Monday, December 31, 2007

Mad Dogs & Englishmen

The days may be getting longer however you wouldn't know it by watching the eastern horizon as I found myself doing, looking for a hint of the dawn that was not due for another half hour. That's how long it had been since I had cleared the Calgary city limits on my way west towards Canmore. I had the itch to get out of town as it had been several weeks since I had made a effort to get on down the road a ways. The day was shaping up fine as I made my way west with my radios murmuring softly in the background. The occasional glance at my GPS set for wide view was displaying the various roads and creeks nearby and I noted that the satellites tracking me were indicating that my speedometer was out by three kilometers per hour. I was in no hurry as I had left home with plenty of time to grab another coffee in Canmore before making my way up to Spray Lakes in the Spray Valley where I planned on checking out the dog-sledding action on this day.

Dawn was quickly approaching as I made my way past the turnoff for highway 40 and Kananaskis Country, with the Rockies beginning to show various hues of pink as the light began to apply its magic paint to all that snow coating them. By the time I came up on the turn into Canmore the day was well underway with the sun casting its warming rays on man and mountain. After a quick stop for a coffee to go, I made my way through a very quiet downtown and across the Bow before making the turn up the Spray road.

I made a number of stops for photo-ops as the lighting was wonderful with soft dreamy images presented on all the cardinal points of the compass rose. I was making good time as I knew that the sled dogs with their human cargo would not get underway till probably around ten. I reached the Spray Valley and had pulled over for a photo-op when I was passed by the "Mad Dogs & Englishmen" dog sledding truck with its load of dogs and sleds making its way to the off-load point. The name of this dog sledding operation makes me think of the 1970's live album by Joe Cocker, featuring a fusion of rock and soul. I hate to date myself by telling you that I saw Joe Cocker in concert when I was much younger. I will have to ask Russell, the owner of "Mad Dogs & Englishmen" about the name sometime.

I arrived to total bedlam as dogs and handlers with a topping of excited visitors all were milling about the five sleighs being made ready to get underway. With orientation on dog-sledding, dog handling and equipment out of the way and the dogs harnessed to their sleds, it was time that each team hit the trail for a tour of the Spray Lakes in Kananaskis Country, some of the most spectacular scenery in the Canadian Rockies. I shot many more photos on this day of the many activities happening in and around the Spray Valley, however I will have to save them for another day as its time for me to make my way into Canmore for a planned lunch at the Crazyweed. See-ya on the trail.

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