Friday, July 8, 2011

William and Kate's Visit to Calgary

The hat I made for the parade. I didn't get to wear it! It obstructed people's view.

Calgary's been all a-buzz about the visit of William and Kate to our city this week. They flew in yesterday afternoon and flew out again this morning, on their way to California. Yesterday The Royals toured the University of Calgary and enjoyed a private rodeo performance at Stampede park. The public wasn't invited to either.

The best chance to see them seemed to be right before the official Stampede Parade this morning. Stampede is the annual rodeo here in Calgary and is a VERY big deal. The whole town goes western for a week, decorating with all things cowboy and dressing up in western wear.

It was reported that Will and Kate would travel the parade route in reverse at 8:30am, ending up at the point where the Stampede Parade would begin. This was our first Stampede parade but we're told the crowds were MUCH larger than in past years, obviously because the newlyweds were involved.

We had bleacher seats which usually guarantee a better view than being on the sidewalk, so I expected to get some great photos of Kate's streaming hair and Williams' brilliant smile as they rode by. We were in our seats by 8:00. Unfortunately, this was our view:

The bleachers were behind a mesh fence! But I knew I could deal with that by standing up and raising my camera over the fence to get the shot. No biggie. But then all of a sudden, there were police cars escorting a line of black town cars and everyone was standing and someone said, "It's them!!" and my husband pointed to one car in particular and I was snapping pictures and they flew by and then all was quiet. Someone said, "That was it?"

Everyone sat back down, looking at one another, puzzled. The woman next to us said she heard they'd be coming by in a carriage. "Instead, we get a drive-by at 50 miles an hour?" We all laughed. 50 mph was an exaggeration, but it certainly was quick. Amazingly, though, when I zoomed in on the above photo, you can see Kate in the back seat, wearing a white cowboy hat:

That was something, I guess. Though incredibly disappointing, our little bleacher group forgave the 'drive-by,' assuming the closed car must have been used for Will and Kate's security. Someone said, "There are a lot of crazy people out there." Nods were exchanged and we all settled in for the actual parade.

Yeah, well, I didn't really. I couldn't let go of the fact that William and Kate were in my city and I wasn't going to see them. This young couple is a part of history. I wanted two seconds to look at them in person, even if it was in the middle of a crowd, from far away.

I wasn't sure what the plan was for W&K after they reached the starting point for the parade but I knew I had to find out. I told my husband I wanted to walk over there in case they were making a speech or sitting at a dais or something. He was up for it.

The first few blocks were a piece of cake, but as we got closer to the beginning of the route, it got harder to maneuver around people. I pointed down an alley which took us behind some buildings and then finally, back out on the street about a block from the parade. Unfortunately, because of construction, it looked like we'd have to head in the opposite direction in order to work our way back to the parade route.

We wound up at an intersection across from The Hyatt. At every corner there was a crowd, cameras aimed at the hotel doors, ready to shoot. Heavy police presence. I asked someone what was going on and they said simply, "William and Kate."

I actually had a great spot with a clear view of the doors diagonally across the street from us.

We waited maybe ten minutes and were finally rewarded with these photos:

Look! He's waving at me and she's smiling at me! (...and the rest of the people standing with me-lol)

That's all I wanted. *happy*

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lake Annette Hike

Yesterday, July 2nd, I walked through a snow drift. We took a hike that was 8 miles round trip and wound up high enough in the mountains to be where the last remnants of snow are. Freaky, man.

Besides the snow, here are the highlights of this hike: We saw 2 porcupine. Not together, we saw them in two separate locations. They were bigger than I expected them to be. And I didn't know that they're blind. The first one scurried away when Greg said, "Hey- look at this!"

When we saw the second one, we stayed quiet while he sat, 'looking' in our direction.

The second incredibly cool thing that happened was when we reached our destination: Lake Annette:

We walked around the lake a little bit to get a better look at the glacier high up on top of the mountains.

While we looked around we heard a loud roll of thunder. "Great," Greg said. We were about an hour and a half away from our car. While we were both looking up at the sky, Greg said, "Oh my God, it's an avalanche!"

No danger to us- it was way up on the highest mountain and not very big. But there was snow, falling down the rocky cliffs like sugar flowing out of an over turned bowl. Greg grabbed some shots:

One thing I like about these hikes is that we always see something new. The porcupines and the avalanche were pretty interesting. This hike wasn't as steep as Johnston Canyon, so it was a little bit easier even though it was a mile longer.

Lake Annette: 4 hours. Cranky Meter (how cranky did I get at some point during the hike?) 4 Frowny Faces out of 5. Why? Too long. Scary part where I had to walk over a snow drift on a cliff. Afraid I'd slip and fall. Felt woozy when we got to the lake and had trouble keeping my balance jumping from rock to rock in the water. Finally sat down and was stranded for about five minutes on a rock in shallow water until my head cleared. Nobody cared.