Sunday, September 19, 2010

Missing In Action!

What a summer we have had with the cool weather and all, were some of my thoughts as I drove the Sibbald Trail that starts off of highway #1 west of Calgary. Friday night's forecast brought the promise of clearing skies for Saturday morning, and I knew that it would probably not last beyond several hours before once more the skies clouded back in. I was reminded of a conversation that I had earlier in the week, with some of the ham's that I talk to on the various ham bands. Someone had been complaining about the summer that was missing in action, and he had stated that he had not seen the sun all summer. I disagreed, stating that if he had gotten up in the morning, that he would have seen the missing in action sun as it rose on the eastern horizon.
Anyone that pays attention to the weather knows that as a rule the skies will clear out overnight, with clear skies in the morning the norm. These clear skies may not last long, but regardless the sun rises to greet those of us that know the morning starts before 6:00am!

Earlier, I had left home with very foggy conditions, although this did not concern me, as I could see stars from time to time in breaks through the fog that did not extend up to high from the ground. As I drove westward while enjoying my first coffee of the day, I realized that I was to early in my march west along highway #1. I knew that shooting-light would not happen for another hour, so as I came up on the Cochrane turn-off, only visible on my Garmin navigator, I decided to pull in to the Petro-Can service station just past the over-pass. Once I had parked, I tilted my seat back, and relaxed while reading the morning paper that I had picked up earlier. The news was nothing to write home about, although I enjoyed the various sections of the paper that brought me up to speed on what was happening in the world at large. Funny how it goes, over the years as technology has advanced, I have come to embrace all the various devices allowing me to stay connected. However, one of the things that I have not gotten away from is reading a newspaper. I subscribed to a electronic edition of the paper for a time, and the experience left me cold. I found that the software that supports reading a paper on line, leaves something to be desired, and besides I miss the smell of a freshly printed paper with my first coffee of the day!
A half-hour later, I came up on the turn to the Sibbald Creek Trail turn-off, and as soon as I turned south, I could see the glow of the early morning dawn breaking through the layer of fog that lay to the east and somewhat below me as I climbed in altitude.
The Rockies looked stunning in the early morning light with a fresh layer of snow on them. I was pleased to see that my timing was not to far off, as the trees were changing their colors in the high country of the Kananaskis. Although they were not at their peak, I was still pleased with the timing of my drive out this way on what was proving to be a spectacular start to the day.

As I passed the junction with the Powderface Trail, I remembered when I first made this drive in my 1972 Ford Bronco. The Sibbald Creek Trail ended as it came up on the Powderface Trail that took you south over to the Elbow Valley west of Bragg Creek. Instead of taking this turn, and with a four-wheel-drive vehicle it was possible to follow a rough trail further west, and finally while carefully manoeuvring a mostly dried creek bed you could make your way down to highway 40, that at the time was just a dusty road with countless bailey bridges that allowed you to travel to Kananaskis Lakes.

Upon reaching highway #40, or the Kananaskis highway as I like think of it as, I turned south, and sometime later as I drove through the Galatia Gap in highway 40, I became lost in my thoughts as I looked upon the beauty of the Kananaskis Valley in the early morning light. The words that describe this valley are many, however one word comes to mind "Breathtaking" and that is how I think of this valley and have since the first time that I discovered it all too many years ago. I had a destination in mind on this morning, and that was wedge pond, that lies just off of highway #40 below the slopes of "The Wedge" to the southeast. Upon arrival, I parked my truck and with my camera and tripod, I walked down to the pond. There was some cloud shaping-up, but for the moment nothing of serious consequences. I found one other photographer about, who like myself was here for the beauty of it all. He soon departed, and as I stood alone in the early morning sunshine and looked upon the beauty of the Kananaskis, I felt very blessed to live in such wondrous surroundings. Off in the distance I could hear the bugling of a elk that gave me the shivers, and on this morning I knew that I wanted those shivers to continue for the years to come.

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