Sunday, January 13, 2008


For some reason I was having trouble sleeping, so after one last look at my wristwatch and with the time of 5:00am showing on the dial, I called it done and crawled out of bed. After gathering up my camera gear, I was out the door and underway by 5:30am. Of course I would not want to get to far without a coffee to start the day. So where was I heading to on this morning you ask? I had given it some thought yesterday and decided that a visit to the Kananaskis Lakes in K Country was in order. The skies over Calgary were clear, however that probably would not be the case when I got into the rocks closer to K Country.

I'm sure anyone that has relocated to Calgary recently, has a problem getting a grasp on how there can be no snow in and around Calgary, but a hour to the west and your in a winter playground. That proved to be true as I took the turn on to Highway 40 from Highway 1 and headed south with a stream of traffic snaking their way towards Nakiska for a day on the slopes. I pulled my truck into a turnout and shot a photo showing the night sky over Nakiska with dawn beginning to break to the east.

Just as I suspected, when I cleared the turn into Nakiska, I had the road to myself although I knew that later in the morning, the cross country skiers would be out in force for the superb skiing conditions on the trails around the lakes. I passed the Fortress Mountain turn-off and with daylight upon me, I was nearing the turn at the winter-gate that takes you to the lakes. There were a few vehicles parked at the winter-gate with their occupants already hitting the trails in the early morning light. I suspect they were making haste before the stay in bed crowd arrived at a more civil hour later in the morning.

I was nearing the lower lake when a coyote came out of the trees lining the road and began walking down the shoulder of the roadway. He probably had enough of the deep snow, as he looked pooped as I slowed and snapped his photo out of my open window as we both continued down the road. He finally had enough of me and turned up a cut-line.

I reached the turn at the parking lot for the Mount Everest Expedition hiking trail where I pulled my truck over near the edge of the road and as close as I could to a 4 foot snowbank lining the roadway. The sun was plying its magic light on the landscape with a palette of colors spread beneath the broken clouds that wrapped themselves around the peaks lining the upper and lower Kananaskis Lakes. I love the bog that lies just off of the road at the turn into the parking area for the Rawson Lake Trail and anxiously await spring, so that I can shoot photos of the moose that can be found here most days. Before I knew it the morning was slipping by, so with all the photos to be had that the light would allow me, I began my journey back up the Kananaskis Trail towards Highway 1 and Calgary.

I had just came up on the turn into the parking area for the Galatia Creek Trail that takes you up to the lovely Lillian Lake that lies beneath the ridges of Fortress Mountain, when I spotted this superb Rocky Mountain Bighorn Ram grazing just off of the road. I was able to get a few good captures of him before he drifted in to the trees and out of sight.

I also pulled into the Mount Lorette ponds parking lot for a quick walk with my camera hoping to maybe get a photo of the Spruce Grouse that frequent the area around this series of ponds. Today was not the day that I would get any captures, as there was not a sign of any grouse along the trails bordering the ponds. I got back to my truck and realized that this was the perfect place to heat some water and steep a pot of tea. In no time I was enjoying a cup of Dragon Well as I checked out the results of my morning shoot on my Epson viewer. With the cobwebs cleared from my head, I headed my truck the last few miles past Barrier Lake, and with the memories of shooting photos of the kayakers on the Kananaskis River running the Widow Maker as I passed Canoe Meadows, I prepared myself for the rush of cars on Highway 1 ending a perfect day in the high country of Kananskis Country. Later

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