Alberta Wanderings

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cohan
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Joined: 2011-02-03

Last set from this site, some views and mountain sheep, which we always see evidence of (poops!) rarely see the animals themselves
https://picasaweb.google.com/cactuscactus/AlbertaRockyMountainsMay312011...

... this montane area is key for wildlife in winter, since snowfall is generally shallow on the grassy Kootenay Plains..
Not shy at all, this little herd was only maybe 30-40 metres from where we parked (no other people around) and paid not the slightest attention as we wandered around for quite a while (never in their direction, below the parking area, we only went up)

       

Several views showing the various substrates around the site, and surroundings....

     

Part of the parking/roadway, an overview of the cleft carved in the mountain to let the road pass through, and a view toward the site from the previous viewpoint on the lake--in the lower centre of the image, you see the highway curve into the dark cleft, while a small gravel road goes off to the left; it curves around that hill, and the site is much more extensive than it seems in its context of massive landscape features!

   

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15

Interesting landscape, plants and animals, Cohan! The small yellow was a nice one. The dark "flowers" are seedpods I think.
Seems you can keep a higher speed than I can when driving here. What is the speed limits of the roads there?

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

cohan
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Hoy wrote:

Interesting landscape, plants and animals, Cohan! The small yellow was a nice one. The dark "flowers" are seedpods I think.
Seems you can keep a higher speed than I can when driving here. What is the speed limits of the roads there?

Thanks, Trond... yes, that's what I thought-- fertilised flowers, though I think they are some time away from ripe seeds..
Speeds depend on roads-- our gravel back roads have no posted speeds, and since I am not a driver, I have not looked it up...but you'd have an interesting ride over 80km an hour on the gravel roads...lol
Regular highways around here are 100km/h, some smaller ones may be 80 or 90, and the big highway between Edmonton and Calgary, the two largest cities in the province is 110km/h.. unfortunately most people speed, and 120-130 is typical, even on the highways that are 100km/h..

In the mountains, that wide empty highway that we take to Banff Park boundary (same highway we take to work, but its not as wide and much much busier here) has a speed limit of 100km/h, but it is wide and easy, with only some big hills, not many sharp curves or sudden inclines.. Once on the Icefields Parkway, which is narrower, it's 90km/h and less in the more extreme sections-- 60/50km/h..that's in 'summer' driving conditions (its never really summer at the highest sections) we don't go on that highway in winter, large sections have 'no stopping, avalanche zone' signs.. doesn't inspire confidence...

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15

You certainly live in a country with better roads (maybe you have more space to make roads ;D)! Here the speed limit usually is 80km/h but that doesn't mean we can keep that speed for long stretches!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

cohan
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Joined: 2011-02-03

Maybe that means you have fewer traffic accidents? People here drive like maniacs, generally! And all the while talking on the phone, texting, etc etc.. small wonder you see deer smeared all over the road all the time--they go too fast, don't pay attention, and have no time to react.. not that I have an opinion....lol

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Allison
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Joined: 2010-04-08

That Taraxacum is interesting. Might be T. ceratophorum. Not Your Mother's dandilion! Dandies are interesting plants. They do not need fertilization to produce viable seeds, in fact they are never fertilized. As a result there is little genetic variation, but what there is has led to identifiable clones and races. Some think there are many species or sub-species, others think they are all just different forms. Very cool.

Nice trip - your pictures made me miss the Rockies for a few minutes, Cohan. I lived in Calgary for 4 years and the best thing about the place was the nearby mountains.

Gardening on a wooded rocky ridge in the Ottawa Valley, Canada. Cold winters (-30C) and hot, humid summers. Nuts about native plants, ferns, pottery, my family, and Border Collies.

cohan
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Lis wrote:

That Taraxacum is interesting. Might be T. ceratophorum. Not Your Mother's dandilion! Dandies are interesting plants. They do not need fertilization to produce viable seeds, in fact they are never fertilized. As a result there is little genetic variation, but what there is has led to identifiable clones and races. Some think there are many species or sub-species, others think they are all just different forms. Very cool.

