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Wanderlust cured’s Travel Diary

Monday, 10 Aug 2009

Location: Canmore & K Country, Canada

MapThe mission: to photograph wildlife in the Rocky Mountains.

Mission currently successful. Here is my current list:

Grizzly bear - check
Black bear - check
Moose - check
Cougar -
Wolf -
Lynx -
Bighorn sheep - check
Mountain goat - check
Deer (white tail & mule) - check
Bison -
Elk - check
Caribou -
Coyote - check
Squirrel - check
Ground squirrel - check
Beaver -
Pika -
Bald Eagle - check
Pine Martin - check
Salmon (not really on list, but - check)
Gopher - check
Porcupine - (i do have one, but blurry, so not yet)

Plenty more time here to see out the list. Im optomistic about most, some prove extremely elusive, but I shall do my best :)

So I worked 3 1/2 days last week, the rain cancelled any ideas of riding Tuesday, but the clouds had cleared by wednesday afternoon and it was busy, finishing up closer to 6 each night which is great! I only really have one month left at the Ranch and I will miss it alot.

Saturday I dreamt of capturing the moose which I had not yet seen so it was off along "Spray Lakes Rd" as they have been spotted quite frequently along there. This drive certainly gave me more than I bargained for. A hike up to Chester Lake - I did this hike in winter and it almost needed to be a snowshoe. It was alot more uphill than I remember, but really lovely to be outdoors in the sunshine, it was a bright sunny day as the pictures show and this is where the pictures of squirrels & salmon came from in my photo link. On the drive we stopped off at a lodge which is a famous area for its main attraction - the moose! There is a big mud pit on the flats below the lodge which provides certain minerals that the moose need so they come there, and lick/eat the mud. This is where J & I were lucky enough to spot a mother & baby moose. The mother was up to her belly in the mud while the baby hung around the edges, calling her, walking around trying to see if he could get closer to his/her mother. By the time we had taken a few photographs and started driving off the mumma had taken her baby back across the green grassy plains, through a creek and back up into the forest. It was then as though they were never there. I love the wild and the wildlife, the uncontrollable wilderness which you need to have total respect for. It is there and then it is not, you are merely fortunate to be in its presence for a short amount of time. My physical memory only stores so much information so photographs will help me look back upon this adventure and keep the memories alive.

We drove slowly along the gravelly, slippery Spray Lakes Rd. The neverending Spray Lake spreadng out at the base of the mountains, curling its way around, more of it becoming visable as the car drove on. It was almost time to turn onto Hwy 40 and back up to Hwy 1 that I felt the steering tighten and I couldnt move the steering wheel much. Im certainly no car person, but my reaction was to pull off the road and make sure everything was ok - the only thing I could think of was the powersteering fluid had run out, even though I had checked it the weekend before. Popped up the hood and it looked like a snake had wrapped itself around my engine, luckily there is no snakes here (winter too cold) but it was my fan belt wound all around the engine and after 30 mins of playing around and taking one strip of the fan belt off (unsure of the safety level of this) but we made it the rest of the drive home - which reminds me, I need to go buy a new fan belt.

On the Hwy 40 turnoff a large group of Mountain Goats had taken over the corner, cars everywhere, goats everywhere, baaaing madly, licking the sides of the road (there must be something there they like - Salt? Minerals? Bitumen? We made it through, slowly, and were off again. 20 mins down the road we see lines of cars, RV's and trucks on the sides of the road. I knew it was something big, as we got closer people were out of their cars taking pictures, which gave away that it wasnt a bear. A Bull Moose (which is what I had come to see) was munching happily away on the roadside, a metal barrier the only thing between me & it. Check out the photos, these things are massive, and he seemed like a smaller bull. They have such big heads and I never knew they had a black goatie hanging down from their jaw. He was very relaxed and posed for many photos and we were off again. That reminds me, there was a cartoon in the local paper, it had two bears walking off into the distance, one bear said "how was your summer" the other bear replies "ate some berries, posed for some photos, all in all it was a pretty good week". A bit of a play on the length of the Canadian summer. Last week at the folk festival a song was titled "8 days of summer" and basically the message was, if you get 8 days of summer, be grateful! The day ended with taking Luc out for a walk and visiting friends for a few drinks and a catch up.

Sunday turned out to be a lazy day even though a hike had been planned, but it will wait. Sunday night was Bison BBQ with live music which a friend of mine had organised. The burgers were great, the food was fantastic and sitting down around a big campfire saw out the end of my weekend.

As I sit here, its Monday, a day off, which I now hold dear as I look for full time work which will take me past summer (as the Ranch shuts down) and back to 5 days a week will be a shock to the system - but also essential for the savings for taking 2 or more years off work!! Woo Hoo!

Three day working week this week and off to Crankworks, a downhill mountain biking event/festival/thing. http://www.crankworx.com/whistler09/
10.5 hours of driving either way (through more amazing Canada), a bit of riding and watching all the events should fill up my 4 days off! Looking forward to it!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful Mum for Friday 14th August!! I probably wont post until after the weekend - I love you and hope you have a fantastic day!

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