The little blog has been quiet as we have been away on our annual wander off into the woods. Until last year, when circumstances forced a different time, and a different mode of travel, we have regularly taken the first two weeks of September to go away. Our modus operandi has changed a bit: no backpacking this year, and for the most part we slept in the van instead of tenting it. This year we were on well trod trails as well. But it was wonderful. The Canadian Rockies are full of travellers over the summer and fall – lots and lots of Germans in their “CanaDream” RV rentals, many other accents and languages greet one on the hikes. After the kids go back to school labour day, well, the majority of walkers seem to have grey hair too. I guess we fit the bill.
Mt. Robson is an icon. What the photo neglects to show is us – nekkid as jaybirds on the sand bar in the sun, having done our daily bath in the river below. Yes, it was that warm! (Not the river, the weather. The river, well, that was a tad chilly. But we are tough, oh yes.) Mt. Robson is one of those peaks that has it’s own weather, and the summit is frequently engulfed in cloud. We had it to view for three days in a row. Auspicious.
We hit lots of high points – literally and figuratively. The national park system is pretty well regulated so we were rarely completely on our own. That van, though, it does give us some opportunities to explore. At the Fryatt Valley trailhead we got to meet these two – mother and baby, though baby is clearly growing up a bit. Mutual curiosity!
I have a deep love and respect for bears. There is a growing body of literature that speaks to their intelligence and adaptability. Their much feared ferocity may be a result of the so often tragic human/animal collision. Certainly our experience hiking has always been very positive. To be clear – we are responsible types, hang our food, use common sense and don’t put ourselves in the way of the animals we share space with. I can sing loudly on the trail, which certainly seems to scare off most things! Interestingly, growing up in bear country we didn’t have problems. I think my parent’s habit of keeping the farm clean and not having temptations around for bears like garbage or food scraps helped. A bit of my heart breaks when I hear about bears being shot because they have been acclimated to humans and thus become a risk. I have also never forgotten the events of our first year on the farm up north, having to stay in the house until the grizzly who had killed a man was found. According to family lore, the grizzly turned on the man hunting it. It was an old and starving bear which was close to ranch land. I only remember not being allowed to play outside, and a hazy memory of a group of men with rifles.
From our evening walk above the Icefields Parkway. We followed an old trail above our campground and sat to watch the sun lower. Something else eh?
Besides the bear and a few deer we didn’t see a lot of wildlife. I started to snort whenever I saw the signs indicating mountain sheep or elk. Not a one to be seen. I don’t think it was just me, I heard others complaining. Maybe it was the warm weather. Campgrounds stayed open later and it seemed there were more travellers on the road too – any sensible wildlife was likely headed upwards and onwards. So much for my second career as a wildlife photographer. Not this trip.
But season of the squirrel? Hundreds of the them!
Chattering, yelling, dropping pine cones on us, territorial – busy. This was our dawn chorus and evensong. Even the birds seemed to take a back seat.
In terms of knitting, well, it is hard to knit in the van when the scenery is so stunning. Part of a pair of socks, maybe to be photographed later. Now we are home and the loom is warped, and a number of cooler weather projects are beckoning. These can wait for another post.