Saturday, September 20, 2014

Autumn Travels

Got back from my little jaunt to southern Alberta, visiting friends and family. Places to go, people to be see ….

The yard is looking lovely these days, intense colour before the frost hits:

Self-seeded salpiglossis - favourite of mine.

Pansies and sweet pea hiding in the iris leaves.


Larkspur - an old-fashion plant and another favourite.

And so on that happy note, I headed east and south to the Crowsnest Pass via the Columbia Valley.

Columbia Lake, looking to the southeast.

It seems counterintuitive to me to encounter the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River south of Invermere when I know it best running through Revelstoke, far to the northwest. You have to understand that rivers in this part of the province generally run south and west to the Pacific. (In northern Alberta, the rivers run north to the Arctic. In southern Alberta they run south and east to the Mississippi system.)

Then I looked a the map and realized that I had to consider the fall of elevation off the mountains as well as the path to the ocean, and yes, it all makes sense now!

The purple highlight line is the Columbia River. The yellow area is its drainage basin.

A travellers knows she's in Alberta when Crowsnest Mountain dominates the skyline. This majestic solitary sentinel north of Hwy 3 marks one's entrance onto the prairies.

Crowsnest Mountain with Seven Sisters behind it.

I spent a few days in the Milk River area visiting Aunt Betty and Uncle Wes. It should have been a season of clear skies and dry air, perfect conditions for harvest. Instead, storm clouds built up, bringing no joy to the farmers.

Moody prairie sky - snow's a'comin.

Cousin Eugene blowing chaff and dirt out of one of the combines, knowing that
 the harvest was going to be delayed for the next few days as a
huge low-pressure system moved in from the north.

Aunt Betty and I did a little tour through Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, not far from the farm. The park gets its name from the petroglyphs found on the rock walls along the Milk River.

The Milk River Valley is a wild, almost prehistoric landscape.

Kids love to play on the hoodoos.

If you're not from the prairies, you won't know how rare this sight is: green grass in September.
It's usually a golden brown by now.

The Sweetgrass Hills across the border in Montana kept themselves hid in broody clouds all day.

The Milk River, and on the south side are replica buildings of the original RCMP post established in the 1890s.

Looking north over the prairie.

It was time to head north to Nanton, Airdrie and stops in between.

And this was what greeted me Wednesday morning:

Highway 2 south of Ft McLeod … SEPT 10!!!

I'll take a moment to remind you that the date was September 10. It is technically still summer. Most of the crop is still on the ground. And remember the flowers at the top of this entry?!

Calgary was devastated by the heavy wet unseasonable snow. Travel was hindered by broken tree branches strewn over the streets, thousands were without power - pretty much a grand shit show.

I managed to avoid the worst of it. Had a grand time catching up with friends and family. And then it was time to turn back west.

See this? Blue sky!!

And more blue sky (with time to admire the scenery during one of the many stops for highway construction).

Yes, the storm did dust the mountains with fresh snow that made them very pretty. I like snow … from a distance.

Call me a wuss. I don't mind.

1 comment:

  1. WOW; what a trip. Some fantastic scenery in there. Lucky you (apart from the snow, which I detest).