Been Touring


Been Touring

Join me on tours and holidays I have taken in Canada and around the world. My notes were written while travelling and only lightly edited to maintain fresh impressions.

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary October 9th 2020

Our meet-up in Edworthy Park brought together 17 C hikers for a brisk day draped in vibrant fall colours. Following our leader, Dee, we warmed up in the sunshine as we walked through the park’s playground out to the pathway along the Bow River. The deep yellow grasses were punctuated with sparse, bright-red leaves on Saskatoon bushes, mostly stripped of their dark-blue berries by now. At a different life-stage, bunches of red berries adorned Elder bushes, still draped in pale green leaves. Suddenly our reveries were startled by the blaring horn of a freight train that roared and rattled close beside the walking path. At the bottom of the escarpment, we meandered through nameless woods. Golden leaf-litter led us into magical scenes of reds, oranges, and yellows affixed to dark branches and light pop... read more
Beaver activity
Edworthy Park
 Grassy trail

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary September 29th 2020

In the fall, Calgarians seek out the larchesin their shining golden hues. Every year I have gone to the mountains, where the larches are far away, shining against the dark evergreens and the grey granite mountain slopes. This year, a friend invited me to go with her to Baker Park for a walk. She gleefully surprised me with the brilliant yellows of magnificent larches – surrounding the parking lot! I have never been so close to these uplifting trees! Their colour enhanced the very sunlight. Close to the Bow River, they have the moisture to grow wide and high into the sky. In the distance was the other attraction of the day – the twinning of Stoney Trail bridge over Bowness Park an... read more
Growing roadway
Larches in Baker Park
Nature's artistry

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary September 11th 2020

In the bright sunshine of a glorious summer’s day, Skrastins C hikers gathered in Spruce Cliff at the parking lot by Pie Junkie (temptation for later). Following our leader, Jay, we walked a short distance on the street to Quarry Road Trail, and a short distance downhill on that trail to Douglas Fir Trail. Fall was just coming into its natural garb, with flickering yellow leaves, tall pale grasses and tiny ripening berries. A few hikers chose to take the infinity of stairs up the looped path on the escarpment. The rest of us meandered along an easier path to the top of the same stairs. From our height on the escarpment we could see the downtown towers over the pointy pine trees (no Douglas Fir). Far below was the river... read more
Bow River Pathway
Downtown from Spruce Cliff
Douglas Fir Trail

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary September 4th 2020

A sprite invaded my mind and persuaded me to walk to the Crossroads Farmers Marketto fulfill my minor need to buy the cauliflower I forgot last Sunday. The sprite argued that this was one of the last warm days of summer, and furthermore that the distance was certainly no greater than the walks I do when hiking. Plus, the route was mainly along park-like streets and paths. The mid-morning air was a delightful blend of freshness and promised warmth. I walked through the spreading trees of 2 Street, skirted the park on the escarpment, angled along Meredith Road, crossed Memorial Drive, and moved into the green-ness of the river pathway. The relative absence of potentially infectious fellow strollers and bikers allowed me to notice how the Bow bounced in its blueness, reflecting the happiest of prairie ... read more
Crown Surplus
Smithbuilt Hats
Inglewood sign

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary August 28th 2020

On the last beautifully warm day of summer, a good number of C Hikers from the Skrastins club gathered on the eastern edge of Nose Hill Park. Ann led us round the gentler slope of the park, avoiding the unnecessarily aggressive stairs to the top. Grasses waved golden heads around the Scotch Thistles, which were fuzzily going to seed, as so many plants were at this time in the season. Most attractive were the orange-red rose hips, just beginning to ripen. One last Alberta Wild Rose shone in the sunlight. Deeper into the park, we walked through groves of Trembling Aspen, enjoying the cool air as a respite from the sun’s heat. The path dipped into ravines and small coolees. A few flowers still shone through the grasses, especially mauve Wild Geraniums an... read more
Nose Hill Park
Wildflowers on Nose Hill
Wild Rose

