ROCKY MOUNTAINS

Following a great workshop in Calgary, we spent a few days with friends John and Lyla. We did a road trip up to Canmore and through the Rockies to Jasper. The scenery was spectacular and John, being a geologist, gave us a great insight into the landscape we were traveling through. He also arranged for bears, mountain goats and rock hopping mountain sheep to be spread out along our route! What a treat.

255A feast of ribs and chicken at John and Lyla’s.

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251Late nesting Robin – Canmore

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245 Intense Blue/Green lake above Canmore.

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The three small dots on the white line at the bottom left of this glacier are huge 6wd buses.

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Mountain Sheep shedding their winter coats.

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Peyto Lake and matching Jacket.

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266Jasper

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ALBERTA SNOW

Right now in Canada trees should be turning brilliant colors, temperatures should be starting to fall and preparations for winter should be just around the corner. We arrived in brilliant sunshine, enjoyed that for a couple of days then woke up to a huge dump of out of season September snow. Overnight temperatures dropped to minus 10 degrees, roads were closed, power supplies were interrupted and tree limbs littered the streets – inconvenient for the local residents but an amazing site for us.

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Twisted foothills of the Rocky Mountains

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These guys are the double decker bus version of a domestic cow

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Wyeth like.

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Warm fire on a cold night at Lyla and John’s

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Small lake in the mountains above Banff

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Mountain Goats learning to eat rocks

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Driving through the snow covered prairies north of Calgary was a fantastic sight – soft, bleak and grey.

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Badlands

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Winter wood

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Kila

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CANADA

After floating our way up through the Northwoods we crossed the boarder into Canada at Sault Ste Marie. A mighty bridge spans the locks that move ships from one great lake to another. A short queue, quick passport inspection and some questions about alcohol and firearms saw us welcomed into Canada.

Once across the boarder the highway was lined with warning signs about deer, moose and Amish rickshaws. We saw many Amish rickshaws, a few deer, but unfortunately, not a moose in site.

The Canadian roads were excellent and it didn’t take long for the big V8 to float its way to Sudbury where my brother Wayne and his wife Monique live.

Sudbury sailing club and lake ferry.

Science North is a big, snow flake shaped building housing an Imax theater and a number of science displays relating to the local area.

The park surrounding Ramsey lake, in the center of town, is the home to a large collection of native wildlife. These Canada geese share the waters edge with a resident beaver. There are squirrel’s, chipmunks and raccoons, but still no moose or bears.

One of the main tourist attractions in Sudbury is the Big Nickel. At 9 meters high, it is listed in the Guinness book of records as the worlds largest coin.

Sudbury’s Inco Superstack is the second tallest freestanding chimney in the world (380 meters)  being outstacked by a neat 10% by a chimney in Kazakhstan. Before construction of the superstack toxic gases from the mine had a devastating effect on the local environment – acid rain turning rocks black and killing off all vegitation. The superstack pumps the gas high into the atmosphere, where it can be detected for a 240km radius around Sudbury.

The Canadian government control all alcohol sales in the country. If you want to buy beer you go to the Beer Store – they don’t sell wine or spirits, just beer. If you want alcohol containing beverages other than beer you drive across town to another government owned store called the LCBO. There you can buy wine and spirits, but not beer?

Cigarette sales are also controlled by the government via heavy taxes. Through some loophole, the Indian reservations can sell cigarettes tax free. For a few bucks you can buy 250 generic cigarettes and add some more toxic fumes to the local atmosphere.

Monique took us for a drive to Onaping Falls north of Sudbury. A beautiful river cuts through weathered granite country, lined by forests of birch, maple and pines. It’s a spectacular site at the start of summer but during the fall the green forests turn brilliant red and yellow – it must be really something to see.

Wayne and Monique took us on a boat trip down French River, an hour south of Sudbury. It is a wild unspoilt waterway, dotted with islands and scattered cabins. Indian tribes have lived in the area for centuries and the first European contact was way back in the 1600’s, when the river became a major trade route for furs and timber.

French River Loon

This old fishing lodge was built on French River in the early 1940’s. The semicircular dining room has hardly changed since the day it was built.

French River is a beautiful, unspoiled part of the country. Our guide, Rene, had a real passion for the region, having lived there all his life. His detailed knowledge of the river’s history really made it a fascinating trip.