April Fool’s Sunset

Nothing of a Fool’s Day took hold this day.

 

I simply returned to a sunset over familiar territory, wishing it would be well, all well, most marvelously well, again.

 

 

The sun disappeared early behind some clouds and I ran to catch the light before it was all gone. Just minutes after the first this was so different.

 

 

 

Out on the lake the melt of the last few days have recorded every vehicle’s path and movement, soon enough to all disappear into the liquid of the returning lake water.

 

 

The expanse of light reflecting ice tracks under the wedge of broken clouds held one in awe, that this light was available all around.

 

 

And then this is truly all around.

 

 

One can of course play, and playing create something not real, but at least a bit interesting.

Spring Break

Spring Break
Skiing is a bit of work to find the right place, but they are numerous near Cold Lake. There are a few people who would love to see this with us, but they are busy, so out we go to enjoy the day by ourselves.

In the Shade
In the Shade

Nestled under the pines, it is quiet and warm under a bright March sun.

Starting Out for a l Look See
Starting Out for a l Look See

 

We take a break to go skiing, what else is Spring Break for?

Necessities Met
Necessities Met

Across the Lake we take a short break. Nature’s wonders provided by man-made structures.

Looking Back
Looking Back

The Lakeview is marvelous.

From Shore to Shore to Shore
From Shore to Shore to Shore: So Canadian

Most spectacular in panorama.
One really needs a 20’screen to appreciate the whole view.

Mystical Morning Matters

Mystical Morning Matters

There are moments that become available just because one seeks some fresh air for a night.

The landmarks stay the same, the fog and light shift as the sunrises.

Moving The Front Door
Moving The Front Door

And it is just outside our door, because we can haul the front door around behind the truck, along with a bed, table, stove, fridge and even a kitchen sink. A bit much for a guy who loved backpacking into the outback where no one else ventured to disturb a good night’s rest. Now we haul a toilet and electricity with us, not least of all to power a 27 inch screen to edit photos on.

Luxury. Well it may easily become my home permanently, so not really, not at -40° and +35° C.

Grasslands
Grasslands
Orange Trees
Orange Trees
Tracks
Tracks
Fog
Fog
Driven to the Sunrise
Driven to the Sunrise
Fog Rolls High
Fog Rolls High
Wider Higher Deeper … Breathe …
Wider Higher Deeper … Breathe …
Looking Back to the South
Looking Back to the South

Last Breath of Old Winter, Maybe?

It is officially Spring, but tell that to the snow of a foot in the last quiet day.

It started to fall nice and softly, on and off for more than a day it fell without a blush of thunder or despair. Just fell one little inch at a time, until it recovered the ground cleared pretty well for the crocuses to bloom.

I’ve yet to find a hillside of them here, and now the snow would have covered them another few days from reappearing.

But off where few people travel we found a place to bask in the mosquito-less lake front.

After hours of shovelling to get into a place out of the way enough to stay a day, and a rest for recovery, the sun appeared bright and warm, unexpected and not for long.

The sky came alive.

Sky BrightSky Bright

Previous visitors left Olaf’s cousin to fend for himself, and Kathie decided to level him starting with his all too small head. So after reconstructive surgery with the elements at hand, Olaf’s cousin Otto stands against the trees, leaning on a borrowed staff,

Otto, Olaf's Counsin

Otto, Olaf’s Cousin

And asking if he’ll have eyes to see with again, and a nose to delight in at all.

Kathie on Ice
Kathie on Ice

Out on her own walking the ice, Kathie’s glove has a life of its own as she bares her hands to take a call.

A Little Life
A Little Life

There is life out here, even after the snow, traipsing around, leaving tracks, knowing the empty table is useless until its filled with a feast for ants and visitors of all kinds.

Beaver Bites
Beaver Bites

Across the water the evidence of beaver new and long since given their best effort to fell a tree from beneath. Seems to me the beaver survived only because he was not successful.

60 years in the making, finally a photo

Time

Passes

Most of us by

At a ferocious pace.

So it took a few days to catch up to put these on the blog.

I wake on this day so long in coming, and out the door I step with bathrobe, boots, parka, hat, gloves, and camera, to the stillness of heart, mind and world that only the wilderness can afford.

Only the quiet of nothing brushing across the freshly sunlit snow

Fallen the last few days to bring spring to an end

And the wonders of winter covering like a blanket of frozen breath what once whispered a promise of green buds, bird songs, and mosquitoes.

Let the chill keep the bugs at bay for another week or more, a month or three as is seasonally to expect.

Here the water flows despite the minus 25 degrees Celsius.

The sun is warm on the trees and behind them sparking anticipation of a full bright day after three of clouds and snow drab grey.

 

 

Ahhhh … Finally

To wake one morning finally and have a reasonable workload, deadlines met, and still looming, a job still hunted for … but for today … to know what today requires and know I can accomplish these things.

And have even an hour, amidst the tasks, to enjoy beauty, and the creation of and sharing of where life has taken me and us, unexpected and delightful.

Perhaps the hour really is not mine to claim, but that will only be known later so for now the joy of life relived.

On a week to a conference, prohibited from attending by a lay-pastor full of spite, I relaxed in the mountain views out the door, and the joy of working … for it was too cold to ski Sunshine, a gift from a friend and a life-long love of mine. I never was ever too keen on skiing when the valley temperatures are below -30C. Somehow pain and frost bite just take the joy out of gliding free down across and through the snow on telemarks skis.

So I was inside, though able to see beauty each day.

Bustling Beauty

Bleeping Cold Steam Rising From Frigid Flowing Water

The day we left the conference the temperatures went wildly warm, up to just below zero and then above.

