Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Territory and a Little Smoke

Those who subject themselves to my meanderings on a regular basis know that a week or so Brenda and I took a trip south of Calgary looking for new horizons for us and our horses. Now we probably enjoy the new country much more than the horses but that is the price they pay for living in the lap of luxury for 6 or 7 months a year.

Wednesday afternoon we hooked up the horse trailer, loaded the ponies and headed south to the Etherington Creek campground. There is really just one great spot in that campground and we got it. It is big enough for the bus and trailer as well as our portable barn that is set up off the side of the horse trailer. It also has great access and about 200 feet of frontage along Etherington Creek.

Etherington Campground-1


Etherington MH-1

Wednesday was a great clear day but after that the smoke from the wildfires in British Columbia started drifting in so most of the photo’s I took are a little hazy. Although the human eye can seem to edit out that haze and enjoy the stunning beauty of the country it is not so easy for the camera to do that, so I will apologize for the quality of the shots you will subjected to. Just remember in my mind they are crystal clear and pretty crisp.

Etherington Horses-1

Here are our mounts ready to hit the trails and see what kind of place this really is. It is a popular spot for snowmobilers in the winter so many of the trails are geared to their needs, old logging roads and seismic trails, in fact way back in early history this is the area where I started my career with Shell some 39 – 40 years ago. Most of these trails are of that vintage as the more recent, by that I mean the last 25 years, the work in this Eastern Slopes area has all been done by helicopter so the trails are almost non-existent and certainly don’t have anywhere near the footprint needed to host snow machines. The ridge behind the horses in the photo above is called Raspberry Ridge and the peak furthest to the left has a Forestry Lookout on top of it. In the photo below you can see that same ridge through the telephoto lens and there is a helicopter perched just in front of the lookout. It appears that there is a plan to decommission this site and move the equipment to a better spot so maybe they are there packing up. Whatever the reason the helicopter was there all day and only made one trip back to base around noon. Pretty expensive moving truck in my estimation.

Etherington Raspberry Ridge-1-1

We took about a 10 mile ride around a trail called the Baril Loop. Nice ride but mostly along those aforementioned trails.

Etherington Brenda and BC Mountains-1 Etherington Mountains-1

Above are a couple of those hazy shots of the mountains and of course one fine crisp shot of Brenda. The border between Alberta and British Columbia runs along the crest of those mountains. The world always looks better between the ears of horse and this time is no different.

Etherington trail-1

Below is a pretty common sight in the high country of western Alberta, we call them Forgetmenots, but they are actually called Harebells.

Etherington Forgetmenot-1

Last night I managed to capture the moon as it was rising between a couple of trees in our campsite.

Etherington Moon-1

Now that made me think about the moon rising back home and its position in the sky was pretty good to get both the moon and our windmill in the same shot. Here it is just before it hits the vane and helps us pump a little water.

Windmill and the Moon-1

I mentioned the smoke from those wildfires earlier, here is one of the side benefits of having the sky full of smoke that our friends to the west of sent our way.

Red Sun-1

Well the sunset on our trip, we came home a little early because Brenda’s horse has a slight limp and we thought she needed a little rest and relaxation as we are off to the Yaha Tinda in 10 days or so to meet cousin Mike back out there. That and the fact that our hay is cut and we wanted to get some put up in the barn before it got to much rain on it. Takes a lot of hay to travel all these trails.

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