Saturday, November 13, 2010

Heart Creek Trail

Usually I let Greg pick the trail we'll tackle on a sunny weekend. He's already been on a few and knows what we can expect. But last Saturday, I chose. I picked an easy one because I was in the mood for a stroll, one where I could appreciate the sights and sounds of nature instead of wondering if the distance and the elevation might kill me.

The path we walked on Saturday crossed over a babbling brook- OK let's stop right there. "Babbling Brook" seems perfectly accurate, though I can't say why. When is a stream a brook? When is a brook a creek? How do rivers come into play? Do Brook Shields' streaming legs creek when she plays in a river? Let's investigate these words, shall we?

According to Merriam-Webster:

A brook is a small stream.
A stream is a small river.
A river is a large stream.
A creek is a narrow stream of water, usually branching off a river (but not as small as a brook?).

OK, I'm sticking with "brook." But why "babbling"? Some would say I'M babbling and frankly, I've already lost interest in what I'm saying. Let's just look at some pretty pictures.

Why so many pictures of bridges? The path takes you over EIGHT of these charming little bridges.

At the end of the trail, we were faced with this wall of rock and the sound of a waterfall we couldn't see.

Greg climbed up to get a better view. You can see him waving in the right side of the photo.

Somehow he convinced me to scramble up on the rocks, despite my fear of heights. I got a look at the small waterfall, shot this photo and bargained with God to somehow get me back down safely. He did. The bad news is that now I have to become a nun.

We decided this is a good hike for company who can't handle anything more challenging. It's a lovely, peaceful walk over eight bridges and a brook that won't shut up.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Grotto Canyon Hike

Greg had Veteran's Day off today (it's called Rememberance Day here in Canada) so we decided to take a hike that a friend of his recommended. We drove an hour to the Rocky Mountains, stopped at a visitor's center for a map, ate lunch in an unassuming little place that apparently some celebrities have frequented (according to the photos on the wall) and found the parking lot at the beginning of the trail.

(Sorry if I rushed you through that, but we've got a hike to take. C'mon, let's go...)

The trail follows an almost-dry river bed as walls of rock rise up on either side.

We were promised pictographs, which kept my interest up during the rocky walk, but after almost an hour of jumping from stone to stone over icy water with no sightings of these ancient drawings, I started getting crabby.

I sat down on a boulder and declared that I was done. But when I looked ahead of us, I saw a cave in the distance, up a steep hill.

Interested again! We decided to take the trail as far as below the cave and then turn around to head back. But as we stood looking up at it, it was obvious that other people had made the climb into the cave. I reminded Greg of all the cartoons we've seen involving caves. "They always have a bear in them! Cartoons don't lie, man!"

He gave me his usual blank stare when he's not exactly sure if I've lost my mind. "Bears prefer more isolated spots," he said, and headed up the hill.

It was a lot more steep than it looked, but he managed to get far enough to stick his head inside and take a look. He yelled over that there was nothing to see but that it smelled really bad. His guess was that it was probably full of bats.

The only picture I grabbed of him at the cave is this one, as he slid back down the hill. I'm sure he'd prefer I share a photo of him looking more like Indian Jones and less like a baby playing patty-cake, but this is all I've got. Sorry!

We started the walk back. The ice was beautiful.

Walking DOWN the trail was much easier.

And then Greg found it. A pictograph! It was hard to see, but there it was, a red drawing of a man and a deer:

So worth it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Yoho National Park

We were given the gift of a three day weekend due to the Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday, October 11th. (The holiday is officially observed on the second Monday of October, and though it's not as big a celebration as it is in the United States, the meal is the same.)

We were looking for something to do on Saturday and since we've spent so many weekends exploring the area around Calgary, I asked Greg if there was anything left to see. I was joking, but he just stared back blankly and picked up a travel brochure. (Sometimes he doesn't get me. ha) Eventually, he suggested Yoho National Park.

Despite the fact that he never thought it was funny when I called it "Yoo Hoo" National Park (see previous paragraph), we wound up having a really nice day. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive, past Banff, past Lake Louise.

Our first destination was Takakkaw Falls (don't get me started on that name), Canada's second highest waterfall. We had to drive up this wacky road in order to see them. Look down below on the left- more of the road we drove up:

(Let's pretend I took these photos behind us as we traveled UP)

What's interesting about these falls is that the water seems to come out of solid rock.We read that they are fed by a glacier hidden from view behind the mountain.

(Greg's in this picture. You'll find him on the edge of those trees in a dark sweatshirt and light blue jeans.)

The water rushing by at the bottom of the falls was a milky blue.

Next stop was the Natural Bridge. It's a rock formation created over time by the rushing water. I'm not going to bore you with a lot of explanation, just enjoy the photos.

We were about the get on the road to head for home when Greg remembered a sign he had seen for Emerald Lake. What an incredible surprise that lake turned out to be. As we drove into the parking area, I caught a glimpse of the water through the trees and gasped. Seriously, when was the last time you gasped? The color of the water was gasp-worthy. Emerald. No kidding.

It was getting late in the day so we settled in for our mundane drive home: ;)

Surely we've seen everything now!