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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Rockies Afternoon 

Seems like we are always on the move and almost always headed west. The scenery from the road as we drive through Banff National Park never disappoints. Even on a cloudy October afternoon the mountains are stunning.





And of course every road trip includes a little knitting for http://www.handmade-canada.com .


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White

An unseasonably early snowfall has left us seeing white over the last few days in Alberta. Driving on the highway felt more like a trip in January or February, rather than just a few weeks into fall. The following are a few iPhone shots taken while driving down the Q.E.II highway. Not the best day for a drive.

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Saturday Drive To Golden and Back

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Castle Mountain Junction, Banff National Park (Canada)

On Saturday we decided to drive to Golden, BC for the day. It is about a 4.5 hour drive one way for us, 4.5 hours of amazing scenery. We enjoy driving, plus I needed to get some knitting done (which I find works very well on road trips), so it seemed a great way to spend the day.

Coffee Sweaters being knit for a coffee shop in Banff.

Coffee Sweaters being knit for a coffee shop in Banff.

 

Driving on the Trans Canada Highway.

Driving on the Trans Canada Highway.

Over the last year and a half we have spent more and more time in this area. The scenery is stunning, yet it is less crowded than Jasper or Banff. We never knew what a gem this area was until one day we ventured off the main highway and started exploring the more rural areas and roads.

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Even with the weather rolling in the landscape is gorgeous.

Reflection Lake

Reflection Lake

Reflection Lake has become one of our stopping points. Located only minutes from Golden, it is a great place to view birds while surrounded by great mountain scenery.

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Fall leaves provided  great foreground color as the Purcells turn to grey as the clouds cover the mountains.

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Little creeks are abundant in this area, creating amazing picturesque views.

Hoodoo Creek

Hoodoo Creek

Just before the sky opened up with torrential rain, we were able to get a last couple of mountain pictures featuring fall leaves.

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Photography by Debra Hunter
(just iPhone pics this time!)

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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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Busy in the Background

Recently blogging has taken a backseat. It seems the more one has to blog about the less time there is to actually blog.

Today I will share just a few things happening in the background, some of which are on my other blogs.

Photography has been busy recently. Head shots, grads, families and babies. Many an hour past midnight has been spent on the computer editing away. ( http://www.debra-hunter.com or http://www.hunterphotographics.wordpress.com )

With the blooming of wildflowers natural dyeing is a daily event. (www.handmade-canada.com)

 

Plus I have been knitting items for Talisman Books and Gallery on Pender Island and the Bear’s paw Bakery in Jasper. In addition to these two retailers I have been completing custom orders like the hats below…….

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and making hats to be posted on the website. ( http://www.handmade-canada.com )

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With tree pruning there has also been spoon carving. We won’t discuss the scale of this one, it is rather ambitious!

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Our land search has taken us to the mountains multiple times, allowing us to enjoy many hikes.

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The thing that keeps us busiest of all are our trips back and forth to the coast. After all, who can resist ocean kayaking? ( http://www.islandhomeblog.wordpress.com )

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I do find I am able to keep more up-to-date on Instagram. I can be found at @debramhunter , @handmadeincanada, and at @hunterphotographics ……..social media is almost a full time job!

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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

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