Saturday, May 12, 2012

Breath Of Fresh Air

Having left Calgary a hour earlier, I was now headed north on the Powderface Trail in Kananaskis Country. I had just met a truck headed south and plumes of dust hung in the air. I travelled several kilometers before the dust was gone. Fortunately, this backroad that winds for 34 kilometers between Highway 66 and Highway 68 had little to no traffic at this early hour. It had been several years since I had been down the Powderface Trail and had forgotten how glorious this road was. Alternating between being bracketed so tightly by trees that you felt as if you were winding your way through a tunnel, to wide open plateaus that left you breathless. Switchbacks and tight turns abounded, with little room to pass any oncoming traffic. Once I reached the north end of the Powderface Trail, where it connects with Sibbald Creek Trail (Highway 68), I planned on doing a hike along Jumpingpound creek. I made a planned stop at Prairie Creek where I decided to take a break and go for a short walk. Powderface Creek is also located nearby. The name Powderface Creek commemorates a Stoney First Nations family who lived near the Elbow Ranger Station during the 1920's. Prior to this, the creek was known as Rainy Creek. I was just out of sight of the road when I spotted a Great Gray Owl perched on a snag. I pulled up abruptly and with a short zoom mounted on my camera, I did not expect to get any decent photos before he flew off. The GGO did not appear to be to concerned by my presence. I quickly reached for my 300mm lens and in short order had my first decent photo. Looking through the viewfinder of my camera, I noticed that the GG had perked up and was starring intensely at a spot approximately 10 meters in front of his position on the snag. I was about to look up when he launched and moments later had made a kill of a small animal on the ground nearby. He killed the animal with his peak and then flew off into the trees. I managed to get a few decent photos,although I am not sure as to the identity of his kill, although I believe that it may of been a Meadow Vole. Before long I returned to my truck parked on the Powder Face Trail and continued north to the junction with the Sibbald Creek Trail. Once I reached the junction, I drove west to a series of Beaver ponds that are located along Sibbald Creek Trail. I again parked my truck and worked my way over to a beaver dam, where I shot photos of a family of Canada Geese swimming on the pond. This is where I managed to lose the hood off of my 24/105mm lens. I was not pleased to say the least. I was crawling over the lower part of the dam when my camera snagged on deadfall that made up part of the dam. Somehow, while pulling my camera loose, the hood dropped into the water. .After much searching, and getting soaked in the process, I came up empty. I can see the guy's at the Camera Store getting a laugh out of this next time I am in the store and have to replace it to the tune of 50 bucks. Such is the price you have to pay when your having fun. From here, I drove east on Sibbald Creek Trail until I reached a lookout that would gain me access to Junpingpound Creek. If you want to check out a perfect little trout stream, try the Jumpingpound just inside the Kananaskis Country boundary. The fish are can be very wary, but go late in the day and stick to it. Don't expect to catch large brookies, or many of them.The upper area along the Powderface Trail can be a tough go, but there is a fairly nice, wide path along much of the creek. Its been a number of years since I fished the Jumpingpound and will fish it later in the summer,as Jumpingpound creek and its tributaries are closed to fishing until June 16. I enjoyed my trek along the creek and was pleased that I saw few other hikers out on such a beautiful morning, although a bit on the cool side earlier in the morning. Before long it was time for me to head back to my truck and as I drove back to Calgary, I had images of fishing for brookies on the Jumpingpound swimming in my mind.

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