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 » Lake Louise September 7th 2018

My tiny off-shoot of the hikers tackling the mountains around Lake Louise opted for a relaxing day walking on the lake shore and a little way up along the creek that feeds the lake. Hundreds of tourists pursued the same route in the warm sunshine shadowed by the tallest trees of the forest. The green/blue glow of the most beautiful lake in the world kept my mind from seeking any other visual excitement. We sat on a bench to eat an early lunch. Apparently, this bench belonged to a particular chipmunk. The moment we opened our lunches, it jumped on our legs and arms in a life-and-death battle to eat our food before we could. Shouting, hissing, leaping about, waving our arms - nothing scared this scavenger preparing for winter hibernation. We moved on; he didn't. ... read more
Creek feeding Lake Louise
Rocky Mountains at dawn
Lake Louise

North America » Canada » Alberta » Canmore June 8th 2018

June 8 Benchland Trail, Canmore Warmth bathed us from our morning start to our afternoon departure. While the best of Skrastins Club hikers tackled the steepness of Lady MacDonald, my group of less ambitious walkers strolled along the lower Benchland Trail. Pine trees still sported bright new tips. Aspen leaves twinkled in the pale sunshine. Dandelions have colonized the trail edges, interrupted by white flashes of a few tiny flowers. Columbines stretched their bowed heads above the leafy carpets. June 15 Sundance Canyon, Banff With the threat of rain, yet the sight of bright blue sky between puffy white clouds, I set off fully protected by rain pants, waterproof jacket, and wide brimmed hat. To promote better access for lots of people, the path was paved for quite some distance. The Bow River marshland startled us ... read more
Ahh! Blue sky and puffy clouds!
Unexpected view of a big river
Quiet reflection

North America » Canada » Alberta » Kananaskis Country May 18th 2018

May 4 Bow Valley The brightness of fresh green delighted our eyes on this first hike in the mountains for the year. Cold waters reflected mountains and the sky, behind a screen of fuzzy pussy willows. Long, straw grasses lay matted over tussocks, hiding tiny shoots of growth. May 11 Troll Falls Troll Falls is our reward at the end of a gentle stroll through the woods. The rushing fall of water hasn't yet melted the icy crusts of snow. Around some corners and up the hill we find ourselves overlooking the recently-opened new Kananaskis Golf Course, surrounded by darkly looking mountain peaks. May 18 Lusk Creek Sculptural trees and stumps transcend the reality of past fire that made a prairie of a forest. Vistas display the beauty of mountains and valleys, playing with our imaginations. ... read more
Pussy Willows confirm it's spring.
Many Springs screened by Pussy Willows
Crocus peeking through the grasses

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Field February 16th 2018

In the freezing cold, we clambered into the bus and settled our many layers into the overhead bins and under the seats. As the landscape flattened out into the farmland west of Calgary, the magic of pale orange light dawned on the far-away high mountain glaciers. Steadily the dawn lit the spare clouds and sculpted the minimalist contours of the hibernating grain fields. When we were into the mountains, overcast skies subdued the dramatic mountains into a palette of greys. Snow drizzled onto the roads. Wind was made evident in its absence because evergreens were heavily draped in snow blankets. The snow blobs ranged on fence posts cheered us with their inexplicably comic character. Emerald Lake and the Lodge appeared in its stunning winter wonderland guise. Roof tops were piled feet deep with snow perched in ... read more
Snow-capped peak
The Three Sisters
Mountain view

North America » Canada » Alberta » Lake Louise January 26th 2018

International ice sculptures enticed me to wake extraordinarily early to join the Skrastins Outdoor Club day in Lake Louise. While the others energetically strapped on snow shoes and skis, Candace and I drifted in an out of the Chateau. Celebrating the beauty of nature was a theme in the sculptures, which many interpreted in quite human-centric ways. The backdrop of the frozen, snow-covered lake and the craggy mountains added energy to the superb technical skills. Wonderfully, the light changed from moment to moment. Clouds were heavy and towering, yet they parted for the sun to blaze through, creating a vision of ethereal fantasy high above us.... read more
Last Frontier
Catch Me If You Can

