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Anne Elliott
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© Anne Elliott 2016
on the way to Kananaskis
10 September 2016
rural scene
back way to Highway 40

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The long road south

The long road south
This photo was taken on Saturday, 10 September 2016. This was the second day in a row that I did a long drive that I had never done myself, and had longed for years to be brave enough to do. On the Friday, I drove way down south as far as the Coaldale Bird of Prey Centre (drove 496 km that day). Then, on the Saturday, my daughter came with me to Kananaskis and I drove the HIghway 40 loop, going south via Turner Valley and then coming home via 1X and Highway 1A. I had been to Coaldale maybe five times before with various friends, and I had been to Kananaskis quite a few times over the years with various friends. What a way to introduce a new car to life with Anne Elliott, lol! By the end of this second day, it was so dirty from all the dust gathered, especially along the rough, gravel Spray Lakes/Smith-Dorrien trail (only drove part way along this mountainous road).. Also covered in splattered insects which were unlucky enough to fly into my car.

If I had been able to do these drives a bit earlier in the summer, I would have done so and not on consecutive days. However, I would never have taken my 17-year-old car, for a start. Then, when I checked the Bird of Prey Centre's website, I discovered that Saturday was the last day it would be open before closing till next May. As far as the Kananaskis trip was concerned, there has already been snow in some areas of the mountains, and I definitely did not want to risk doing my very first drive there in snow. So, two wonderful days, for which I am truly thankful!

About three weeks ago, I went with friend, Pam, for a long day out in Kananaskis (the mountain area of the Rocky Mountains that is closest to Calgary). What a great day we had, seeing so many different things in such beautiful scenery. The trip with my daughter followed a good part of the trip I was on with Pam, which was great.

Our first stop was at Highwood House, a very convenient place to stop for things like coffee, washrooms, gas station. All the Hummingbird feeders have been taken down now that the Hummingbirds have left.

From there, we drove north to Rock Glacier to see the little Pikas (also called Rock Rabbits). I'm pretty sure we saw just two individuals and managed to get some rather distant shots. As usual, they were darting all over the massive scree (talus?) slope, busily collecting plants to store and dry in their "caves", ready for the winter months. There was very light rain while we were there, but that cleared up for the rest of our journey.

A couple of short YouTube videos in case anyone wants to hear and see these absolutely cute creatures:



Further along, we called in at Boulton Bridge, as I wanted to do a quick check to see if there were many mushrooms around. Recently, I had been there with friends, Dorothy and Stephen, and we found lots of interesting mushrooms to photograph. Saturday was very different and it was obvious that the peak of the season is already over.

Trying to find Buller Pond, where I had stopped with Pam the other week, we ended up at an area called Peninsular, part of Lower Kananaskis Lake. I don't remember ever having been to this area before.

A short drive along the Spray Lakes/Smith-Dorrien trail, followed by continuing along Highway 40 past Barrier Lake, brought us to Highway 1. We crossed over and found 1X, which then took us to Highway 1A leading to Cochrane. From there on, I was on very familiar driving ground.

Many thanks, Rachel, for coming out with me. We had a great day in such magnificent scenery with enough wildlife to keep us happy (Pikas, Bighorn Sheep and a tiny Chipmunk who was munching on a bright red berry).


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