Our second week in Canmore has flown by. The weather has been on and off, but that's the mountains for you. And it sure beats sweltering in the coastal heat. This has been a very social trip with lots of evening dinners and barbecues. We've got quite a few climbing friends in this area we've not seen for years and we are meeting some new folks as well. One couple, Gary and Kimby, have two kids around Elise's age that she really enjoys playing with. Elise said to us the other evening, "I really like my friends here". Maybe we'll have to move????
This is a picture of Elise and Bella at Heart Creek.
We had a nice family climbing day and the kids got a chance to do a route. These are photos that Derek took of Elise climbing and lowering back down. Cute!
These are a few photos of me climbing that Derek took on the same day. This is a route called The Convincer and is rated 5.12b.
While at Heart Creek, Pam and Kimby went off to do a climb and so did Derek and I. This left Gary in charge of the kids by the creek. When I came back from climbing, Elise was naked from the waist down and riding a metal culvert pipe like a horse. I said to Gary, "What kind of crazy Austrian games have you been teaching my daughter?". Gary is from Austria and we all laughed.
We visited a touristy hike called Johnson Canyon on the advice of some local parents. It turned out to be an excellent hike along suspended boardwalks high over the clear blue waters of the creek below. Three kilometers of walking took us to two different waterfalls, both of which delighted Elise. She walked the entire way and decided she needed to imitate Pam on the way back. Pam was hiking with poles and Elise found two sticks and "poled" her way back, all 3 km worth!
Photos of us on the hike.
The wildflowers are lovely here right now. This is Alberta's official flower, the wild rose.
After the hike to Johnson Canyon, we drove home along the Bow Valley Parkway and finally had some luck spotting some animals. We ran into a group of Elk grazing on the sweet grass beside the highway. This fellow was about 10 feet from the car. That didn't stop multiple tourists from jumping in front of him to take his picture. The say this is one of the leading causes of injuries to tourists each year in the park. I stayed in the car.
We continued our drive and spotted a black object up ahead crossing the road. Sure enough it was a bear, but what we didn't expect were the three tiny cubs that darted out of the trees behind her! Luckily they wandered into a campground, so we took a detour and watched them all forage for food for a good half hour.
Here's photos of momma' with a dirty face from digging in a rotten log.
And here's one of the cubs. Isn't he cute?
We've been trying to catch a glimpse of bighorn sheep or mountain goats, but have had no luck. We drive up the Spray Lakes road behind Canmore at night (a good spotting area), but no dice. Maybe before we leave? However, we have had some great views of the mountains in evening light. This is Ha Ling (formerly known as Chinaman's Peak). Also, it's very windy in this area so Elsie can fly her kite. This is always a hit!
We leave on Friday and have really enjoyed our two weeks here. Our house is very comfortable and it's been nice to vacation with friends in the area, a rarity for us. We plan to spend about five days in the Kootenays on the way home and will be in Squamish for the month of August.