Nice trip - your pictures made me miss the Rockies for a few minutes, Cohan. I lived in Calgary for 4 years and the best thing about the place was the nearby mountains.

Thanks, Lis-- I know there are some other dandelion species at high altitudes, but haven't made any attempts to figure out which are which...lol
I do know many of these composite species have those confusing self-fertilising clones, Antennaria is another one, and Trond has mentioned Hieracium in his part of the world..
I still have many more photos from this trip to post, including some more dandelions from much higher up....I think what I posted so far is from the foothills, not very high up at all...
It is great to be able to get into the mountains though my access isn't nearly so fast as in Calgary-- I can be in fairly wild areas within a half hour driving, but an hour at least to get to the actual foothills, and probably another hour to get any real altitude... Its all lovely on the way out, though it seems really long coming home...lol

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

cohan wrote:

...an hour at least to get to the actual foothills, and probably another hour to get any real altitude...

Well, yes, assuming that the highway is both the means of getting there and is pretty much at the level of the destination, more-or-less.  If not, though... once the car is abandoned at the trailhead, it's another half hour or more to get out of sight and sound of the highway, then another hour or more to get to the start of the really good stuff!!  ;D  ;D

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

cohan
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Joined: 2011-02-03

Skulski wrote:

cohan wrote:

...an hour at least to get to the actual foothills, and probably another hour to get any real altitude...

Well, yes, assuming that the highway is both the means of getting there and is pretty much at the level of the destination, more-or-less.  If not, though... once the car is abandoned at the trailhead, it's another half hour or more to get out of sight and sound of the highway, then another hour or more to get to the start of the really good stuff!!  ;D  ;D

My driver is mainly interested in scenery, not plants, so he usually gets all he wants without venturing too far from the vehicle, which means my excursions out of the vehicle can't be too time consuming...lol..
I think he might be coaxed out for a nice trail ( there are supposed to be some in the Nordegg area where you can get somewhat high) but I don't think he'd be coaxed to leave the vehicle unattended for any length of time, nor to slog through bush for more than a few minutes...lol.. Another factor is busy-ness-- a lot of our out of the way stops feature no other humans at all, which is great, but if there is even one other car there its probably too busy for my friend (no good pointing out the unlikeliness of running into them if the trail has any length or forks!)... Since we already live in the country, getting away from people is to a different standard--our one neighbour at less than  a half mile is audible (tractors etc on occasion) but not really visible, so at home we see no other people at all; the Icefields Parkway, ironically, is full of people by our standards.. this trip was not bad at all, though even still the Columbia Icefield tourist area was busy!

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

cohan wrote:

My driver is mainly interested in scenery, not plants, so he usually gets all he wants without venturing too far from the vehicle, which means my excursions out of the vehicle can't be too time consuming...lol..
I think he might be coaxed out for a nice trail ( there are supposed to be some in the Nordegg area where you can get somewhat high) but I don't think he'd be coaxed to leave the vehicle unattended for any length of time, nor to slog through bush for more than a few minutes...lol.. Another factor is busy-ness-- a lot of our out of the way stops feature no other humans at all, which is great, but if there is even one other car there its probably too busy for my friend (no good pointing out the unlikeliness of running into them if the trail has any length or forks!)... Since we already live in the country, getting away from people is to a different standard--our one neighbour at less than  a half mile is audible (tractors etc on occasion) but not really visible, so at home we see no other people at all; the Icefields Parkway, ironically, is full of people by our standards.. this trip was not bad at all, though even still the Columbia Icefield tourist area was busy!

No, it's not the least bit ironic!  I don't think anyone would argue that the whole highway tract, including townsites, stops off the highway and the popular funnel-the-crowds-through "must-see" scenic hikes all through the mountain parks, is not a madhouse!!   :o
(But, honestly, getting off the highway and expending some effort is, thankfully, how you lose the crowds and often see no one at all... Also, I'm certainly not complaining that people don't get out in the backcountry... I GREATLY prefer it that way!  ;))  Anyway, far off-topic...  :)

I think the third photo (and maybe others?) in this set http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=591.msg9580#msg9580 might be Lesquerella arenosa or arctica??

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

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