Father’s Day

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Came across a mother Black Bear with two cubs. A couple barks and the cubs were up a tree followed by their mother in a flash. Amazing how fast they can climb. We left them alone as not to stress them. 

Lisa treated me to Father’s Day in the bush. We made a day of it heading a valley over to the Palliser. Going the extra mile was worth it. We never saw another vehicle after turning off the highway onto Settler’s Road.

We explored in the country we love. The creeks and rivers were raging. We picked up a few stones for Lisa’s rock garden, some firewood, hiked a cut block, let the hounds run and took a few pictures.

We even got around to stripping Willow of her winter coat. This can be quite a chore but wasn’t that bad as we did it after the hike and Willow was tired and did put up much of a fuss.

When we returned to cell reception my phone started buzzing with Father’s Day wishes from my children. When we arrived home I returned the calls to my kids and grandkids.

Very fine day.

(The photos were taken by Lisa)

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Cutting up a stick of firewood while Maynard looks on.

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The rain has the mushrooms popping. Not sure what this species is so it stayed on the forest floor instead of added to the soup pot.

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Heart Leaved Arnica. An edible plant, widely used by indigenous people before colonization.

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An odd puffball?

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Lunch on the side of the road.

black & white

RCE_5949Roots from old logging set.

RCE_5981Making a getaway.

RCE_5938Ancient fire circle.

RCE_5937Pine Siskin.

early June

RCE_5618More rain in the valley bottom, snow in the mountains. We took an extra special trip behind Swansea, beside the swollen creek running pure mud, under a canopy of black spruce. My kind of day Lisa remarked.

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It would be nice to have a rainy year for a change. It does the bush good. I expect the bush to be extra busy this year with people from out of province camping in every nook and cranny due to campsites being closed to out of province visitors. The rational for this decision is to keep people close to home during the pandemic. Both Alberta and British Columbia have implemented this rule.
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In our neck of the woods I have already seen Albertans camped in the damndest places with, motorbikes, ATV’s, trailers on jacked up trucks, booze and loud music, sky high bonfires and not a drop of water in a five mile radius. It’s a recipe for disaster. At least if the recreational and commercial campsites were available to them they would be kept in check with plenty of water available and threat of a scolding if they get out of hand.

It started to pour, we were back down too soon for my liking.
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Bears and Flowers

_LME5234The first of the mountain orchids begin to bloom.

It seems orchids and bears start to appear at the same time in the bush. The trick is not to be too focused on one or the other. For instance, if you are just on the lookout for bears you might step on the delicate Venus’s Lady’s Slipper.

RCE_5388.smA Black Bear says, ‘What are you doing here?’

Conversely, if you are laying on your belly in the moss, intent on focusing your camera on these lovely orchids, you could pop up your head and have a surprise. Awareness is always the best policy.

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late august

RCE_3260smAn unnamed, unclimbed mountain – so happy the gore tex climbing hordes
are off shitting on the well known peaks miles from here.

Saw Winter Maker this morning, a waning sliver came up in dawn, later I faced the rising sun taking the cold from my bones; once again saved without having to confess or spend a minute in church. Sometimes you get lucky.

RCE_3313.jpgSoon it will be ice.

There are signs everywhere summer is on it’s way out. We have had frost at this time of year. It’s getting close, the other day was 3°c. The garden is flattening, except for the carrots, smoke and cabbage, who are revelling in the cool of night.

RCE_3295Willow casually smokes a cigar in her own private natural spa.

Was along the creek a range over. Willow swam the blue moving water fetching sticks. She learned quickly to use the current to her advantage. I threw sticks into an eddy, they would go around and around then finally spill out into the froth of the main channel. Willow did the same, fighting to get caught in the eddy, then using her thrusters to speed out of the eddy on just the right orbit, capturing the stick every time! It required perfect mathematical calculations on her part – the speed of the eddy, her weight, the speed of the main current, her mass and it’s effect on water resistance; all of that and the same calculations for the stick, just to be safe! Or. . . she just naturally knew what to do. Both are science, both are nature.

RCE_3308Determination.

The sun went down and turned to twilight, as dramatic as it’s entrance.

Sometimes you really do get lucky.

