Friday, February 22, 2008

In Them There Hills

Canon EOS with 500mm - f16 - 1/15 sec @ ISO 100 - 1 stop

Not a cloud in sight as the day day began in fine fashion with the dawn breaking over the eastern horizon creating a maze of tree trunks and branches in this compressed photo I shot along the Bow river. Later in the morning I would be picking up my daughter Jennifer at her house for a drive through the country-side northwest of Calgary.

Meanwhile I had plenty of time to check out what was happening at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, as Jennifer would not be getting out of bed anytime soon. The days continue to get longer with sunrise at 7:50 am and decent light for photos much earlier. Before long I will began to have problems getting up early enough to see the start of each new day that arrives at dawn.

The temperature was sitting at -4 Celsius as I parked my truck and entered the sanctuary, walking towards the river with a stop at the lagoon to check out the waterfowl that have spent the winter in Calgary and occupy all the open water available. Already the sky was filled with flocks of ducks and geese going out to feed on this beautiful morning. In no time I realized that it was time to head back to my truck and pick up Jennifer who lives nearby in Inglewood.

Jennifer was ready to go when I arrived to pick her up, which was a pleasant surprise considering that we keep different hours if you know what I mean. With a stop at the Tim Horton's drive-through for coffee and a belt, we were underway. I thought that we would visit the tiny hamlets of Bottrel, Dogpound and Watervalley to the northwest of Calgary. Jennifer had her camera along as well so we had fun along the way stopping for photo-ops whenever she saw something of interest to shoot photos of. Of course that gave me the opportunity to shoot photos of her such as when she attempted to crawl up on a hay bale taller than herself with one hand while hanging on to her camera with the other. In no time we found ourselves in Bottrel which is located north of Cochrane on highway 22 and several kilometers west on the banks of Dogpound creek.

The historical Bottrel general store is not to be missed when you are in the area as it has been in continuous operation for 106 years and is a fascinating store to visit. There is nothing that you cannot buy in this one store that would have you driving all over Calgary to find and purchase. Jennifer and I enjoyed the company of the resident cat and dog that greeted us and everyone else entering the store.

Also located beside the Bottrel general store is a campground along the banks of Dogpound creek that is pretty as a picture in the summertime. I am sure that this is a very popular place during camping-season with the creek meandering through the shaded camp-sites. While we were there shooting more photos than actually making purchases, residents of the area and other visitors made the stop for drinks and maybe ice-cream to go, or maybe kick back and take it all in with pleasant conversation while sunning one-self on the porch.

Our day did not end here but continued with stops in the hamlets of Dogpound and Watervalley, then over to Cremona where we cut east over to Carstairs for lunch at the Burger Baron (on Jennifer's list) the first drive-through chain in Western Canada, first established in Lethbridge in 1957 with many locations through-out Alberta. From Carstairs we trekked up the 2A to Didsbury before taking the QE2 home. What a fine day it was while out and about with my favorite kid wandering the back roads of Alberta.

Interior of the Bottrel General Store

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