Once again we were busy and lots of photos means a post just for these two days.
Friday 1st June was basically a lay day. Ivan and Maia went shopping in downtown Golden while I rested at home watching movies. Actually I am nursing the head cold. High up in the mountains the air pressure is different than at sea level. It is also much drier than I am used to at home on the Gold Coast. In the same way that visitors from the dry parts of Canada notice the higher humidity on the Gold Coast. In different ways we suffer from nasal retaliation. The last few days I have been surviving on adrenalin and really needed today to recharge the batteries.
In the afternoon I took a walk along Whispering Pines Road to look at the area where we are located.
The villa or chalet, I am not sure what we should call our wonderful lodgings and the generosity of our hosts Ivan and Maia Velev.
In my walk I photographed scenery from many viewpoints, mostly as it would be seen from the chalet windows or balcony. One photo which I thought cute at the time would become significant within 24 hours.
Also significant is the photo of Mount 7. It is called Mount 7 due to the thawing snow which leaves a distinctive 7 showing on the face of the mountain for months after the thaw.
Donnis, Lazar and Simone arrived in time for us to have dinner at 9pm.
Saturday 2nd June
A long and busy day.
Lazar, Simone, Donnis and I drove almost to the town of Field and turned off to see Natural Bridge.
Wow! What a huge powerful volume of water of the Kicking Horse River narrowing to an area only a few metres across then suddenly drops underground through the limestone rock.
The abrasive action of a rushing huge volume of water plus grit and gravel and dissolved limestone wore through a thinner layer of rock, creating the tunnel. Once upon a time in the dim geological past this rock was once a waterfall.
The surrounding mountains made an impressive backdrop. Also amazing were the number of tourists here to see all this meltwater rushing to force its way under the rock. A little further downstream the Amiskwi River and Emerald River merge with the Kicking Horse River.
Continuing along the road we arrived at Emerald Lake.
This lake has the reputation of freezing during winter and staying frozen even in the early part of summer. Locals mentioned there was still ice in the middle of the lake last week. Alas all the ice was gone when we arrived. People were paddling in rental canoes…at $70 per hour somebody was making money.
The ice may have been missing but the amazing circular bowl like Emerald Lake was still impressive. The lake is fed by meltwater from a glacier further up the valley.
Emerald Lake is one of seven glacially fed lakes in the Province of British Columbia.
Emerald Lake itself empties into the short distanced Emerald River which joins the Kicking Horse River a few Klms downriver.
Although the lake was disappointingly unfrozen, the residue of an avalanche which recently cascaded down the hill and covered the walking track beside the lake was a concessional attraction.
Just looking at the volume of snow still in place is enough to make you gasp and understand how very few people survive an avalanche.
We enjoyed a picnic lunch prepared by Simone and Donnis.
Next up was the huge monolith known as Mount 7 which looms over the Kicking Horse Valley and the town of Golden.
The mountain got its name, according to legend, because the remaining snow always forms into the shape of a 7 when seen from Golden or Kicking Horse Mountain.
The summit is reached by a narrow, steep and winding gravel road with frightening drops. I kept imagining how far a car could roll before being stopped by the pine tree line. Thank goodness we never had to put that to the test.
Mount 7 is well known world- wide for skiers who want a late season, as late as July, powder snow ski experience.
It is also used as a launching area for those daring young people on their mountain bikes.
The tracks to the bottom are up to 12 Klms long. A lot of the mountain area and the tracks are of loose shale a treacherous material under tyres.
Finally the peak is also home to a launch ramp for paragliders and hang gliders. I was getting nervous just standing on the flat part of the launch ramp.
From here we can see the town of Golden, Kicking Horse Ski Resort and the Kicking Horse and Colombia Rivers where they merge.
The internet calls Mount 7 a place where you can ski, bike and fly all in the one day during summer.
On our way back down the mountain we talked about how fortunate it was that I saw a big male bear two days ago. We rounded a bend and suddenly beside the road was a mother with 2 cubs.
I wanted to take photos but Lazar noticed the female was making signs of aggression and thought discretion was the better part of valour and drove slowly past. The mother was surprisingly small compared to the big fella I saw on Thursday. The excitement levels in the car at sighting a mother with 2 cubs was quite palpable. Less than a Klm further another bear was on the road and this one had an injured paw so he was already as cranky as a bear with an umm err sore paw. He ran a short distance then turned and made aggression signs. Again Lazar took the cautious option and moved on. Damn! I wanted some photos.
We arrived back at the villa and were just changing our shoes when the shout went up. There was a bear a few metres away and Bodhi the Huskie was still outside. We sprang into action. Lazar grabbed the bear spray and ran outside while I grabbed the camera and ran outside. You have to get your priorities right. Lazar wanted to make sure Bodhi was safe and I wanted to take photos. Unfortunately Maia was calling to Bodhi and by the time I got the camera turned on, the bear was making a hasty retreat. Damn missed another bear photo opportunity.
We are not sure but sighting 5 bears in one day must be close to a record. Whatever. In any case I am no longer comfortable about walking in the bush tracks round here. I walked in that section of woods just yesterday afternoon wondering if it was too dense to accommodate a bear. I wonder no longer. Like Lazar and his dad Ivan, who do not leave the chalet without a Bear Banger https://kodiakcanada.com/collections/launchers-and-bangers/products/tru-flare-pen-launcher-thumb-lever or a Bear Spray https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/mtn/ours-bears/securite-safety/gaz-spray I will not go for a walk in the woods without either a banger or spray or Ivan or Lazar.