Canada Day

RCE_2753Daisies and Yarrow

A busy Canada Day Weekend for Lisa and I. Our son Hunter and his wonderful girlfriend Bree were out from Calgary to take in the festivities with their friends. We put up a higher fence around the garden in and attempt to dissuade the deer from eating our vegetables. 

RCE_2731Lisa stopping on a cutblock to admire the daisies.

Lisa busied herself further making wooden signs for our daughter Maddy’s quickly approaching wedding. Lisa is very handy with power tools and can whip together almost anything. This spring she made me a a potting bench, complete with a sink, from the old leftover cedar siding from our renovation a few years ago.

RCE_2757Driving Willow crazy.

This morning we escaped the ruck of the crowd in the valley bottom and got behind Swansea. We followed the creek a ways then turned mountain side. Crossed a few cutbacks covered in daises, kept up until the road ended in a spot we haven’t visited for awhile.

RCE_2746Always happy, even if sometimes one step behind.

Willow looked and dug for rodents. I took a few photos. Found a spring crisscrossed with moose tracks. Lisa harvested small new prickly pine cones. We picked a couple bouquets of wild flowers for home. Willow hunted until her tongue hung out of her mouth.

Very fine day. 

Late Fall

_LME8964BCresting the summit.

We have had a few beautiful days. It only seemed right to get into the mountains one more time before the snow started falling in earnest.

_LME8843BMorning light touches the mountain tops. Willow scans the trail ahead.

Willow, Maynard and I set out early and were on the trail before sun up. We climbed up quickly through the bush. I studied the places I was going to have difficulty with coming down. The snow was crisp, but it would be icy directly under the trees come afternoon. Some of the ice would be unavoidable. There was a day I would hop, skip and jump down the trail.

_LME8981BMaynard and Willow walk the ridge. 

Now I am more economical, to put it kindly. Not to many waisted steps. Some of those steps are damn slow. It reminds me that I have to stay in shape so I can show these places to Cooper and Scarlett.

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In some places the snow was hard and others I broke through. On the ridge the snow was windblown hard or blown off the rocks so the going was relative easy.

_LME8953B.jpgLooking back along the windy ridge.

Willow led the way. Maynard stayed right with me.

The sky and sun was brilliant. The next snowstorm will make the ridge inaccessible.

_LME8891BHypnotizing Maynard and Willow with a piece of cheese.

When we got back to the truck I had a cold coffee waiting for me. It hit the spot. The hounds slept the way home. Very fine day.

Shoots

Lisa and I had breakfast on the mountain. We stopped on an old logging landing. The view faced back into the valley bottom. Those guys tear the shit out of the place.

Logging used to employ a lot of men in the bush. Now it’s a few men in large machines that can clearcut an entire mountain in a few weeks.

It doesn’t take long and the mountain tries to hide the scar. New plants grow. It is similar after a forest fire. But the timber is slow to come back. Much slower than the 50 years the government says.

RCE_9956Strawberry blossoms.

RCE_9965Yarrow shoots.

RCE_9967Young nodding onion.

RCE_9957Oregon grape blossoms.

RCE_9971Last year’s yarrow. The best and safest way to forage for edible plants is to look for last year’s plants.

RCE_9977Young pine, the government says will be ready to chop down again in 50 years.

Early May

RCE_9662bSpringtime in the Rockies. A Grizzly Bear enjoys some young fresh shoots.

Spent the weekend in the city visiting our children and grandchildren. They made a wonderful early Mother’s Day brunch for Lisa. We went to our niece Meagan’s 40th birthday party. She has a wonderful family. It is hard to believe she was only 7 years old at our wedding.

_LME7400Willow gets sad when she has to be on the leash, but we didn’t want her rustling up a bear and leading it back to us. 

I am always a little off balance in the city. After a great visit it is good to get back in the mountains. It has greened up over the days we were away. The seeds are starting to break through in the garden. My tender tomato seedlings also lived through my absence.

RCE_9664smThere’s a storm a brewing.

It was warm in the city. It is also warm in the valley bottom, but seems to cool off quicker when the sun goes down. Lisa and I watched a storm across the valley. Earlier we watched a Grizzly. You get a little bit of everything this time of year in the mountains.