Category Archives: Canada

British Columbia’s Jewel

On every vacation there is usually one place that stands head and shoulders above the rest.   Our Canadian trip was filled with these places and we weren’t able to single out one.  However there were a couple of side trips we took that we would definitely take again – Emerald Lake and Maligne Canyon.

Emerald Lake is one of those rare finds we treasure every time we look at the pictures.  From November to June the lake is normally frozen so you don’t get to see the vivid colors.  Here in July the oohs and aahs aren’t for fireworks, they’re for this precious jewel in the Canadian Rockies.  It’s a wonderful time to visit.  Water laden with limestone rock flour is streaming off glaciers flowing into the lake.  When the sun comes out Emerald Lake shows off her resplendent vivid turquoise colors.  Yes, full sunlight is the final element that completes the picture.

This is one of the reasons Wooly has a love/hate relationship with the sun.  Most of the time he prefers partially overcast days that block the most intense sunlight and makes the skies interesting.  However, when you see a glacier fed lake in full sunlight you appreciate that those colors only really pop when exposed in full sunlight.  In those places the sun is your friend.

Since we had a schedule to keep we couldn’t stay as long as we would have liked.  A hike around the lake is a must should we return as well as renting a kayak to explore the place from the inside out.  We’re glad the sun revealed Emerald Lake’s glory that day so we could fully appreciate the beauty of the place.  Enjoy the photos that make us want to return.

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After the Glacier

When glaciers melt the water races downhill.  In its race as it tumbles over rocks it sometimes forms waterfalls.  And how long can you watch and listen to the roaring water?

Brr, The Columbia Icefield

Heading north to escape the heat is a summer ritual many Phoenicians participate in.  Most head to the higher elevations of Northern Arizona where temperatures typically are ‘only’ in the 90’s during the day but cool off to a nice 50 or 60 at night or towards San Diego where we are affectionately? know as Zonies.  Hey, it beats highs of 110 and lows in the 90’s.

Wooly and Raeski have also been known to follow the ritual of heading north.  However Wooly sometimes likes to go the extra mile, or in this case, the extra 1,600 miles.  Not only did we escape the heat, there were times we were downright cold.

Like the time we stood on the Athabasca Glacier in Alberta Canada.  The glacier flows from the Columbia Icefield which happens to be the largest ice mass in North America south of the Arctic Circle.  How large is it?  It’s big, very big.  It covers a 130 square mile area and has a maximum depth of 1,200 feet which is about the height of the Empire State Building.

It was a great day when we stood on the Athabasca Glacier.  We were taken onto the ice in these massive buses to an area where it is safe and we didn’t have to worry about falling into a crevasse.  Standing on the ice with the Columbia Icefield towering over us was very cool.  Well, actually it was quite cold since cold air has the pesky habit of flowing down.  And guess where all the cold air was blowing that day.  Yup, right down the glacier where we stood.

And if you are wondering if this glacier is retreating the answer is yes – as all the glaciers fed by the Columbia Icefield are.  Since the industrial age began the Athabasca has retreated 1.5 miles and the rate of ice loss is accelerating.  And yes, Wooly and Raeski agree with the climate scientists that say that human activity is a major contributor to climate change.  When 95% of all climate scientists agree on this, one must question why the other 5% are still in disagreement.  Perhaps it’s because of who pays them.

Enjoy the show of water in one of its purest and most ancient forms.  Glacial ice.

Animals

Last summer we saw many amazing places and lots of wildlife.  Some were expected and others were a complete surprise.  The first surprise was spotting a young bighorn sheep in Zion National Park.  In Rocky Mountain NP we saw elk.  Driving in Wyoming I had to stop the car to get pictures of a herd of antelope.

In Yellowstone we were hiking on a trail and had to walk by that big bison.  Being that close did make me a little nervous.  After all, he was definitely a wild animal.  Further north in Glacier NP is where we saw the adorable young mountain goat sticking close to mom.  On the same hike to Hidden Lake we saw the furry little marmot.  Legend has that they will eat anything they can sink their teeth into.

It wasn’t until we got to Canada’s Glacier Waterton NP when we finally saw bear.  It’s hard to tell from the photo whether this is a brown bear or a grizzly.  A brown bear’s nose is fairly straight and a grizzly bear has a more rounded nose.  It’s hard to tell from the photo which it is and I stuck to using my telephoto lens instead of getting closer.  And finally we saw caribou near Jasper Alberta.  They are huge!

I am always happy when I can photograph animals in the wild and feel fortunate when I spot them.  When asked why I’m an environmentalist who wants to save habitats, these photos are my answer.  One of my favorite presidents, Teddy Roosevelt, recognized that states cannot be trusted to save the land and protect it from commercial exploitation.  I abhor what’s going on in the West with a few people who feel the federal government has no right to protect land for future generations.

Choosing an Image

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what image would you use to promote your blog?  In our travels we’ve met people who wanted our blog’s address so they could follow us.  At Lake Louis in Alberta, Canada, we came to the realization a business card with our blog name would be helpful in these situations.  But the card needed an interesting image to reflect who we are and what we’re trying to do.  Venturing further down the rabbit hole the next question was, “Of the thousands of images we’ve taken, which one captures our essence?”

“So how does one go about defining who they are in a single photo?” we asked as the rabbit hole got deeper.  In a moment of brilliant inspiration Raeski coined the term ‘nomadic retirement’.  Taking it further, because quite frankly we don’t believe retirement is a good definition of who we are, we landed on ‘nomadic adventures’.  This was great until I checked online and found a company with this name.  Not wanting to risk being served a cease and desist order over a name we came to an even better by-line, ‘Nomadic Adventurers’.  Okay, we have some words to work with now.

We plan to live in a new city every year.  Nomads, right?  We want to explore and do fun things.  Adventurers, right?  Now we have to find a photo expressing those words.  That darn rabbit dug a deep hole.  Do you think we’ll meet Alice soon?  The first thought was using a photo of a stamped passport page but that didn’t leave enough space for lettering.  An image must have enough clear space to print what you want on the business card.  Clutter distracts so a different image was needed.

I don’t take many pictures of the two of us which narrowed the field of eligible photos.  Finally we decided on ‘The Photo’.  In it our hair is messed up because of a frigid wind sweeping down the glacier we’re standing on.  Craggy mountains, icy blue colors, clouds on the horizon and we’re smiling.  Yes, it’s cold, who cares?  We’re not sitting in a cubicle staring at a monitor or stuck in a rocking chair.  We are in our element of exploration and discovery.

Ironically neither one of us likes the cold but to experience life sometimes you must move out of your comfort zone.  How else can you truly experience what the world has to offer?  Can you drink ancient waters from a glacier, visit the driest place on earth, walk inside a volcano and smell the pines from a rocking chair?

So without further ado, here’s the essence of Wooly and Raeski.

Essence
Essence