Archive for August, 2012

May 2010 – My first Black Bear viewed safely from the car

You would think that buying bear spray should be pretty straight forward;

1.  Walk into a shop

2.  Pick it up off the shelf

3.  Pay for it

4.  Take it home

No.  Not so simply neddy!

Because I am heading back into the Canadian wilderness, and yes Jak, camping this time in ‘Bear’ country, I thought that it might be an idea for us to have some Bear spray with us, ‘just in case’.  Plus it seems that a number of hiking trails are recommending or requiring you to have Bear spray on you (what happened to simply wearing bells?).

So i decided last night that I should go buy some.  Yes, a naive Aussie out buying Bear spray.

The warning in the USA Rough Guide book…. apparently there is no guarantee of our safety!!

I admit, I thought that it would be a pretty simple task.  Go to Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), buy the spray, come home.  No, it’s a little bit more in depth than that.

Generally I like to wander a store and find things for myself, but after about 3 rounds of MEC, I was beginning to think that they had all sold out.  Finally I found the bells and the Bear spray holsters.  Yey… that means that Bear spray has to be around here somewhere, right?  After searching the racks another 5 minutes I noticed a little sign saying “Looking for Bear spray? Please go to accessories counter”.  Ok, so I’d have to ask after all.

When I asked the sales guy for small canister of Bear spray, he replied ‘I’ll need your membership card and some ID’.

WHAT THE… I was just buying Bear spray wasn’t I?

So ok, I hand over Fi’s MEC membership card and my Australian Drivers License. Fill out the information sheet and in return he explains to me how to release the safety latch, how the safety latch glows in the dark and which direction to point the can if I need to use it.  He also reminds me that it should be easily accessible and not ‘tucked’ into my backpack and that it has a range of about 9 meters.  9 meters.. that is it!! if a bear comes that close I think I’ll be lucky to remember to pull the can out without pooping myself first!

He then proceeded to write the canister number on the information sheet and tells me ‘this canister is now registered in your name’.

Hmm. Ok. so in other words, if for some reason the can is misused (it’s similar to capsicum spray after all) I am liable.. OR did he mean.. if I’m attacked and killed by the bear, they will be able to use the canister number to identify me?  Not feeling really comfortable about owning Bear spray anymore!!

Lets just say that I’m hoping that I don’t come within 9 meters of a bear and definitely don’t have to worry about having to remember how to use the the spray in an emergency.. but most of all I’m hoping that Mum doesn’t read this post until I am safe and sound in Calgary again!!!

My can of Bear Spray…. just like fly spray right??

Here’s really hoping that this can stay’s FULL and I have to hand it into Parks Canada when I’m done!

Certainly hoping that I don’t get as close enough to see teeth like those!!

July 2011 – My second, third, fourth and fifth bears.  Mumma Black Bear and her 3 Cubs

August 2012 – My sixth bear, but my first Grizzly (only a fortnight ago)

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Yep.. I’ve been on the road again.. and honestly yesterday and today I have been struggling to come up with the right words, the right sentences, the right paragraphs to tell you all about it.

I could tell you that the scenery is beautiful, amazing, picture perfect, awesome, unbelievable, spectacular.. honestly.. I could go on and on with every other word in the dictionary to try and describe it, but the truth is, I wouldn’t do it justice.  I wouldn’t even come close, so instead I’ve decided to sit back and let the pictures speak for themselves.. (I just hope this does it justice)

xx N

A picture perfect sunset on Castle Mountain and the Rockies

Excited to be on the road again.. (thanks Fi)

Castle Mountain Reflections

Enjoying the quite evening at Lake Louise (no other tourists.. yay!!)

Moraine Lake

Saturday morning at Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake…. picture perfect.. still, calm.. spectacular

Boats @ Moraine Lake

The road ahead..

Up high on a mountain pass..

Tangle Falls… (thanks Fi!)

Tangle Falls

Spectacular mountains

Rocks at Athabasca Falls

Canyon at Athabasca Falls

Sunlight in the Water Lillies – Entrance to Mount Robson Park, BC

Relaxing at the entrance to Mount Robson Park, BC

How tall is a Moose?? How tall are you? I’m as tall as a 1 year old Moose (Geezzzzzz remind me never to come across one on foot!!)

Every which way there is a mountain…..

Mount Robson, BC

It’s an elk!

Just a couple of random “Pocahontas” miners

A disused mine entrance at the Pocahontas ‘Ghost Town’

breathtaking all the way

Morning at Medicine Lake

Maligne Lake Boat House in the morning mist


Canoe’s on the docks – Maligne Lake

A worker plays her banjo and sings on the dock of the Maligne Lake Boat House …. AWESOME

Maligne Lake

WoW.. Maligne Lake

Getting to know the local’s at Maligne Lake

A perfect morning with the mist rising at Maligne Lake

being attacked by the Maligne Lake Lodge Bear

Just one of the falls in the beautiful Maligne Canyon

Taking a break from the drive – Athabasca Glacier

Simply Stunning.. The Glacier fed waters are AMAZING

Waterfowl Lakes…

Crystal clear waters of Waterfowl lake with the mountain backdrop

Postcard perfect Peyto Lake
(yep.. that’s the one that most of you see in the brochures)

Enjoying the view from the platform at Petyo Lake

Taking a pic of a couple of lads at Peyto Lake, AB

Panoramic view of Peyto Lake

Herbert Lake… anyone that knows me.. and knows my family will know that my dearly beloved brother Jase calls me Herbert or “Herb”.. so it just seemed fitting to have a pic taken with a sign for the lake..

