Winter Walking – Barrett Park

Rose hips dusted with snow.

Bridges over just frozen creeks.

Winter path marked with footprints.

Frozen fungi clinging to an old stump.

Fallen trees and fallen snow.

Winter creek and flowing water.

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iPhone pictures by Debra Hunter

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Winter Walk – Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary 

Even though the afternoons are getting darker and darker as the days shorten, we still try to get out for walks most days. We are lucky to live near several natural areas with paths, but one of our favourites is Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary. One portion of the trail is a quick loop, perfect for cold days or when you are racing against the light to fit a walk in.

The pictures today are just iPhone pics, lighting was so poor it made no sense to take a camera along. Still, the walk was nice, and it is always good to get outside.






Photography by Debra Hunter

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Johnson Lake Paintings – Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada — Debra Hunter – photography & art

I was recently going through a few paintings from spring of 2016. During that time I was taking a theme and then doing a few paintings based on a single theme before moving to a new subject matter. I thought it would be interesting to do a post showing a few paintings based on a […]

via Johnson Lake Paintings – Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada — Debra Hunter – photography & art

Summer Weekends – Big Hill Springs Provincial Park

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

The summers of 2015 and 2016 have been interesting for us, after years of spending every weekend at the cabin, we have now been challenged with learning how to reinvent how we “do” summer. Years of being on auto-pilot of going to the cabin Friday night, hanging out or hiking, then back home Sunday afternoon or evening, have been replaced with “What should we do this weekend?”.

We have discovered staying in the city isn’t an option; you can only go to the pool, walk on the city trails, or go shopping so many times…..plus that is what we do during the week, we want weekends to be different. So this summer has been THE summer of weekend road trips.

The weekend road trips are probably part to blame for this blog being so quiet. Half the time we are in areas with no cell phone service, and when we return home the hundreds of pictures taken are too daunting to go through to get a blog post up before we are off on another road trip.

The scale of the road trips has also been elevated, and have even been going into BC for the day (4.5-5 hour drive each way). Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Golden, Field and hiking areas near Calgary and Canmore have become our weekend backyard. That’s a pretty stunning “backyard” of world class scenery!

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

This weekend we opted for Big Hill Springs Provincial Park. We have driven past the entrance to this park dozens of times and have never stopped. In all that time we had never realized how stunning this area was.

The trail, a family friendly 2.3 km loop, spends the first part of the trail skirting alongside creeks and waterfalls. It is literally one fairy tale waterfall after another. Wildflowers dot the sides of the trails at low levels until you start a gentle and short climb up to a lovely view point. The trail then takes the hiker through a treed area rich with mushrooms and fungi until you come to the final descent.

Walking the trail in this direction means that you do not start the hike with a straight uphill, but rather a pleasant and gradual climb.

I have many more images of the hike to share in the future, but for now, a few more waterfalls……..

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

Directions to the park can be found by clicking HERE. A great spot to check out if you are in Central or Southern Alberta (Canada).

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Photography by Debra Hunter
http://www.debra-hunter.com

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Path Side Wonders – Wapta Falls, BC, Canada

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This spring we have spent our fair share of time exploring the mountain parks of Alberta and British Columbia. Our family is finally at the stage where everyone is able to hike, and excited about it too. Last weekend we explored the area around Golden, BC, and on the return trip stopped for an enjoyable hike to Wapta Falls.

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As there had been quite a bit of rain, the sides of the path were lush with flowers and mushrooms. Admittedly, the constant stopping left my family standing and waiting (perhaps arms crossed and toes tapping by our oldest two!), while I crawled around for mushroom pictures.

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The younger three got in the spirit of looking at the wildflowers. This did however lead to a discussion where my eight year old just would not accept that the beautiful flower she had discovered was a dandelion. She was certain it was a rare wildflower (her siblings also chimed in that what she had found was a dandelion which certainly didn’t help matters!).

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Now there is an amusing story from the day we did this hike. My husband and I were certain we had both walked to Wapta Falls a few years ago, we were sure of it. We were so sure of it we described the walk to tourists parked next to us; we had also read the distance, time and elevation gain the night before so we passed on that information. I remembered it being a grey drizzly day. As we walked along the path I thought something was “different”, but I wasn’t about to say anything. We get to the first lookout and at that point my husband and I are saying the hike and falls are different than we remember. By the time we hit the base of the falls we both looked at each other and said “We’ve never been here before!”. And then we twigged. We were thinking Sunwapta Falls……..in Jasper National Park…..we were only a couple of national parks out. Then, we had to come clean with the kids.

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The view from the bottom of the falls was quite lovely. The forest wildflowers gave way to Indian Paintbrush, one of my favorites. We stopped and admired the falls for a while, made a quick sketch, and then returned down the path we had just walked.

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Photography by Debra Hunter

http://www.debra-hunter.com

http://www.htheblog.wordpress.com

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Kerry Wood Nature Centre – Ladyslipper

ladyslipperA few weeks ago we decided to go on a family outing to Kerry Wood Nature Centre in Red Deer, Alberta. Behind the main building lies a nature sanctuary that contains a small lake, a bird blind, a short 1 km trail and a longer 4 km trail. On this particular day we set out to do the longer trail, it was a nice day for a walk, plus I had a mission in mind to photograph as many flowers as possible. For a while I have been painting larger canvases based on macro images of flowers, or more accurately “garden variety flowers”…. literally. Delphinium, Daisies, Allium, Nasturtium………you get the picture. Feeling that it was time to switch things up a bit, and having no desire to paint marigolds, I decided that perhaps wild flowers and plants might be a nice direction to pursue as a subject matter. I had already dabbled in this direction with a painting I had done of yarrow based on an image I had taken on the west coast, so it seemed natural to try out the same theme with some local Alberta plants.

I will admit I took a lot of images on this walk, 100+ images per km, so I thought I would break down the outing into a few posts. I thought I would start with the Ladyslipper as they are quite rare to come across when walking, so it was a treat to find a few different patches of the flower. This is also the first flower to be tackled as a painting from the outing, the canvas is 10 inches by 10 inches and the painting is a third to a half-finished. I’ll share the painting on the blog once it is finished.

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