Friday, July 27, 2018

Canadian Rockies

Canadian Rockies

My beautiful bride has read many stories of the majestic Canadian Rockies but has never actually been there.  Earlier this year we ventured a visit to Banff and Jasper, deep in the heart of the northern Rockies. Though visiting Vancouver, Victoria, Whistler was very nice and interesting...

Vancouver - Stanley Park

Vancouver Skyline with small plane landing

Vancouver - Street Musician from Peru

Victoria - Float Plane Taxi Service

Victoria - Canada's Oldest Chinatown

Victoria - Chinatown Alleyway closed to outsiders

Victoria - Regatta

Victoria - old salts waiting for the regatta starting horn.

Visited the First Nations Interpretive Center in Whistler

Then stopped in Banff for it's tourist shopping district...

some did their best to support the local economy

All very nice But...
it was the famous Canadian Rockies in all their glory we came to see.

As part of the experience, we rode the giant Ice Explorer up and out onto the Athabasca Glacier. 
The driver said we were standing on 85 feet of ice.

The day was actually warm but being out on the glacier
is like standing in the freezer locker section of your local butcher shop.

Early morning a flock of Canadian geese would gather on the small lake 
in front of our cabin at the Jasper Park Lodge. 

A new day dawning on the Beauvert lakefront at Jasper Park Lodge. 
Staff has cleaned and lined up kayaks and canoes for the guests use.

The cruise on Maligne Lake near Jasper was fast and impressive, 
but the mood changed once we arrived at...

Spirit Island... still, quiet and peaceful, an air of reverence.

Motor boats are not allowed to proceed beyond this narrow neck in the lake 
in order to preserve the pristine natural beauty of the upper reaches.

Did we see any bears? Well, yes...
a few lollygagging Black Bears

A couple of Grizzy's browsing for lunch, 

inching closer and closer to a two legged snack...

(Does that couple realize a bear can outrun a horse?)

But my favorite bear story was on a t-shirt in Banff.

Amparo was very impressed with the Canadian Rockies, better than the Alps she says. 
I agree.

Ride safe my friends, 


p.s. next adventure is an Alaska run with the sidecamper in August,  if everything comes together.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

New Mexico Forest Fires

The southern Rockies were very dry in June this summer. Several large forest fires in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado have been serious threats to life and livelihood as the dry brush quickly ignites.

On Tuesday a lighting strike sparked this wildfire that erupted west of Black Lake. A day later it was extinguished by the fire crews. However the smoldering smoke lingered over the area for several days. Thursday the wind  shifted and sent smoke up the Moreno valley causing everyone to stay inside or suffer.

Most people think rain and lightning go together. However lighting frequently happens in the mountains when there is no rain. With these very dry conditions, a small spark, a cigarette or lighting can cause a disaster. This area need a good drenching rain, but none is in the forecast.

Starting near Ute Park, an early June fire east of Eagle Nest burnt 34,000 acres before it was contained. Came within a mile of the foothills town of Cimarron, causing the complete evacuation of this town of 1350 residents and of Philmont, the national boy scout camp.

Through it all, people fought the fires, rescued livestock, struggled to protect their homes, offer aid and nourishment to the fire crews, finally to survive the threat and resume their daily struggle in this land of dry timber.

A new day dawns in Moreno Valley....

Ride safe my friends, every day is a new adventure.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Story of Thunder and Lighting - African Fable

And here is the final installment of the African Fables...

The story of Thunder and Lightning 

A long time ago, both Thunder and Lightning lived among the people on this earth. Thunder was a mother sheep and her son Lightning, a ram. 

Neither one was very popular with the people, for when somebody offended the Lightning, he would fly into a furious rage and begin burning whatever he came across. This often included huts and corn bins, often damaging crops on the farms with his fire.

Occasionally he killed people who got in his way. As soon as Thunder knew her son was misbehaving this way, she would raise her voice and shout at him as loudly as she could, which was very loud indeed.

Naturally the neighbors were very upset, first at the damage caused by Lightning and then by the unbearable noise from his mother that always followed Lightning's outbursts. 

The villagers sent so many complaints to the king, that at last he sent Thunder and Lightning to live at the very edge of the village. He said that they must not come and mix with the people any more. 

However, this did no good, since Lightning could still see people as they walked about the village streets. He found it only too easy to continue picking quarrels with them. 

Once again the king sent for them, "I have given you many chances to live a better life," he said, "but I can see that it is useless. From now on, you must go away from our village and live in the wild bush. We do not want to see your faces here again." 

Thunder and Lightning had to obey the king and agreed to abide by his ruling; so they left the village.  

Angry at the villagers at being banished, Lightning would now set fire to the bush. If it was the dry season this was extremely unfortunate. The flames spread to the little farms of the people and to many of their houses as well.

 Then they would heard Thunder's mighty voice calling her son to order, but it was always after the fact.  It made very little difference in his actions.

The king called all his counsellors together and asked them what to do. After much debate they hit on a plan. "Why not banish Thunder and Lightning completely away from the earth. 
Send them to live in the sky?" 

And so the king proclaimed this order. 

Thunder and Lightning were sent away into the sky, where the people hoped they would not be able to do any more damage. 

Things did not work out quite as well as they had hoped, as Lightning still loses his temper from time to time
and cannot resist sending fire down to the earth when he is unhappy. 

Still today, we can still hear his angry mother rebuking him in her loud rumbling voice. 

We ride in all kinds of weather.
  Dress for the rain and 
don't fear the Thunder.


p.s. Thanks to the folks at Raptor Retreat, South Africa for this fable.