29 September 2007
September 8, 2007
Well, for crying out loud! There wasn’t a lot of sleep going on around here last night. About two o’clock this morning the heater blower came on and all it was blowing was freezing cold air. Not that cold air bother’s me so much. Mom got up and started trying to figure out what the heck was going on. I could hear her mumbling about the heater being broken. She finally drug out the old manual and discovered that when the temperature goes below freezing outside the electric heater doesn’t work and you have to switch to gas. I sure wish she would get this stuff figured out. I need my beauty sleep! Finally, at about 2:30 it was lights out again.
After the evenings follies we didn’t get off to a very early start. When we did head out it was to the Geraldine Lakes. The trail is down near Athabasca Falls on 93A. The trailhead is about 5 miles in on a single track, dirt road. The first Geraldine Lake is about 1.5 miles up the mountain. It really wasn’t worth the climb. There is a big waterfall at the far end. We tried to get to it but threw in the towel after scrambling over boulders for a time and concluding we were never going to get close enough to for any kid of a photo. Mom read in a hiking book that the Geraldine Lakes beyond are pretty cool but it was more scrambling up the mountain over rocks and boulders so we decided to pass. Well, mom decided, I woulda done it! As it was, mom took a pretty good flier coming down the mountain. She slipped on a wet tree root and planted her behind right in the mud! She did take a bunch of photos of native plants. She loves plants and stuff you find in the forest.
Our next stop was Horseshoe Lake. The lake is only about a five-minute walk from the highway but it’s quite pretty. It was kind funny really because we had just slogged up this muddy trail to the first Geraldine for not much of a site and here was this very beautiful lake practically on the road. Of course, there isn’t much serenity here for that very reason. Apparently, lots of people come to this lake to jump off the rocks. Yikes! I wouldn’t like that. I like cold but I’m not all that fussy about water. Humans sure can be nutty!
We headed back to the campground. I stayed outside and held court on the picnic table. I don’t know what mom was doing probably some editing. After awhile some elk came wandering by and I made quite the ruckus and had to come in. That was the end of my day.
Until next time ....
27 September 2007
September 7, 2007
Well, we finally had a morning without mishap. The only problem was it was raining and the mountains were shrouded in clouds. We took off at 7:00 am anyway. Our first idea was to go to Edith Clavell Meadow. Unfortunately, the higher we went the more rain and clouds we ran into. We went as far as the hostel, turned around and went back down the mountain. Turns out dogs can’t go there right now anyway as they are doing some kind of Caribou reclamation project. They didn’t want my kind disturbing them. It seems wolves are caribou natural predators and dogs remind them of wolves. That being the case, imagine the impression I would make! That’s ok. We respect that sort of thing totally.
We headed on down 93A and came across a big bull elk fording the
Athabasca River. Thanks to poor lighting conditions, and me, mom didn’t get any keeper photographs. She misses more shots thanks to my irrational exuberance. As soon as she rolled down the window I tried to jump out while making a pretty impressive racket. I don’t mean to do it. I just can’t seem to control myself when I see wildlife. I just want to get after it and completely forget my manners.
A little farther down the road the same thing happened again only this time it was a pair of wolves, one tawny and one black. The tawny was huge and wore a radio collar. The black was much smaller and I couldn’t tell if it had a collar or not. Anyway, I repeated my performance trying to jump out the window and screeching my lungs out. I thought mom was going to strangle me. The thing is, I’m usually in a crate but Shadow is too small so I’m just in the backseat. As soon as a window goes down I’m there. I know mom’s windmill of a mind is working overtime on a solution. I hope it isn’t too awful. I really am sorry but I seriously can’t help myself. Anyway, I thought these guys might be cousins or something. I wanted to get their attention!
We continued on down 93A. Mom was not a happy camper. We stopped at Athabasca Falls. The place was crawling with tourists and it was raining. I got left in the car while mom went to check it out. Bummer.
We then headed back north on the Icefields Parkway (93) and stopped at a spot where they launch white water rafts on the Athabasca River. We walked along the riverbank for about an hour. Mom took some photos of mushrooms and stuff and a little animal mom later identified it as a pine marten. After that we called it a morning. Went back to the campground, ate lunch and took a siesta.