North America » Canada » Alberta » Banff August 28th 2017

After a full Western breakfast, Ann and I drifted along Banff Avenue to the Bow River. The warm sunshine encouraged us to take the riverside path, just to see what people were doing. When the pedestrian bridge loomed over us, we crossed it. The shady path enticed us further along, as we joined other tourists on the gentle trek. Where the river narrowed, the sound of rapids drew us up stairs and down stairs, up the path and down the path. Our reward was the crashing water of Bow Falls, and the placid beach where boaters launched onto the river.... read more
Bow River rapids
Bow River rapids
Bow Falls

North America » Canada » Alberta » Kananaskis Country August 18th 2017

Towering mountain scenery surrounded the trailhead, encouraging us up the initial incline. Our way began through sun-dappled woods sprinkled with our wild friends - Fireweed, Paintbrush , and a new friend for me, Grass of Parnassus . The view widened as we entered an avalanche area now dominated not by the grey fallen trees but by the vibrant regrowth of pines. The green undergrowth was aggressive enough to narrow the path to footstep width, making me wonder if the path will exist by next year. Short of our destination, the persistence of plants had completely obscured the path to the tarn. We capitulated and ate lunch on deadfall overlooking Marushka Lake. Our shortened walk and quick return was unsat... read more
Hiking into the mountainous infinity
Stripped tree standing tall
Forest asserts its dominance.

North America » Canada » Alberta » Banff National Park » Bow Lake August 11th 2017

The warm temperatures of this summer soaked into us as we walked up the sun-dappled trail. Tree roots made a crazy staircase through the forest undergrowth of red, yellow and purple wild flowers. Water is abundant enough that we crossed six rivulets, with rough stepping stones thoughtfully placed by others. Our already slow group divided into "bit faster" and "bit slower", and since the scenes were beautiful, I stayed with the latter. As we moved into a more meandering and undulating section, we could see over the dark green tree canopy to the deep turquoise of Bow Lake, overseen by the hanging grey ice of Crowfoot Glacier. Just at the path grew steeper and stonier, our backward glances rewarded us with the shining ribbon of the Bow River cutting through the faraway valley. Turning my attention ... read more
Crowfoot Glacier
Burnt woods
Bow Lake

North America » Canada » Alberta » Kananaskis Country July 28th 2017

After days of baking temperatures in Calgary, I welcomed the fresh breezes in Kananaskis as the perfect start to a day of carefree walking with Skrastin's Outdoor Club. Since dawdling over photography was anticipated, I agreed to be the sweep for our subgroup of about seven seekers of mild pleasures. The start of the walk to Fox Lake was stiffly up a discouraging incline, but the rest of the day was an undulating ramble through dappled woodlands. The light smokey haze from forest fires in British Columbia shifted away from us by mid-day, when we sat on driftwood logs gazing at unimpeded views of the green lake. From the gigantic mountain backdrop to the tiny pale-cream paintbrush, my eyes absorbed the unrehearsed beauty of wild nature.... read more
Mountain vista
Fleabane and Paintbrush
Meadow flowers almost twinkle

North America » United States » New York » New York May 19th 2017

(10:04 a.m.) I am sitting in Chicago airport, having navigated the walking of five blocks to the Clarke/Lake “L” station, taking the train to the airport, finding the check-in, clearing security in rapid time, and buying green tea at Starbucks, where I am using their plug-in to keep my laptop fully charged. The weather has turned from summer into cold, windy rain similar to when I arrived. Luck was with us for our tours! I had to eat a sandwich for a late lunch (3:00) immediately on arrival at La Guardia’s Marine Terminal, a remarkably small facility. I gobbled quickly, but even so my suitcase was all by itself, set off to one side. Getting a cab at the rank was easy – moving forward was not. Our vehicle joined the clogged line to exit the ... read more
Three Dancing Maidens
NY skyline
East River

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