There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label Alberta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alberta. Show all posts

16 October 2012

my final sunrise, and other moments from the International Peace Park

When I first arrived to Waterton, I went almost immediately down to the lake shore, found a comfortable stone by an uprooted tree, and sat for hours listening to the waves lap upon the shore.

On my last day, I sat on the boat harbor as the sun rose before me and the moon said goodnight from behind.

I watched the great peaks before me change color from brown to a brilliant crimson in the changing light. I sat in the dirt as birds chirped their morning song. I watched a group of Rocky Mountain goats disobey all traffic laws, abiding to only the law of nature as they made their way around my car....

I took the time to appreciate Nature in a way that is impossible unless one's daily distractions are removed from your psyche.

14 October 2012

Cameron's Glacier

The morning started in town, viewing a couple getting their wedding photo's taken at Cameron Falls in Waterton. As I watched, my eyes wandered to the left towards a sign with a trail head marking the starting point to Cameron's Glacier, 5.8 miles ahead.

With my pack ready and strapped to me, I left the happy couple to start my own solo adventure, destination unknown....

The temperature is chilly, but the start of the trek is extremely vertical, and the sweat rolls from my brow in buckets, cooling off in the morning air. After a mile straight up, the trail levels out to a spectacular view of Waterton below.

The peaks protect and guide me through the forest, my thoughts are my companion mile after mile. In the mid afternoon I arrive to the glacier.

Others strip their sweaty clothes and swim in the glacial waters of the lake. Some rents kayaks and row upon the clear waters. I find a secluded spot along the shore to rest in the warmth of the sun.

Pages of a book turn til completion, my body is refreshed from the peace and quiet here. I take one last, long look at my surroundings, then make my way back down in the quickly diminishing evening light.


03 October 2012

across spiritual waters to Goat Haunt

Between glacier carved mountains on either side, Waterton lake's icy blue water beckons one to climb upon a boat and feel out it's nooks and crannies.
So I did.

One learns much on a simple cruise such as this. You see that this is the only place where a border between countries is made through the forest up the mountainside.

You learn that due to a glacier's constantly moving, freezing and receding, that all the mountains are literally stacked like pancakes, and with one wrong step, millions of years of shale will slide off and into the water below.

A place such as this makes you wonder about "intelligence" and how that is determined. Many may think that humans are at the top of the evolutionary chain.
Bears have such a highly developed sense of smell that they can know when a female bear is on their menses from miles away.

You find that at the other end of the lake is the least visited place to get your passport stamped, Goat Haunt border crossing. The agents are humorless, the scenery divine.

I find that spending time on the spiritual water of Waterton lake can positively change the way one thinks. I only wish I had enough time to have fully grasped the new thoughts.

28 September 2012

one with the buffalo

Softly creeping down the old wooden steps to the lobby for morning coffee, I catch a glimpse of brilliant light from a yonder window. I step outside to a wind that chills me to the bone, but my breath gasps from the sight  before me....

Gathering only the barest of essentials ; camera, jacket, and thermos, I hop into the car and quickly drive out to the paddocks. Today I will sit in the open prairie of Alberta and watch the sun rise with the buffalo.

Long before the White Man came to North America, the buffalo roamed this land by the hundreds of thousands. The Native American Indian worshipped the great animal, as it provided both warmth and food for it's people.
Hunted by the White Man to near extinction, one can no longer see buffalo in great numbers migrating across the plains. They are now in small numbers on protected lands.
I sit on the paddock as the small herd grazes in the morning light, and feel eons of time flash before me.

Oh great Tatonka, I hope you will one day roam again in great numbers.

20 September 2012

exploring Red Rock canyon

There is such freedom in turning down a road just to see where it may take you.
Stop and sit on a rock, watching clouds roll by.

A sign shows me the edible vs. the poisonous plants in the area.
I study it for a long time, then venture along the trail for a meal.

Berries explode with flavor on my tongue.
Bare feet splash glacial water onto my warm skin.

A lone, puffy cloud appears from nowhere in the blue sky
taking various shapes of beauty.

I love turning down a road to the unknown adventure that lays in wait, like when we were young.

18 September 2012

the bear at Linnet lake

In the late afternoon sun, shadows dance in between trees and on the dark waters of Linnet lake. I muse...the peace and quiet makes for a perfect stroll around the lake trail.

I head to the right, navigating fallen branches and stones, working my way in the shrubbery. The running of feet on the sandy shore causes my head to turn though as I thought I was alone. Two people, a couple would be my guess, are waving their arms silently as they are out of breath.

"Why don't you speak?"....

The gentleman is first to utter a soft spoken word...."there is a bear in the bushes my friend, about fifty feet up the trail..."

I thank them for the warning, but instead of heading back I want to push my luck.
I want to see the bear for myself, brave the danger of nature, try to survive a possible attack.
You have a death wish....
I turn though and follow the trail from the other direction, as I feel it gives one a better vantage point of any upcoming bears that may be lurking in the berry bushes scavenging for food before the long upcoming winter.

Singing loudly, kicking up leaves and small pebbles, I slowly work my way forward. I hear the rustling of branches, but do not spot the Linnet lake bear. The adrenalin rush though is something else.
I burn off the excess energy by running along the shore, skipping stones into the lake, chasing a family of ducks.
Exhausted, I rest on a log and wait for a sign of life under the watchful eye of a great mountain.

I try to tempt the bear by lying down, but to no avail. Perhaps another day will fare better for spotting bears.....

14 September 2012

on the road to the most photographed hotel in the world

My GPS indicates that it will take about two hours to drive from Lake McDonald in West Glacier, over the "going to the Sun" road through the national park, then crossing the border into Alberta, Canada and onto my final destination of the Waterton International Peace Park.

GPS doesn't take into account nature's beauty though, and this is one drive that you need to slow down and soak in your surroundings. It took me a little over six hours, and worth every second.

This part of Alberta is a stark contrast of open fields of endless grain and towering glacier carved mountains. As I arrived at the park entrance, I asked the fellow for directions to the Prince of Wales hotel.
"just follow the road mate, you can't miss it...."
and he couldn't have been more correct.

Touted as the most photographed hotel in the world, the Prince of Wales had a wonderful air of European charm, from the staff dressed in Swiss and German attire, to the elevator that could only fit two people at a time, one of them being the person that had to operate it.

The lobby had the sweet smell of aged oak and wine, with giant windows that overlooked Lake Waterton.

As I carried my bags up the stairs to the fifth floor, I marveled at the eccentricity of the fixtures, the room doors that all required actual keys to open, the old 1920's style exit signs. I felt transported to a different era, and as I settled down in my room after a long day to unpack, I looked out the window to an amazing sight....

and knew that I was in for quite the experience here.