Sunday, November 15, 2009

Most Exquisite Waterfalls

With the weather continuing to be great for the middle of November and no snow in sight, I decided that a visit to Big Springs Provincial Park (BSPP) was in order. BSPP is located west of Airdrie, and the main attraction is a series of small waterfalls that flow year-round over rocky terraces covered with a lush growth of shrubs and grasses. The park is also the site of an historic fish hatchery and Alberta's first commercial creamery. I do not visit the park in the summertime, as the park is over-run by people and besides that, the best time of the year to visit is in the fall or in the winter. Today proved to be a good time to visit, as the cooler temperatures had allowed for ice to build up around the creek, framing the waterfalls beautifully. I enjoyed wandering up the coulee, stopping to shoot photos whenever something caught my fancy. The temperature was somewhat cooler this morning when I left home at 7:00am than it had been throughout the past week. My truck thermometer was indicating a temperature of -8 Celsius and continued to drop on the drive north to BSPP. I enjoyed the drive in the early morning dawn while playing radio, with contacts made on the various bands. I checked in with Billy-WA6Q who resides in Paradise California, nestled in the foothills of Northern California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. Billy and his friends can be found most mornings chatting on the frequency of 3737 mhz. After a time, I heard Darrell-VE6DDE check in on the VA6CTV repeater in Calgary, and had a conversation with him as he made his way in to work. Darrell told me that Joe-VA6JO had been calling for me on 3700 mhz. With Darrell arriving at his work, I reached for the mic of my HF radio. By now I was northwest of Balzac and headed north towards the junction of the BSPP road. Giving Joe a call, brought a immediate response from him. Joe was in his mobile on his way south towards his farm located in the Vulcan area of southern Alberta. We had no problem carrying on a conversation on ground-wave with a distance of 150 kilometers between our mobiles. Joe and I can be found on 3700 mhz most mornings during the week, and carry on a running conversation in-between stopping for coffee and possibly picking up the paper while making the drive in to work. Before long, Joe was coming up on his destination, and with a promise to call later, I also hung my mic up. I had turned on to the BSPP road that runs west from Airdrie and was tempted to head further west, as the Rockies were stunning in the early morning light. Straight west from my location, and across highway 22 is a area that is dissected by Horse-Creek-Road and I have had success photographing Great-Grey-Owls in and around this road, as well as along the Grand-Valley-Road. However, I knew better than to change plans in mid-stream, as I have done this in the past, and things never work out the quite the way you think they will. I was very pleased upon reaching the parking-lot at BSPP, as not a vehicle was to be seen other than my own. I was about to head up the coulee, but upon giving a last call on 3700 mhz, Egon-VE6EGN responded to my call from his home near Drayton-Valley, west of Edmonton. I knew that I had time before heading out, as this coulee runs East and West, and it would be several hours before the sun penetrated the deeper reaches of the coulee, creating problems with the lighting. Egon and I were soon joined by Andy-VE6KP who lives near Wetaskiwin southeast of Edmonton. The final guy to check in, was Gary-VE6ACO out of Lethbridge. I dallied several more minutes before saying 73 to everyone and with that, I grabbed my camera gear and my extra hoodie along with my gloves, as the temperature was somewhat nippy at -12 Celsius. Still within sight of the parking lot, I shot my first photo and the BSPP did not disappoint with further photos captured as I worked my way up the coulee along this spring-fed-creek. Several hours later, I decided to hang up my camera and head back down to my truck as the sun was now high enough in the sky to be causing me issues with the lighting. As I headed down the coulee, I was already planning my return to BSPP when the first snowfall happens. Till then, Think Snow

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