I have always been at one with nature and animals, from a small age everything outdoors fascinated me and still does today. Setting off at 4:45am from home this morning, I felt like a child again, the anticipation of the day ahead exciting, my journey in the early dawn started quietly, not a lot of humans around at that time of day, perfect. As you can guess I am always on the look out to photograph the beauty of this place and those creatures that inhabit it, its where I call home. Straight away I was presented with, of all things, a huge dark coloured grizzly bear… eating dandies near to the road, I observed this bear (known as Bear 134 in Banff National Park) for a while, he sure was enjoying the fresh yellow flowers, as always I kept my distance and was perfectly quiet in my vehicle. It worried me somewhat that he was close to the road but then he proceeded to climb the bank slightly, here are 2 pictures of him, such a beautiful boy.
Up the bank
OK so now I am smiling LARGE…. as I continue on my travels, in fact just being out there and seeing him surviving was more than enough. As always during the early hours, wildlife tends to forage near or along the highway, this beautiful female elk and her calf crossing the road in front of me and down into a nice meadow was a delight, the young one still had the last remnants of its spots. Again I totally respected this new mom with her baby and continued to observe them from a distance and the little one ran in circles in the meadow, full of joy, life and spirit.
As the sun was slowly rising and the dawn turned into daylight I headed East and then towards Jasper along the Icefields Parkway, always a spectacular journey and today was no exception. Just a little ways into the parkway, I spotted something again along the roadside, something I had not seen before ….. a large porcupine was making his way into the bush, such a funny little chap, I watched in amazement and managed from a distance to get a little picture of him, remember I have a zoom lens on my camera so I try never to disturb these animals and stress them out.
Just a little further along I stopped to take a little walk up to Peyto Lake, one of the most famous Lakes in Banff National Park, this lake never disappoints and even at 6:50am it was spectacular, walking through the forest up to the viewpoint was purely wonderful, no other humans around, so perfectly quiet apart from the delightful noises of nature including a little red squirrel who was intent at telling me a fine tale.
Those of you who like to take a morning stroll (like myself), meet another who likes to take in the beauty of the morning, this beautiful black bear just strolled along the highway in front of me, I kept my distance of course and luckily no more traffic was around, he/she eventually crossed over down a little pathway and then up into the forest, again if I smiled anymore I would look insane, getting out of bed at 4:30 certainly was paying off big time 🙂
Bear foot stroll
Those of you who have visited the Icefields Parkway will know the overwhelming beauty of it, the glaciers, the landscapes, pure wilderness and such a feeling of freedom being out there, I stopped off often to just breathe and take it all in, it certainly refreshes the soul. Normally when I look at clouds I see animals or faces and today I could see faces in the snow check these out….. the first one I saw a face in the middle and the second one just to the right hand side I was convinced it was a skull ….. I guess my imagination was on overdrive today 😉
Face in the middle
Not only are there amazing mountains, snow formations and landscapes the waterfalls (everywhere) are worth stopping by and taking in their power, I am humbled by this whole environment.
Between the trees
Now Jasper is a 4 hour drive from Golden, my intention on setting out was not to actually go all the way to Jasper , however, I was having so much fun I carried on and entered the human world at the Jasper town site, very briefly! Jasper is a very touristy town and was busy, so I departed quickly. The way home proved to be one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had, but before I get there, the Icefields most certainly need a mention, the Athabasca Glacier has been receding rapidly and is a huge tourist attraction due to be expanded to include a walkway.. !! You can imagine my view on that subject!
I do know that Parks are working towards helping the declining Caribou herds, this link provides the information on what they are working on CARIBOU
So as I mentioned earlier just when I thought things could not get any better my heart jumped into my throat when I spotted a parks vehicle and a couple more vehicles parked on the hard shoulder, I glanced around and there she was, the most beautiful mama grizzly bear with her 2 fuzzy wuzzy golden cubs….. I was at first cautious on my approach, the grizzlies were quite a distance away but I did not want to add to the stress from the growing crowd, the parks warden came and spoke to me and told me all about her and said it was okay to enjoy and photograph from this safe distance, again thankful for my zoom lens, and yes I took LOTS of pictures but also just observed this BEAUTIFUL family chowing down on grass, trying to stop myself shaking with delight was a challenge but I managed to get quite a few nice shots, which to me are the essence of the wilderness, their will to survive and just BE hit me and the emotion overload started, after photographing and observing, I reluctantly left the area, as I drove the tears of joy started which necessitated me pulling over!! I was overwhelmed, the whole day was spectacular and I am SO very thankful that I have the opportunity to experience this and hope that through this blog and my pictures you get a little of that experience too. The waiting is over (for those of you who did not scroll directly to the bottom……) here they are XX
Show me Mama
Strolling and Eating
Thank you for joining me on my journey