public domain for use as public parks. Congress went on to designate dozens of other national parks, and the idea spread to other nations around the world.