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Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump locationAnimation still - Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

This place, in what is now Alberta, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre, built into the landscape, tells the story of how the Napi People used to drive bison over this cliff thus securing their food source for the winter. Water and wind were critical components to the success of this activity. These days the wind on these vast plains is used to generate energy.

We have well and truly left the mountains behind us. The Alberta skies got much bigger this afternoon as we made our way to Fort Macleod, making our potential accommodation selection along the way.

As we checked in at the modest and perfectly functional Red Coat Inn, I couldn’t help noticing the signed photographs of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. They stayed in this very establishment during the filming of the town scenes in Brokeback Mountain. Who knew? There’s also a poster outside reception marking the occasion.

Do you know what else? JONI MITCHELL WAS BORN HERE!!

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, here’s what we saw around town in the evening walk before dinner at Johnny’s Restaurant.

Alberta skiesFort MacleodFort Macleod gatesRed Coat Inn - Fort MacleodBrokeback Mountain poster at Red Coat Inn Fort MacleodJava Shop - Fort MacleodAmerican Hotel - Fort MacleodWall advertising - Fort MacleodAndrew's Hardware - Fort MacleodC W Stevens lumber - Fort MacleodEmpress Theatre - Fort Macleod

The word for this morning was Athabasca. First the Athabasca Falls, then the Athabasca Glacier.

This afternoon we were on our way to Banff under blue skies, amazing cloud formations and the yellows of autumn.

The stunningly turquoise coloured Lake Peyto was well worth the walk to the viewing platform.Athabasca Falls - Monday 6 Oct 2014Athabasca Glacier 3Athabasca Glacieron the road - Columbia Icefieldscloudscapes - Jasper to BanffLynn at Lake Peyto - 6 Oct 2014Lake Peyto - Alberta Canada

An early morning wake up began today. “Want to go for a drive?”

The views of Lake Maligne did not disappoint. We took the Mary Schaffer loop walk in sub-zero temperatures.

Then on to Maligne Canyon before seeing a few Mule Deer as well as mountain sheep. The Looking for Bears (LFB) mission has had a second string added to it. We are now also Looking for Moose. The only moose evidence we found today was scatalogical.

Lake Maligne panorama - Sun 5 Oct 2014Lake Maligne panoramaFrosty morning - Sunday 5 October

Squirrel - Lake Maligne - 5 Oct 2014Bird - Lake MaligneMaligne Canyon - 5 Oct 2014

Mule deer - Sun 5 Oct 2014mountain sheep - Jasper - 5 Oct 2014

When you need to get from one place to another, there are literally fleeting glimpses from the car as it cuts its way to your destination. Snippets of landscape and community, travellers and workers, farms and cities. Its the friendly hoteliers, the flat of dairy farms and berry canes in fields. It’s CBC and Cariboo Country radio depending on reception quality. It’s the girl in the cafe at McLeese Lake who took a running jump into that very lake on a ten dollar dare from her father.  It’s the sign hanging off a house announcing the residence of Amos and Maybee. At this time of year, it’s yellow leaves turning and falling, haystacks and grasses in marshland. Add in a catch up or two and a sleepover with old friends and it makes for a very satisfying few days travel.

Road trip Diptic 1Diptic road trip 2Diptic road trip 3Diptic road trip 4

While some may have been content to walk around taking in the scenery around Whistler and/or enjoying a sleeve of beer on the balcony while bird watching, I got a little adventurous. It must have been that big breakfast we had with our nephew Chris in Vancouver after we “debarked”. Between debarking and deplaning, I just don’t know any more.Rob - Whistler Mtn - 28 Sept 2014Whistler Village from the mountainYou can’t see properly behind the door of the gondola going up the mountain, but that’s me and my bike heading up to do the descent down one of the more difficult tracks on the mountain bike layout here at Whistler.bikes on the gondola

I managed to get to the bottom unscathed and ready to haul the bike up the mountain again. Tomorrow bungee jumping is on the cards. Either that, or we’ll head over to Victoria on Vancouver Island.Mountain biking down the track

In the meantime, the beautiful weather keeps following us around. And does anyone know what this bird is?

PS This is a jay that goes by the name of Clark’s Nutcracker. Thanks Deb Reynolds!

unknown bird - Whistler 1

I have always loved big cities. You can get lost in them because of their size or you can get lost in them by being drawn into small pockets of the place that delight with amazing food choices or reveal stories of people who live or have lived in the place. You can wonder at the why of their establishment whether on historic river routes, strategic trade or defence sites or just by chance discoveries.

Taking photographs in cities can be tricky if you’re focusing on the decoration detail of a building or attempting to capture the large scale of a street scape. It is never dull.

Here is a selection of cityscapes (with additives via Grungetastic).

Seattle

Seattle transitTokyo

Tokyo - Ginza Station nightSalt Lake City

Salt Lake City - Feb 2012Prague

Czech Republic - Prague - views on walk to Prague Castle 2Vancouver 

Vancouver Art Gallery March 2012

A year ago we were in Vancouver taking a crisp cold afternoon walk through the Lost Lagoon Wetland in Stanley Park.  A Great Blue Heron posed with a dignified (or perhaps cautious) stillness as I took a photograph.

A few weeks ago, I made this sketch from that photo. This morning, I was playing with FX Pro and decided that the heron looked quite fine in this Stencil Poster Blue effect.

The Stanley Park Ecology Society has information about these magnificently plumed birds and their nesting and migratory rituals.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGreat blue heron sketchBlue heron - Stanley Park - stencil poster blue