Around two thirty we hit 93 South again. It was still mostly cloudy. We headed for The Valley of the Five Lakes. This is a really neat place to hike. We got rained on some but we also had some sunny moments. The trail is well traveled but since we were there later in the day there were not very many people around. The five lakes, which apparently don’t have names just numbers, are crystal clear and some have that incredible green/blue/turquoise color. We spent about three hours hiking around these lakes and I think mom may have gotten one or two photographs that met her standards. This was especially good, as she gets a little cranky when she doesn’t get any photos that light her candle, so to speak. ☺
That’s about it for this day. Hope the weather is better tomorrow.
Until next time ...
25 September 2007
September 06, 2007
We got up bright and early to be on our way to Jasper. But, Shadow did it to us again. This time the battery was dead. At first, mom thought it was because she had left the key in the unlocked position, even though she had disconnected everything else. We looked all over the park for help but no one was awake. We finally found one big bus with some lights on and knocked. A lady appeared in her robe. We were very sorry to disturb her. In the brief conversation it dawned on mom that there was nothing wrong with Clementine so we could drive to a gas station, which we did. Only problem was they didn’t do anything but sell gas. They sent us off to an auto mechanic but when we got there we found it had gone out of business. We spied some kind of Canadian government office and went in. They weren’t allowed to jump batteries but let us use the phone to call AAA. The nearest tow company was in Banff so we waited around for an hour and a half. It took the guy exactly 20 seconds to start Shadow with a portable battery charger. Sheesh! We should have one of those things. We were finally off at 10:30. That little adventure cost us about two hours.
After mom got done beating herself up for being so stupid she realized that probably the reason the battery went dead was because we hadn’t driven Shadow for several weeks and then we hooked that braking thing up and it just sapped what was left of the juice. It may explain the trouble we had yesterday. The battery was just giving up.
It’s a beautiful drive up the up the Ice Fields Parkway to Jasper. Many say it's the most beautiful drive in the world and I certainly wouldn't argue. But, it was cloudy and rainy most all of the way. We made a quick stop at Bow Lake and an even quicker stop at the Columbia Ice Fields. That old glacier is getting very tired looking and is not the least bit photogenic. We stopped long enough to start Shadow and let her run ten minutes just in case.
We pulled in to the Whistler campground in Jasper at about 2:30 pm. Thank goodness we had reservations because the place was sold out except for dry camping sites. We got a really nice spot. Mom got us all set up in about an hour and we took off for a hike. We drove up 16 to the Maligne Lake turnoff and went to the “sixth bridge” trail which is at the confluence of the Athabasca and Maligne rivers. There are number of pretty little trails to follow in this general area. We took #7, which follows the Maligne.
After a couple of hours of walking we called it a day. Before going to our campsite we went to check out the other side of the campground and found a great big old bull elk and a couple of cows. Mom, naturally, pulled out her trusty Nikon and fired off a few shots!
That was our day, this day. Looking forward to tomorrow. I know I’m going to get to hike!
Until next time….
23 September 2007
September 05, 2007
We got off to a little later start then we had planned. Don’t tell her I said so but mom is still pretty green when it comes to this RV stuff. We were pretty much on time until it came to hooking up Shadow. Mom cut her finger trying to get one of the safety cables hooked up. There was blood flying everywhere. The problem turned out to be that you have to hook the cable up before the lights or the hook won’t fit past the lock on the hitch pin. Guess she knows now!
Shadow can be a real pain in the rump, as troubles with her were not done for the day. Shadow has to have this braking system (Even Brake) and it never seems to work right. We got just inside Kootenay National Park and pulled over by a nice creek for a quick bite. As soon as we did the braking light came on but we were already stopped. Form this point on it is a pretty good grade. We definitely didn’t want to be pulling Shadow up hill with her brakes on! Mom fiddle round with the thing but couldn’t find anything wrong. We took off but the brake light was still on so we pulled in at Radium Hot Springs. Mom ended up disconnecting the whole thing and going through the connect sequence from scratch. That seemed to get us back on track. Away we went. The drive from Radium Hot Springs to the 93 and 1 junction is really beautiful. There are lots of hiking trails I would sure like to take but we didn’t get to stop for any today, darn. Mom’s biggest regret was that we didn’t stop at Hectors Gorge for a photo.
