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 » British Columbia » Trail February 15th 2019

As ever, Emerald Lake pleased us with its high-piled drifts. Sun-brightened snow drew us along a walking path into the dark woods. Probably a gentle stroll in the summer, the way was narrow - literally two-feet-wide. Slight mis-steps took us down to our knees in soft dry snow. Although the trees reflected no light, we heard the birds chirping from their depths on this moderately warmer day. After all, we were also hopping about, finding pleasure in our conversation. Not so solitary. We met another walker. Unable to pass on the tramped-down path, we danced into the deep powder, back and forth onto the harder surface. A little ways on, a small group valiantly stood to one side for us to slip-slide past them. Our light laughter spun out into the frozen sunlight.... read more
Hardy mallard
Swan blobs
Snow cone

North America » Canada » Alberta » Banff National Park December 28th 2018

The mountains boasted crisp cold on this morning a few days after Christmas. Bold skiers and snowshoers from the Skrastin's Outdoor Club strapped on their gear for an active day at Lake Minnewanka. We, the "townies" stayed on the bus for the short distance to Banff. With great cheer we walked along the streets filled with tourists, winding our way to the pedestrian bridge across the almost frozen Bow River. Thanking the town workers for an excellently groomed path through the trees, we chatted and strolled in the bright sun and striped dark shadows. In the winter blue of Bow Falls, the river bubbled through the naturally sculpted ice. Glacial snow gleamed from the mountains in all directions. Climbing up the path and stairs to the Banff Springs Hotel, I discovered the "other" side of the ... read more
Bow River ice
Lake Minnewanka
Brilliant snow

North America » Canada » Alberta » Kananaskis Country December 14th 2018

Immediately, the pale pink dawn initiated perfect views of the mountains. Soon we drove under the strong chinook cloud, watching the light of day slowly illuminating the familiar crags. Suddenly, as we drove south, the brilliant rising sun shone under the clouds onto the fresh snow on the mountain peaks. Nature’s whitest highlights dominated the deep ravines and dark evergreen trees. Walking around the grounds of William Watson Lodge turned my eyes down to the plants poking out of the thin snow-cover. Tiny frozen flowers steadfastly declared their faded glory from summer. Small bushes adorned the winter with their red bark. Harsh marks on brownish-grey tree trunks glowed copper in the sun. Cozy inside the Lodge, I watched gusts of wind scour the snow from the roof, appearing to create a blizzard. Moments later, calm prevailed. ... read more
Underside edge of the chinook arch
Magnificent glacier
Glowing mountains

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.

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