Glen Cross Side Trail

The day started on the gloomy side as I drove with my friend Nigel to Hockley Valley Provincial Park. On the way up we stopped on the side of the road to photograph this barn. 

Barn

Barn

There are times when I try to stop for photos, if its safe to do so, while I’m driving to and from my destinations. Occasionally, I’ll get something I really like or and sometimes not. If you don’t stop to take these photos (as I sometimes don’t) there’s a chance you might regret it. So, if you can, stop and take that roadside photo when it catches your eye,

Nigel and I decided to hike the Glen Cross Side Trail, a 4 kilometre hike inside Hockley Valley Provincial Park. Our hike was mostly though forest but we did find a large opening overlooking the valley below. It was here that we came across some purple flowers just about to bloom. I guess it’s not too late in the season to find little pops of colour.

Late Bloomers

Late Bloomers

This late bloomer is the New England Aster.

I also found some mushrooms. ‘Tis the season as they say…lol  One of my favourite mushrooms is the crown-tipped coral mushroom. It is one of the more uniquely shaped mushrooms since it looks like something that came from the ocean.

Crown-Tipped Coral

Crown-Tipped Coral

And then there is the yellow-orange fly agaric mushroom. Or as I like to call it the fairy mushroom, 

Yellow-Orange Fly Agaric

Yellow-Orange Fly Agaric

This reddish-orange mushroom reminds me of the mushrooms you see in stories about fairies or even something from Alice in Wonderland. It was the perfect mushroom to end our hike with. From here it was back to the car to head home.

Back Country Winter Drive

It’s almost the end of the year and with Christmas behind me it was time to get out of the house. A back country drive was in order. The weather was nice with a cloudy sky and no snow in sight, that is until I found these cattails. 

 Cattails in softly falling snow

With the cloud cover we had some beautiful light to photograph. A local farm had a couple of their horses in the field and we stopped to get some photos with this soft light.

Horses in late day light

Not to mention the light on the fences in the snowy fields.

Before heading home we stopped in Claireville Conservation Area to feed some of the locals.

The cute little chickadees love visitors, especially when they come to feed them some seed. 

In Search of Owls

Nigel along with the Brampton Photo Group invited me on one of their outings in the hopes of capturing the snowy owl up in the Holland Marsh area. The area is known for wintering snowy owls but I had yet to check the area out so I jumped at the chance to join the group. 

As we drove in to the area we spotted a beautiful red-tailed hawk hanging out in a tree. Unluckily for me he was too far for my lens to get a great shot of him (or her) but that always seems to be the case for birds. Maybe when I’m rich and famous I can purchase a much longer lens.

Red-Tailied Hawk

Red-Tailied Hawk

After driving around and seeing some more hawks (these were much further out and flying) we finally spotted a snowy owl. And of course he was just out of reach for a great photo.

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

It’s times like these that I say “stick with landscapes Sue they are much easier to capture”.

Ramshackled

Ramshackled

Course that’s not really true. You can get a great shot of a bird it just takes loads of patience and time. We were limited on time and I think some people were limited on patience but hey that’s okay.  We all have those days. It’s what you make of it that counts. 

Alberta and the Great Sandhill Dunes

Today Nigel and I were headed over the Saskatchewan/Alberta border to check out a small town called Empress. With another day of chilly temps and cloudy skies it made for some great moody photographs.

Abandoned Home

Abandoned Home

This abandoned shack was on the way to the border and I had to get a photo with the stormy skies.

As we drove into Alberta the landscape changed from flat to slightly rolling to hilly. This must be the edges of the badlands. It was a pretty stunning sight to see.

Alberta's Hills

Alberta’s Hills

After enjoying a full day exploring Alberta and enjoying some wonderful local company at lunch in Empress we headed back over the border to get a little more time in with the Great Sandhill Dunes.

Great Sandhill Dunes

Great Sandhill Dunes

Most of the snow had blown off the dunes since yesterday and I had a little fun with Nigel’s infrared converted camera.  The photograph above is a colour corrected infrared out of that camera. It looks like night has fallen on the hills when actually it is still daylight.

We tried our best to stay for the sunset but the cold temperatures and clouds sent us packing. 

Farmstead

Farmstead

As we drove back to the hotel we noticed a break in the clouds so we quickly found a farm to use as the foreground and voila the photo above was created. 

It was a great day exploring both Alberta and Saskatchewan but tomorrow its time to head back to Regina to catch our late afternoon flight home. Tomorrow we will be taking a more scenic route to the airport as we search out some of the old grain mills.

Walking with Cows

It was a gorgeous day on the trails today. I’m always happy when great weather comes on the weekend – no one wants bad weather on their days off, am I right? I’ve mentioned this before and I know you may (or may not) be sick of hearing or seeing about mushrooms but in my eyes they are just so cool! Look how many shapes  and colours these crazy fungi come out into the world as. Below is the Coral mushroom – yes, we land roamers are able to enjoy coral. Okay, well, not really but hey it is pretty neat.

Coral

Coral

Course there are also ones that mimic icicles like the one below. It seems to ooze and drip out of the dead log. 

Dripping Mushrooms

Dripping Mushrooms

Of course that isn’t the only thing on the trails as you well know. A White-Crowned Sparrow flew in to see what I was up to. I think this was one of my first times seeing this type of sparrow or at least realizing that it was different from the typical sparrows I normally see.

White-Crowned Sparrow

White-Crowned Sparrow

It’s definitely distinctive but I guess unless you are paying attention you will miss these sort of nuances in nature. Just after I shot this sparrow photo I realized I had to climb a fence into a field to continue my trek along the trail. This isn’t unusual by any means but there was one thing a little different about this – cows!

Creepy Cows

Creepy Cows

Now since a recent night time excursion I have been a little creeped out about cows. They really like to stare at you. And do you see that space between the black cows in the back and the whiter ones in front? Yes, that flattened trail-like area? That’s where I had to walk. The entire time I hiking past they just stared. What is up with that? Creepy is what I say.