The big snow fall sat on slopes barely intact and the helicopters flew to bomb the snow loose before nature decided to pack it all at once down on top of the valley inhabitants or wanderers. As if back in Fort Ripley with the constant bombing and shelling practice shaking the earth with loud ominous thunder echoing across the clouds invisible.

 

When a day later we headed north to traverse the icefields and dry camp at the new un-serviced Whirlpool campground we knew the road likely would be closed from 11 to 17 for three hours, yes the math is off, for snow bombing (avalanche control).

The previous and falling snow made a quiet wonderland, traversable still, though just deep enough.

We pulled off to breathe, and to take photos, and to marvel.

The trees held the snow, on the steep slopes off the roadway.

To no surprise then the flashing signs at Lake Louise, and the barricade closed at the Saskatchewan River Crossing. The surprise was that at that rather major junction there is a summer only hotel and service station, with fuel and everything else … in even the telephone line to the pay phone is disconnected and dormant for the winter. And that I checked by walking through the deep snow because for miles (okay Canadian Kilometers with a long o J) there is absolutely NOOOO cell service. So we had no updates and no way to notify friends and family that we’d decided to simply wait for the road to open.

Cloud draped Mountains around the Barricade Closed

We tried driving into a trailhead parking lot, but the snow was too deep and the truck simply not high enough nor powerful enough with enough traction to pull through all the snow up to mid axel. It bogged down and I stopped, and shovelled, and shovelled and shovelled and … finally it did not just spin in place but backed out.

Stuck it had serendipitously leveled the trailer to so close to perfect, that considering our options, we just shoveled some more and put the camper right back where it had been stuck, though now with ample area around to walk and service everything needed should we stay overnight and now after 1700 it looked like that was going to be necessary.

Dry, private camping, waiting

And it was. And there was no news even as a few trucks arrived, trying to get to Prince George, unaware of the closed road.

We finally met a park ranger returning from the far side of the barricade. The news was they’d closed the road at 11 ish, and at 12 ish the day before an avalanche had crossed the road. A path was punched through the snow and debris, but the helicopter snow bombers could not fly because of the high winds and the forecast did not make that likely for another few days, Monday at the earliest.

So we settled in not wondering if or when, because by Monday I needed to be home in Cold Lake.

Where the snow had fallen and was melting warmly into the ground, in drops by drops even off the deck railing out my door.

Home Free

And we sort of celebrated Valentine’s Day, early in the mountains and late at home with roses.

Traditions

Now faded in the late stages of colour and life.

Snow at the Lake

One can only enjoy the quiet and solitude

of mountains, snow, and water.

The Camper Gets Dusted
The Camper Gets Dusted

 

 

Call Home from Nowhere
Call Home from Nowhere
The Lakeview at the End of the Road
The Lakeview at the End of the Road
Red Canoe on the Way Down
Red Canoe on the Way Down
 Looking On
Looking On
Colour and Water
Colour and Water

 

More Colour and Water
More Colour and Water
The Island
The Island
Patterns
Patterns
Patterns Again
Patterns Again
Colour on the Way Out
Colour on the Way Out

Just a bit of fun, snow and lake and colour and …

A short walk.

That’s all for today.

Snowy Morning Pines and River

Snow by the Athabasca
Waking at the fresh hour of 9 the light snow falls everywhere around dampening the sounds, covering the views and clearing the mind … and making the photography some of my favorite: not cold at -2, not too wet, and diffused, specular light everywhere!

Path into the Woods
Path into the Woods
Deeper on the Path
Deeper on the Path

 

Knotty Tree
Knotty Tree

 

Pines with a View to the Foothills
Pines with a View to the Foothills

 

Pines and the Athabasca River
Pines and the Athabasca River

 

Up River
Up River

 

Down River
Down River

 

Path Down River
Path Down River

 

Path in the Pines
Path in the Pines

 

Path in the Pines 2
Path in the Pines 2

Quite often in life, how you orient yourself determines what you see, how you perceive it, and what you can do with it.
The same path, with a different perspective, is … enticing.
See the world as God’s invitation to engage and enjoy and provide care and beauty to others, all others.

And sometimes, taking a better view of the same thing produces a whole new understanding, and perspective.

Path in the Pines 2
Path in the Pines 2

Early Morning Mountains

Early Morning Mountains
Kathie needed something besides the ground to sleep on so she found this for a weekend to the mountains.

The basics upgraded, with highway sandings
The basics upgraded, with highway sandings

On the way it became obvious that a sway bar hitch was needed. As the roads became skating rinks at Hinton, traffic slowing to a crawl behind a smart semi driver, more than one slide and slip gave proof that this hitch more than paid for itself: without it we would have seen the ditch spinning out of control.

The Lifesaver: Getting Hitched Right
The Lifesaver: Getting Hitched Right

The unit had all sides, but the fantastic piece is this time of year the campground is deserted for the most part, and even after all the delays, we arrived, the third vehicle only in the campground. It’s mountain air, fresh, cool and quiet, next to a flowing river.

The Backside
The Backside

And me, the put it on your back or leave it behind, suddenly had on my back, well the back of my truck, a camper, not mine, to provide electricity, and warmth and comfort needed at these advanced years. And the freedom, freedom relative to the shakes, fatigue, weight loss, insomnia, and fear of the previous years … well the comparison is like night and day; death and life.

The Dark side, there’s always a dark side.
The Dark side, there’s always a dark side.

It took an awful lot of hard work to get this borrowed trailer ready for the trip, for use after being in moth balls for the last three years plus.
But here it is: all comfortable and well, pristine air in no short supply. And in the morning light, the views as always prove renewing. That’s something I’ve needed after the last 3 years. That was a darkside.