Monday, August 31, 2009

All it needs are a few unicorns and a castle

This looks like the cover off some fantasy novel less unicorns and a grave looking man with a sword and a beautiful woman with hair curling to her knees astride a dainty, but feistly looking mare in a dress that is even more beautiful than she is or would be if it wasn't torn and dirty from travel.

I need to get my head back in the real world.

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FIreweed on the Mountainside or roadsite

I can't figure where my other pictures from the sunset are. I can't even say where this was taken. Its been a crazy weekend, but a nice one. I've seen the firetruck rolling full tilt with lights and sirens going full tilt. This afternoon it pulled up and parked right outside of my window, but I'm not sure why. It stayed for nearly an hour. We weren't evacuated, so probably it wasn't this building.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009


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The sunset on the night of the graduation was awesome. There were lots of kids playing out by the lake. I'm off to take pictures shortly... so look for more posts to follow.
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Glancing Back at Summer

Autumn is coming to the tundra - although the last few days have been warm and glorious (by tundra in late August standards). Here is the last photo I took out west...... do views get more perfect? The shot is taken in Canmore looking across the Bow River at a mountain that I'm sure I should know the name of, but my mountain ID skills aren't very good.

Today is a special day here. It is the grade 12 graduation where we honour our students with the persistance and work ethic to complete their high school diplimo. This year, there are 9 wonderful kids who have achieved this honour and they along with several staff members, family members and community members have been hard at work organizing themselves for 2 days of celebration. They are awesome people and I wish them all the best on their future plans. Its much neater this year now that I actually know some of the graduates. I'm very excited to see them cross the stage later this afternoon.

Congratualations all of you!!!

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Monday, August 24, 2009

and time stopped...

Same tern... the first I think that I've seen. What an amazing bird to watch!!
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Tern Around

There is an unheard music about birds in flight, especially moments like this trapped in the pixals of my camera. Such beauty and grace that most humans only dream of....
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Sunday, August 23, 2009

August Tundra View

Last post for today... this was taken a bit later after the sun came out :D - I don't think the picture even does the beauty of the land justice. You'll just have to trust me.. the tundra is an amazing place to be...
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Tundra Surreal

Well, I guess I better show an overall view of the amazing world around me.
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Brelupper continues

I guess the hare figured that the chilly wind meant that eating now was more important that watching and entertaining a human, so he dug in literally.... and started chomping on the ground and vegetation. He did a neat digging thing with his front paws... there was something oddly catlike about him.
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1502 posts

Here is the 1502 post... wow!! That is a lot of pictures over the years.

After watching me take his picture for a few moments our hare-friend decided to stretch and come a little closer.
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Hare I am!!

This probably was the highlight of the morning (as I can garentee that it wasn't that pleasent 75 minutes I spent convincing a certain financial institution that I could not pick up any paperwork at my nearest branch as there was no road access and I'm not planning to visit the nearest branch any time in the next few months save for a few minutes to switch planes perhaps - there was a marginally reasonable solution to this long phone call - but it was a painful start to the morning - I do actually live in the middle of nowhere - seriously)

Highlight - Snowshoe Hare - 4 ft from me - see above for details :D
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Dryopteris fragrans

I officially declare these ferns my new favourites - I like them even more than maiden hair ferns or oak ferns. (A girl has to have her fern priorities straight) Not only are these ferns stunning and interesting to look at, they have to be incredibly tough to survive what they do...
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Cranberries in a Crevice

I ran away briefly to the tundra beyond the end of "progress" with a fellow biologist. In fact we were quite close to the "centre of the universe" (aka - the geographical center of Canada). At first the light was that wicked mix of sun and cloud with dramatic skies type, giving way to the more general - blue skies with neat clouds type. We did a bit of berry tasting... I'm still not a big fan of crowberry, but I do enjoy blueberries and cranberries.

The temperature was only 7 degrees and the wind was cold. I actually hauled out long johns, toque and mitts and was glad to have them. With temperatures dipping into the 0 to -1 range - it'll be a short time before the tundra turns from shades of yellow and green to a bright and fiery red and then brown and finally the brief blast of vegetation will be buried under a blanket of snow until June.

Winter is coming and coming soon - even if people are still cranking the AC in other parts of the country.
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Maligne Lake on a Rainy Day

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Paintbrush on the Mountainside

I think the highlight of my camping trip was probably the hike up into the Cavell Meadows on Mount Edith Cavell. It was probably one of the first places I ever hiked in the mountains, which makes it special for me. I should see if I can find pictures from 1998 - it was raining the day we were there - I have a picture of my best friend E. in a rainbow sweater standing on a bridge. It was also there that we saw one of the most impressive displays of northern lights I've ever seen. I don't know that we did the meadow's hike that day, but I know that we did when I went back in 2001 with my family. The day we were up there, it was warm, sunny and the flowers were just so vivid that it blew me away. Its nearly impossible to capture their glory with a camera. An alpine meadow needs to be appreciated as a whole. The paintbrush was every shade of red from orangy-yellow to pink to crimson to scarlet.

