Saturday, February 21, 2009

Road Trip

Kananskis Rock

I was more than happy to have left Highway 1 behind, as I headed south on the Sibbald Trail road towards Sibbald Lake. From there I would take the right fork that takes you down through a canyon over to highway 40 or by its proper name, the Kananskis Highway. The morning was shaping up nicely with the sun now above the eastern horizon in a crystal clear sky. I hate to date myself, but I remember a time many years ago when the road quit at Sibbald Lake, and from there you needed a four wheel drive, working your way through the canyon with the creek to contend with and in places driving in the creek.
That also reminds me of my 1972 Bronco that I owned at the time that I would love to have back today. I believe that my Bronco was probably the finest bronco in the province of Alberta at the time. I should have scanned a photo to show you this fine looking ride, that had every conceivable accessory that was available from 'Duffy's Bronco' a custom shop out of Los Angeles. Remember that in those days there were no SUV's and at the time Broncos and Jeeps ruled. My Bronco turned heads on the streets and I once was offered a corvette in trade. When I said no thanks, the owner of the corvette said "I don't blame you". I realized that I had been day-dreaming and probably had missed opportunities for photos since entering the canyon. I was saddened to see that logging was on going with stacks of cut timber near the road, waiting to be hauled away, probably to the mill in Cochrane. The sun shinning on the Rockies was stunning and I pulled over several times to capture the moment. Upon picking up highway 40, I headed north to highway 1, then after a few kilometers on highway 1, I turned north on to the cut-across to highway 1A. I then headed east towards Cochrane, but planned on turning north on to the 'Forestry Trunk Road'. Once I was on the FTR, I watched for the turn that would take me across the 'Wild Cat Hills' over to the 'Grand Valley Road'. I was nearing the GVR when I spotted what would prove to be the 'Catch Of The Day' and a first for me. In a grove of trees near the road was a 'Northern Hawk Owl' looking for its next meal. I pulled my truck over and said a prayer that the owl would not leave his perch. This NHO was a first for me and I tried to calm down and get a decent capture. The Northern Hawk Owl is not likely to be confused with any other owl. This is one of the most diurnal owls. Although uncommon, this medium-sized owl breeds over most of northern Alberta and south along the mountains to Banff. In winter it is occasionally seen as far south as the Montana border. These sporadic irruptions are good times to spot these owls. This distinctly Hawk-like or Falcon-like owl is usually seen perched in a high vantage point, as this one was, scanning for prey. I managed to get several good photos, before the owl launched in to the air and was gone. Back under way, I picked up the Grand Valley Road and headed north before turning east and hooking up with the Big Springs Road, that would take me over to the QE2 and home to Calgary. I found myself day-dreaming once again, however this time it was all about Northern Hawk Owls. Later.

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