Hill Walkers

Here is another scene from Scotland.  JK and Carolyn ventured through three days of walking the West Highland Way.  It was very rainy before, during and after those three days.  The scenery was spectacular and lush, and also reflected in the puddles on the trail.  Somehow the moving clouds and unexpected beams of light brought the landscape to life as muted tones shone brightly and shadows enhanced them… just for a moment before the strong colours retired into fog once more.  Hill Walkers.jpg

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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.

Hunt Cam Season Two

I’m not a hunter, but I am interested in what leaves all those tracks and signs in the woods before I get there and after I go.  Sometimes I see the deer, moose, elk, coyotes, squirrels, birds… but what are they up to when no one is around?  When they are going about their own business rather than keeping an eye on trespassers?

It has been a year since I put out the hunt cam, and this time I nearly forgot to pick it up.  After a week just as hunting season fires up, I worried it would be gone.  There is was, just as I left it in plain sight (if you walked into squirrel town in the bush past the creek).  So lets see who did walk into the camera’s range.  Ignore the dates and times – I didn’t bother to set them.

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The resident squirrel, of course.

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And these are everywhere in the fall.

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There’s a chubby cheeky fellow.

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And another? Or the same one?

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Then an unexpected arrival. A feral domestic kitty cat? You have to be tough to survive out here.

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Another cheeky fellow. No wonder he gets excited in the bush if there are squirrels, birds, rabbits and cats out there!

A Good Pair of Sandals

I’m washing my sandals today.  It’s raining and my sandals are outside because they came home so dirty yesterday.  I don’t think I’m tough on sandals, but they never seem to last long.  Each year I go through two or three pairs.  Luckily, I’ve found that cheap ones last about as long as the big name ones!  One summer I had new Merrells that went back to the store within the hour.  Since then I know to avoid flimsy little Velcro flaps on the heel straps.  I bought Columbia’s product next.  They lasted three weeks before straps and soles parted company.  For the price, I sure was expecting more.

If any sandal designers are looking for some tips, I’m a consumer with a lot to report.  I’d be a good sandal tester, too.  Keep me in free sandals and I’ll put them through their paces!

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My start of summer collection.  Some of these have survived, but none without repair.DSCF1606

Mud seems to be the major downfall of most sandals.  The straps don’t stay attached the sole.  Some are stuck in with plastic pegs, others just glued in.  Neither of these designs works very well in our famous Alberta mud.  A good sandal has a lot of Velcro to be sure the mud doesn’t interfere with the straps.  You need your sandals to be tight to avoid ankle injury in the slippery mud.DSCF1604A solution to the strap problem is to screw them into the sole.  However, when you have been stabbed in the heel by screws a few times, you can understand why this is not a great solution.  A glue gun does the best job, but has to be redone after every trip to the creek.  DSCF1605

If the straps are too long when tightened, they get caught on undergrowth and tear open.  These straps have had some surgery to shorten and reinforce them.   DSCF1603There is a lot to a pair of sandals.  Pity there is always an Achilles heel.

The only pair of sandals I’ve been able to use for a proper shoe lifetime was a pair of Nikes.  I had two pairs that, together, lasted six or seven years.  But, for the price, I could have six or seven pairs of other brands.  At least what I use my sandals for is cheap and never-ending entertainment 🙂

Late Summer Walking

The dogs love walking in the late summer and fall for one reason in particular: fool hens!  Nothing is more fun than startling a big noisy bird out of the grass.  And then another!  And another!  After I recovered from a near heart attack, I got this snap of the action.   You can see three dogs and a hen, all in a whirl.S0483403When we arrived there was a large prey bird in the trees, staring down at the grass.  It probably had an eye on a fool hen smorgasbord.  We ruined a nice opportunity, but maybe we saved a life.

The rest of the walk was less eventful.  Just a nice sunset and a bit of a scramble through ruts and fallen trees on an old lover’s lane.

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