We just highballed it straight to Lake Louise. All together the trip took us 6 hours. We got some diesel and headed for the campground. Fortunately, there wasn’t much of a line so we got right in. I could tell mom was a little on the tired side as it took her three tries to figure out the right way to park in our slot. She had forgotten that in this campground you have to throw your electrical cord under the rig in order to have things right. And, of course, Shadow’s braking light was on again. But, we got set up, had a little chow and headed off for a walk along the Bow River.
The Lake Louise RV campground is really nice and is situated right along the Bow River. We took the nature trail goes along the river. It’s very nice for strolling. Course, I don’t give a fig for strolling but that’s all I got today.
Things probably won’t be that much better tomorrow as we high tail it straight for Jasper.
Until next time ....
22 September 2007
WE ARE BACK! And, what a cool adventure we had. We hiked in Jasper, Banff, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks. We made new friends all along the way. Mom held me up with her photography the whole time but I'll bet she got some great photographs for you to see and the photography IS what it's all about. But, crikey, she gets wound up in it. I've never seen anyone get so lost behind a little black box. I'd best be counting my blessings. If it weren't for her obsession I wouldn't get to see nearly as much. :)
As promised I kept a daily journal so I could tell you about our journey. Starting tomorrow I will be posting those entries probably about one every other day. I like to be able to link you to photographs of the things I'm talking about. You know what they say, "A picture's worth a thousand words". Mom has her work cut out for her. I'm pretty sure she took at least a kajillion.
Until tomorrow ......
03 September 2007
Hey, hey, hey! We are on our way!
Our next big adventure begins in just a couple of hours. Clementine is packed, Shadow is attached and mom is racing around like a banchee!
I'm not really sure how long we will be away. Mom always has a definite launch date but the returns are kinda iffy. My guess is that we will be gone around two weeks. Since we won't have internet access in Canada I won't be posting again until our return. But, not to worry. I will be keeping a daily diary and will regale you with tales from the road upon our return. :)
Scott our friend and neighbor will be looking after things here at the ranch. That's him in the photo with me. Thank you Scott!
Well, I'm just too excited to sit here another minute! I'm gonna go get under mom's feet. She always loves that when she's trying to get ready for a departure. :)
Until next time.......
02 September 2007
Ha! Ha! Mom couldn't make it another day without getting out for some hiking and photography. We were out doing some watering in preparation for departure to Canada when Scott, our neighbor, came down the road. He said he was off to the West Kootenai with a pal. He also mentioned they were going to stop by and take a look at some waterfalls.
After Scott hiked off I could see the wheels turning. No sooner were we done with the watering than mom says, "We're outta here!" To which I replied, "Yippee!" We piled our gear in the pickup and were off in a flash. Mom knew exactly what waterfalls Scott was referring to. She'd been meaning for us to take a trip over there and this chance encounter pushed her over the edge. :)
I have mentioned the Kootenai Forest several times. In fact we live smack dab in it. It's a really big forest. If your interested you can find out more about it here Kootenai National Forest .
We live on the east side so we had to take the bridge to get across the Koocanusa. On the drive down we saw a beautiful osprey gliding around. We also saw an eagle but he didn't care to have his picture taken.
When we arrived at the trailhead to the falls who do we see coming down the path but our friend Scott and his friend James! Humans have no idea how like us dogs they are. They met like they hadn't seen each other in a coon's age. I have no idea how long a coon's age actually is but I gather it's a long time. It had been about and hour and a half seen we'd seen Scott!
Mom had been a little concerned that there wouldn't be much water coming over the falls as it was so late in the season and it has been so dry. But the guys said there was still quite a bit. They took off for their hiking trail and we took off for the falls.
It's isn't much of a hike, like less than a half mile. As short a hike as it is it's very pretty. You hike in the shade along the creek, cross a bridge and there, in like a grotto, is Little North Fork Falls . It was nice and cool in there. I like cool!
Since the walk up to the falls wasn't much of a hike we drove back down the road about a quarter of a mile to a trail we had seen on the way up. We hiked up this trail for about an hour until the wind fall got so bad we couldn't go any further. This is grizzly country but we saw no sign. We did see beautiful, old growth ponderosa. While we were walking along I nearly jumped out of my coat when one of those old beauties must have given up the ghost. There was this crack that sounded like a gunshot (I don't like guns!) and then this whomp as it hit the ground. It was no where near to us but boy it sure sounded like it.
All in all it was a great day!
Until next time ....