Hard Luck Canyon

20 kilometres south of Whitecourt, Alberta is a hidden gem for picnickers, walkers, and those who like to play in creeks.  Hardluck Canyon is an unexpected beauty spot just a short walk from the parking lot.DSCF0372.jpg

The view from the top is beautiful (in the picture you can’t see the waterfall you cross over).  The tree and cliffs are too big to fit in the camera’s view but the framing of the scene is perfect.  Steep stairs will take you down to the creek for a splash in the swimming hole and a better view of the waterfall.  There is also some interesting art carved into the soft rock:

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Not that I recommend scratching up a beautiful natural area, but is nice to see that some people received inspiration enough to move beyond “I wuz here”, “T + L” or other short words requiring limited effort and spelling ability.

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Brandenburg Gate

Here is J’s third-and-a-half watercolour.  Ever.  We are all rather impressed 🙂

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He was in Germany several years ago and visited Brandenburg Gate.  Early in the morning there was no one else around.  That day the sky was clear and bright, the atmosphere peaceful.  For the painting, J wanted to evoke the sense of tumultuous, weighty history he could feel at the site.

Ogre Canyon

Our trek to Ogre Canyon was quite an adventure.  From acquiring a canine tour guide to finding out that everyone else just drives the six kilometers in, we had some unforeseen encounters; however, we lucked out on getting a ride back out from the man who thought we stole his dog.

Ogre Canyon is near Brule, Alberta (about 8 km away down a bumpy trail).  There is an imposing rock face with a deep cleft.

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The Ogre can be seen in the cliffs near the top of the great crack.  The upper falls will line up to appear to be spouting out of his mouth.  That day the Ogre was just checking out the falls.  Or drooling heavily.

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The convoluted canyon and the lowest of three falls are accessible without climbing.  To enter further requires a bit of scrambling and wet shoes.  The Ogre is difficult to see from the right side of the notch.  There are other strange faces up there with him.

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The current internet craze is to post pictures of scenic places with hard to see people in them.  Can you see the man in this photo?  If so, you can better make out the scale of this canyon.  You might see an angry dog in the rock formations as well.

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The middle falls are reached after passing through a narrow corridor within the canyon notch.  A canyon within a canyon.  It isn’t a long drop for the water but it produces enough spray to make photography difficult.

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The trail continues from the left side of the canyon up the ridge to the top of the falls, but we didn’t carry on.  That was fortunate, as it turned out, because someone was looking for our guide dog.

He was a good guide; to all appearances a practiced hand with knowledge of every side trail, mud puddle and potential picnic spot along the way.  He stuck with us despite our every effort to make him turn back or help other people.  He worked for nothing but the pleasure of a good walk and companionship.  In other words, he knew exactly what he was doing.

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He got us that ride back to town, too.

Formations

Exploring the Peace River is always a new experience because there are so many things to notice.  Things wash downstream with the driftwood, banks slump and slide to create new landmarks, and animals appear or not, depending on their business.

Here are a few of the natural and man made creations we came across on our most recent kayak trip down the Peace.

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Wildflowers adorn an abandoned cabin.

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School’s out.

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Mud is the ubiquitous medium.

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Beware future travellers!

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Aeolian patterns.

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Untouched sand sculptures.

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Water, wind, rocks and sand.

The Peace in a Kayak

We’ve had another wonderful trip down the Peace River in our kayaks; several quiet hours of wilderness, water and relaxation… except the parts where we had to paddle hard across strong currents or schluck through mud (that’s not quite a word, but it’s onomatopoeic).  Still, it was a good sort of tired that we felt when we pulled in to the pick up spot.  We saw great scenery and had a few unusual adventures.  It was a great day.

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Several creeks feeding into the river gave us places to pull into and explore.

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Most of the side waterways were dry… but muddy with fine, sticky Alberta mud.

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Shade was a luxury that was hard to find. 

 

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We had a storm creeping up behind us.  It was a nice reprieve from the heat of the sun.  A quick, wild squall added some excitement to the otherwise peaceful surface of the river.

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The Dunvegan Bridge.  This marks the end of the trip.  Our pick up site is the boat launch under the bridge.