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Found this today.. .and thought it very appropriate.. what are we waiting for!

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If you haven’t guessed I’m a teeny tiny bit partial to a good Rodeo. In fact some of the smaller ones actually provide far better viewing (and photographic) opportunities than the big gig at the Calgary Stampede, while still attracting both quality livestock and highly ranked cowboys and cowgirls.

The Pincher Creek Fair and Rodeo was no different.  Classed as one of Canada’s Pro Rodeo’s and listed on the Canadian Pro Rodeo circuit with a total payout in excess of $41,000, it is contested over 3 days in August and there is certainly plenty of time for highlights, low lights, bone crunching, people watching and enjoying good ole Canadian Country Hospitality.

Obviously the Cluck, Cluck, Run Chicken Races would have been a bonus to see (as per my last post), but I can quite happily say that I enjoyed my day out in the country air and i hope you do too.

(warning, some photo’s may offend)

The Grub Line.. get your tucker here!

A Saddle Bronc rider hangs on

Dreaming.. one day they might just well be out there too

Just like this Cowgirl… a barrel racing competitor rounds the second barrel

Don’t forget your boots!!!

An official looks on while there is a break in proceedings

A Calf Roping competitor prepares his horse before his run

A horse stares as he waits for the calf to be tied

A horse applies it’s breaks so the rider can dismount in one swift motion

Team work. Two calf ropers exchange gear (and horse) so the next competitor can go

A bull rider escapes the arena

pick up men enjoying the afternoon rodeo

Furious and focused, the bull wants him man

x J

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Just a tad excited today to receive notification from ViewBug that one of my photos has been selected by the judges as a community favorite…. I guess that trip to Milk River and Writing on Stone was worth it after all..

Click here to check out my Fences and Barn Photo

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Get up…go to work….come home….eat…..sleep…AND REPEAT!

Daily routine. Perfect weather. Feeling blah?  Whats the best cure:…Yep, a road trip.

A lot has happened these last few months and somewhere between June 1 and now, summer has almost disappeared without a trace.  Trust me, when you are used to an Australian Mallee summer, 3 months of sun and warmth is slightly disappointing, plus experience has taught me that October usually brings Calgary’s first snow fall.  Yep, that’s just over a month away, somewhere in the vicinity of  40 – 50 days … Jeez, really! Why so quick?

So what better way to make the most of what’s left of summer than to hit the road and get out-of-town.

But go where?

There has been so much that I have seen within a day’s drive from Calgary.  The beautiful rocky mountains (they never disappoint), the rolling green foothills or the dry and arid badlands?  Enter the Cluck, Cluck, Run Chicken Run Race. Yep you read it correctly.  It’s amazing what an internet search will provide.

Ok, ok.. I was looking up local rodeo’s in the area and given that we are almost at the end of Rodeo season I wanted to see if there was anyway that I could get to just ‘one last rodeo’ before the season was done… and luck had it that the Pincher Creek Fair and Rodeo was on and yep.. one of their draw cards.. the Cluck, Cluck, Run Chicken Run Race….

The rules and regulations of the Cluck, Cluck, Run Chicken Run Race

And seriously, with rules like that, I think it this type of event has to be seen to be believed.

Thankfully it doesn’t take much for me to convince my housemate/co-pilot/car servant, Fiona to make a roadie with me (after all she doesn’t drive) and luring our friend Rosie in with the chicken race, we hit the road early Sunday morning with an unknown promise in our sights.

Pincher Creek is about a two and a half hour drive south of Calgary, through those magical foothills of the rocky mountains.  Needless to say a Sunday drive along the Cowboy Trail NEVER disappoints.  After a couple of quick stops for ‘perfect’ photo ops, we arrived at the Pincher Creek Rodeo grounds as Cowboy Church was wrapping up under the shade of the trees.

The Crowsnest River plunges over Lundbreck Falls into the pond below

Wooden stairs leading up from the base of the falls

The arch bridge over the Crowsnest River just meters from the falls

The pond at the base of Lundbreck Falls

The rocks were slippery at the base of the falls and I managed to snap this one while the girls took in the sights with the Arched bridge in the background

Me sitting at the base of Lundbreck Falls, AB

The arena was empty save for a single cowgirl and her horse warming up and getting to know the ‘lay’ of the arena in anticipation of their upcoming barrel racing event.  With the Cluck, Cluck, Run Chicken Run race set to commence at 12:30pm and with that time approaching, we were disappointed to learn that there wasn’t enough chicken entries to run the races on Sunday *insert sad face here*, but apparently, thanks to YouTube, this is the excitement that we missed out on Saturday.

To say that we were disappointed with missing the 1st ever Annual Cluck, Cluck, Run Chicken Run Race would be a bit of an understatement. After all I’m pretty sure that there would not be too many Aussie’s that could claim that they had witnessed such a race and alas, now neither can I.

The Arena sits empty in anticipation of the afternoon’s events

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Enjoying another perfect Sunday in the Canadian Foothills @ Lundbreck Falls

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