It doesn't seem to me that there is as much fireweed in town here this year, compared to last. People have said that its been a much colder summer. I'll have to find some time to go for a walk some evening. I haven't made it up to the graveyard yet. Tomorrow is the big first day, and I'm looking forward to it as I'm pretty sure that I have the best job in the entire world, biased as I might be. My life seems to be full of twists and turns and right now I don't think I could be much more happy. So thank you to the forces of the world for guiding me through all the backroads and valleys to this particular peak. The view is... well even nicer than the picture above.
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Things you don't expect in the middle of the Tundra

Yesterday I was lucky to get a tour of the Meadowbank Mine 76 km more or less north of Baker Lake. It was the first time that I got to see much of the land. Whitehills Lake is particularly beautiful and we saw some incredible Caribou en route. We also saw some things that you might not expect to see.

In particular this crazy metal dome rising shining from the tundra - gleaming like some giant place of worship maybe a cathedral or even a mosque... (Giant Mosque on the Tundra). Its actually going to be an ore storage facility and the choice of a dome had a great deal to do with tundra winter windspeeds as opposed of aestetics, but it does leave me feeling a bit awed especially gleaming in the sun under such an amazing blue sky.....

The second amusing thing for me to see, having recently returned from the more mountainous part of Canada was the "Tundra Switchback" complete with gear down advice..... :D I wish I had a picture of that sign.

The tour started with a delicious lunch and took us a lab, a site tour, an engineering presentation and their geology lab. I learned a lot that will hopefully in the Geology/Mining parts of my teaching. The bus ride took us through beautiful territory, but it was definately a bit jarring - so my hats off to the employees that make the trip regularly. I was able to get a good chunk of sock knit en route, and the weather was sunny and beautiful.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Glacier in the clouds

Brr... it was chilly at the bottom of this hill as the cold wind swept down and I wished that I hadn't been forced to change into shorts at an earlier stop.

Even when the weather wasn't delivering sun, the clouds that it delivered (and random boughts of torrential rain) were entertaining and made for neat photographs.

Today is moving day... I'm packing.... or at least I should be.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

They have Tuktu here too!

Today marks my last day in the mountains.... assuming that the storms in the centre of the universe don't leave me "stranded". I'm sad to leave, but I'm looking forward to going north and taking lots of pictures of fireweed and the tundra in the fall and keeping this blog fed on a variety of photos - look for lots more from the mountains.

The next 72 hours are going to be insane, but I think I'm mostly packed, so aside from a last run to the evil walmart for Dill Pickle popcorn seasoning and another package of sport socks and probably some other thing that I remember that I need up north and have forgotten....

The mountains have been wonderful. There has been an ample supply of wonderful viewscapes, black coffee, bannock, wildlife sitings and trails to hike. Its very nice to have a good friend in the mountains - especially one that actually likes playing outside. This galloping tuktu was munching lichen in the Cavell Meadows and litterly ran past us with only a few meters to spare. I think it might just have been the most gloriously healthy lookig Caribou I've ever seen.

Over and out for now..... I have many miles to cover in the next 3 days, but then I should be back for my regularly unscheduled posts :D.


So, enough
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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Morraine Lake

The weatherman threatened 4 days of rain and cold, but delivered 2 perfect days of heat and sun, a nice misty sun-cloud mix and a mostly sunny day with some stormy clouds for interest. I highly recommend the Wabasso Campground in Jasper, if you don't mind things being a bit rustic. It was quiet and away from the highway and interesting landscape for sure... I have to run for now.. but I took 627 photos, so lots more to follow I promise.
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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Incoming Weather

So... the good weather has been chased out by clouds... here is a doozy of a storm threatening the dry and happy campers at Bow Valley Provincial Park. I'm sitting inside with fleece and wool socks and hoping for a bit more warmth.... I still have some serious hiking to do and some serious pictures to take.

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Cliff Snag

This is another shot from Cougar Creek on the way back to the parking lot. The snag is huge and you have to wonder how it manages to stay attached to the cliff... I wonder if it will be there next year.
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wee little critter by Cougar Creek

The weather in the west has taken a turn for the cold and wet it seems (a whole week of rain and cold is forcast - but I'm hoping that they are wrong as usual). This little guy was photographed on a nice, warm, sunny day.
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Monday, August 03, 2009

Dragon Near a Mountain

This lady was dipping her back end into the water at various intervals - we suspect that it was possibly to lay eggs....
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