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary August 21st 2020

The Bebo Grove Stormwater Pond in west Fish Creek Park spread its sunny hillsides in welcome to the C group. Although the pond was modestly filled after a dry spell, our leader Suzanne showed us how far and wide it flooded under the onslaught of July’s rain and hail. As we walked along the close-by path, Wendy’s keen eyes caught sight of a wading bird picking through the mud for edibles. A few steps away, ducks bobbed and dived for luscious underwater greens. We wandered through a hundred shades of green; most of the wildflowers have pulled back and gone to seed, already preparing for fall. From full sun we passed into a cool, deeply shaded woodland leading us up a stiff hill to the ridge of the escarpment. The view of Fish Creek itself was ... read more
Nonbreeding Spotted Sandpiper
Fish Creek
Geometric deadfall

North America August 12th 2020

Hidden by the green-belts along Crowchild Trail and Silver Springs Gate is the almost miraculous community project of the Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs. There are a lot of determined, persistent gardeners in the neighbourhood. We entered from the south into a broad treed and grassy expanse beside the tennis courts, giving the pleasant sound of the ball bouncing to take over from traffic noise. In the woodland setting, special flower gardens are named. The Oak Grove first entices with the classic leaves on oak trees along the pathway and then invites walkers to rest a while at the picnic tables. The Oval Garden catches attention with multitudes of showy blooms, carefully planted to look like an English country garden. More restrained is the Shade Garden, which nevertheless draws the eye to modest dark-red leaves and ... read more
Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs
 Oak Grove
Oak leaves

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary August 7th 2020

The deluge of rain in the early morning gave way to a beautifully cool, sunny morning for the C Hikers as we strung out on the paths of Fish Creek Park along the sparkling diamonds in the rushing Bow River. Bounteous wildflowers greeted us again. New this week was Tansy, dotting marshy scenes with bright yellow blooms. Surprising us, the Sea Buckthorn was bulging with dark red-orange berries. The red bark and white berries of Gray Dogwood reminded us of British Columbia's floral emblem. Despite vehement advice from two posturing fishermen, a few persistent members of our group found the path from the verdant park up to the well-barriered walkway across the bridge on Stoney Trail over the Bow River. Vehicles pounded past us at high-speed as we trudged along in our boots and knapsacks. As ... read more
Fawn and Doe
Bow River

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary July 24th 2020

The C Hikers met at Elliston Park under gathering dark clouds. As Wendy remarked, a few “chinks of blue sky” shone through. Our mood was cheery when Sylvia led us part way around Elliston Lake, up to 17 Avenue, and onto the Calgary Greenway. Spreading out along the groomed path, we found our pace. Because this part of the Greenway is along Stoney Trail, we had the weird sensation of looking one way to see thundering goods trucks and the other way to see the wildness of our prairie landscape. As the route moved slightly up hill and down, wildflowers took over from long grasses. Goldenrod and Vetch spread in broad swathes, a background for Oxeye Daisies and Yellow Toadflax. Red and white clover formed a ... read more
Yellow Toadflax and Purple Vetch
Elliston Park entrance
Cultivated roses

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary July 10th 2020

Fourteen “C” hikers and guests started out early for our 8 km walk in sunny Nose Hill Park. Soon after starting on the paved path, leader Dee took us up a more rough and ready path that resembled a small mountain creek, because of the deluges we have had this spring and summer. At first happy with trees, bushes and wild roses, we were ecstatic when, towards the south, we entered vast fields of wildflowers. Yellow Sweet Clover and purple Vetch complimented each other in intersecting swathes. Single Gaillardia blooms were precursors to wide vistas of these distinctive yellow-petalled flowers with their reddish-brown button centres. Pale Wild Geraniums, white Asters and mauve Harebells poked out along the pathways, and careful scrutiny revealed that some Wil... read more
Western Wood Lily
Nose Hill Park
Poplar trees

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