Solar wind

Greens and purple auroras give way to approaching dawn.

Lisa called me to look at the Northern Lights at around midnight. They were spiking and visible from within town. Having been asleep for a couple hours I didn’t feel much like going out to take photos.

About 3 am I had a change of heart and Willow and I packed up the camera and headed for the dark part of Lake Windermere.

The Milky Way arches across the sky. The light of Invermere, BC can be seen to the left of the frame.

The auroras had died down yet were still visible in the northeast as a stream of solar wind hit Earth’s magnetic field.

Geese, ducks, coyotes and hooting owls provided a fitting soundtrack to the clear moonless morning. It felt good to be out looking up. Very fine start to the day.

May Burn

RCE_9738smColumbia Lake. The haze is from the many controlled fires being burned in preparation for, what could be, a busy forest fire season.

Feels like we skipped over Spring and went straight to Summer. Warm temperatures in the mid 20’s, blue sky and everything greening up. It won’t be long and we will be praying for rain.

Hiked with Dave, Chad and Todd to the top of the hoodoos. Willow chased grouse and gophers. Sending them into the trees and underground, respectively.

RCE_9774A Blue Grouse struts his stuff. Once Willow caught wind, she put him in a tree. 

The hoodoos are featured prominently in the Ktunaxa Creation Story. It is said they are the remaining ribs of a large water monster that once inhabited the Kootenay and Columbia River systems.

RCE_9775Arrow Leaved Balsam Root. Arnica. False sunflower. The Ktunaxa called it xaǂ. Every part of the plant is edible and was an important food source for the Ktunaxa people.

It’s damn steep once on top with spectacular views of Columbia Lake to the north and Dutch Creek directly below.

RCE_9729Lisa remarked at the length of the Pine needles, saying they would make good weaved baskets. Lisa makes lovely pine needle baskets.

The mountains are still snowed in, but won’t be for long with the heat. Lisa and I went as high as we could last weekend looking for Mountain Orchids. They are close, yet still behind, we found their flat leaves on top of moss on the forest floor.

RCE_9755A couple of Swallows take in the view.

The hike back from the Hoodoos was uneventful, but for a small snake that crossed our path. It was enjoying the heat when we came along. I can never remember seeing one so early in the year.

RCE_9782A small Garter Snake sharing the trail. 

My mother used to tell us kids to get outside in the hot days of May and get sunburned. We were white as daisies after the long winter. She said, by the time it was summer it would turn to tan, and we wouldn’t have to worry about the sun burning again.

I am not sure if that parental advice would go over today, but I’m sure glad I got it when I did.