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 February 25th 2022

In bright sunshine we resumed our quest of a couple of weeks ago to find the former house of our good Skrastins friend, Wally, who passed away in early 2020. From the public parking lot in Inglewood, a dozen walkers set out on the Bow River Pathway, marvelling at the striking scenery covered in soft snow. The downtown high-rises were a mere backdrop to the sculptural dark trees and the slashes of open water in the deep blue river. Climbing to Centre Street, we angled west up the path to Crescent Road. Huge new houses greeted us, but our leader Sheila confidently led us along the escarpment to the intersection where Wally’s former house stood peacefully amongst other traditional homes. For a few minutes we reminisced about his exploits as a fearless hiker and contri... read more
Flyover Park
East Village
Bow River

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary February 18th 2022

This week Toby, a lively black poodle, took Dee and sixteen others on a race through the first-class dog park in url= HigginsPark. Well, Toby raced and the group found a more reasonable pace. While the dogs had the run of several differentiated paddocks, we humans kept to our fenced corridor and made our way onto the Bow River Pathway. Under thick cloud, the rushing water of the river reflected the steel blue of an imminent storm. Actually, the air temperature warmed appreciably, and a shrouded sun lit the bare trees. High in one such distant tree perched a Bald Eagle that occasionally turned its face towards our hopeful cameras. We climbed up a slightly icy ridge and turned to see magnifice... read more
Sue Higgins Park
 Pathway between the dogs' parks
Bow River framed by winter trees

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary February 11th 2022

Although the sky was blue and the sun shining brightly, a frigid north wind blew away our planned walk. Amongst the trees and heritage houses of Inglewood, we found more sheltered pathways. The slushy shallows of the Bow River accommodated hundreds of Canada Geese. At first, there seemed to be only a few by the shore. Gradually my eyes saw that the napping ones blended invisibly into the stone strewn shoreline. As we stood by the river, the raucous cries drew our attention way up where more geese soared above us, gliding into their V-shaped flying formations. Turning into the neighbourhood, we posed for a group photo in the new Inglewood Pump Bicycle Track where we might have used our skateboards, if anyone had thought to bring one. No children joined us to play. Further along ... read more
Nellie Breen Park
Geese disguised as rocks
Geese perching on thin ice

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary February 4th 2022

Promised a look at the url=, sculptures in Chinatown, we gathered at Pumphouse Theatre for our gentle 10 km trek. The Bow River Pathway was cleared of snow and ice, allowing our minds to wander and conversation to flow. With the chinook developing behind us, trees and bushes were silhouetted black against the frozen white of the river. The detour around the flood-mitigation work near the Centre Street Bridge brought us to the huge Waterfront Condo development. In acknowledgement of its proximity to Chinatown, Waterfront has insta... read more
Year of the Tiger
Louise Bridge under Chinook clouds
Louise Bridge

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary January 21st 2022

To make our day easier, we first hiked the steep and steady path up to the top of Nose Hill Park (from the John Laurie entrance). For quite a ways, thickly compacted snow on the path challenged our stamina and our icers. The reward at the top was staring at a pair of distant coyotes surveying the dried grasses and patches of snow, no doubt seeking prey. One of our group recommended that we follow the path round, and then follow round in another direction, then round, and then come around by returning to our starting point. We all agreed to this free-form plan. In a couple of places, the path descended more steeply than the ski jumps at Canada Olympic Park, and we detoured to safer ground. Turning back towards the west, we revelled in ... read more
Canada Olympic Park
View of west Calgary from Nose Hill
Coyotes on Nose Hill

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary January 14th 2022

Winter sunlight filtered through the tall poplars of Carburn Park. The sheen on the far edges of the swiftly flowing Bow River revealed ducks and geese floating, dipping and walking on thin ice. Easily punching through the crusty snow with our boots, our group lined up on the shore to watch the antics of the birds basking in warm winds. Traipsing through the woods on well-trodden paths, we came to a tree selected by a porcupine for being well out of the way of predators and the curious. Curled into the fork of the trunk and a large branch, it occasionally opened its eyes to check if we were gone or not. Our leaving was precipitated by a couple of young deer, attracted to the birdseed offered by hand. Really, the bird seed was for the ... read more
Porcupine comfortable up a tree
Grasses in the morning light
Swans on the Bow River

North America » Canada » Ontario » Smiths Falls December 12th 2021

Even in winter, the nature reserve “Limerick Forest” delighted our eyes with endless vistas of tall and tumbled trees along a leaf-strewn path. Incidental sheets of thin ice crackled under-foot, some just deep enough to wet the toes of our shoes, but easily avoided. My niece and great-nieces brought me to this still woodland for exercise and fresh air. Slightly frozen puddles drew their two dogs, Quiche and Newt, into the ecstasy of wet skin, further scrubbed by vigorous rolling in patches of thin snow. The animals’ unbridled joy burst into super-sonic races amongst the trees, terminating in playful, noisy tussles. Daunted only by being placed on leashes when their barking became hysterical, they forgave and forgot the moment freedom was restored. View the video. A boardwalk carried us over the delic... read more
Otter eating fish
Limerick Forest
Snow melt pond in the trees

North America » Canada » Alberta » Lake Louise November 26th 2021

Fine light snow fell most of our day in Lake Louise. Insidious, because the World Cup skiing races had to be cancelled due to excess snow. This meant that lots of international tourists were walking along the lake edge, revelling in the famous but shrouded views. Dangerously, some ventured onto the ice, despite the warning signs of soft ice - anything for this once-in-a-life-time photo. While the others in the hiking club challenged themselves with snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, I went for tea in the Chateau . The covid-era Chateau has banned seating in or near the café - takeout only. The Lakeview restaurant has expanded to the full length of the lobby, plus, a high-end restaurant, the Fairview, has been squeezed into a couple of windows-with-the-view. Actually, all ... read more
Pipestone Creek
Stones in Pipestone Creek
Slate Range above Lake Louise

North America » Canada » Alberta » Banff National Park July 16th 2021

Glad for only a low level of haze from forest fire smoke, the eight walkers in our group followed the sun-dappled woodland path around Johnson Lake . The coolness of green buoyed our spirits after the heat of the past few days. Deadwood from fallen trees in the forest and in the water were fascinating in their many stages of beneficial decay. Discovering the correct unmarked path, we came to an old cabin, once home to a recluse who survived only because of a few non-judgemental friends. The cabin itself, explored by Carla, was empty, but hunks of thoroughly rusted metal outside gave rise to unanswerable questions. Emerging from the forest as we rounded the end of the lake, we were happy to see Black-eyed Susans and other wild flowers. Doz... read more
Cascade Ponds
Johnson Lake

North America » Canada » Alberta » Kananaskis Country July 9th 2021

Our Skrastins group merrily met in front of the re-instituted bus and started off for Troll Falls. The cool, sun-dappled shade refreshed our minds and bodies. Obeying the sign that clearly pointed out the path to Troll Falls, we found ourselves on a road and heading towards another sign that said “This is not the way to Troll Falls.” Nothing could spoil our good humour as we eventually found the right path. With the recent rains and glacier melt, the Falls crashed down their rock face with almost deafening force, but the spray was welcome on what was becoming a hot day. Eager for more, we took the relatively new path steeply up to the Upper Falls. There the water poured over large step stones, creating a wedding-cake of pulsing white water. Leader Myron had seen ... read more
Ribbon Creek
Kananaskis country
Red clover

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