Thursday, September 27, 2018

Five Days, Four Nights

Well, my solo road trip is nearing its end. I'm currently in Penticton, and early tomorrow morning I will make a beeline for Red Deer, after enjoying a lovely week of traveling through beautiful interior BC. Quite some time ago I had booked the days off, for an Alpine Club trip which unfortunately was cancelled at the last minute. I opted to take the opportunity and head west anyhow, so this past Monday I loaded up the 4-Runner and made Rogers Pass my first stop - at a place called Heather Mountain Lodge.

The view as I rolled into what is pretty much my favorite place - Canmore!

Lots of road construction - will it ever end!!

Heather Mountain Lodge

Heather Mountain Lodge

Coolest sauna ever!

A room with not a bad view!

The lodge is quite nice, with very friendly staff, a restaurant with absolutely delicious food, and rooms with really comfy beds. And the mountain views are decent as well! The highway noise was a bit of a bummer, as it made hanging out at the firepit or sitting out on the restaurant deck less than pleasant, however for just one night it was an awesome place to stay.

Tuesday was a day of lollygagging. I meandered along the Trans Canada, stopping at places that I've driven past a hundred times while wondering what they were like.

Hemlock Grove:

Giant Cedars:

Meadows in the Sky:

I spent Tuesday night in Lake Country, where I visited some friends I met on the Bugaboos trip last month. Wendy was kind enough to invite me for supper, and on Wednesday morning she and I went for a great wander along the east shore of Lake Okanagan.

Wednesday eve I caught up with Nichole in Kelowna, after which I made my way down to Penticton. I've wanted to pedal the historic Kettle Valley Railway ever since I first heard about it, so today that is what I did. And it did not disappoint! I rode the 85km section from Myra Station to Penticton, which sounds like a lot but isn't actually that bad. The old railbed is rocky and bumpy in some places and rutted and muddy in others, with the odd patch of loose sand thrown in, however the first half of the trail is virtually flat, and the final stretch is slightly down hill.... so it is not overly strenuous. Plus the scenery is stunning, which trumps everything!

Chute Lake - almost the halfway point.

The only wildlife we saw on the ride!

The weather was perfect for the ride and I would highly recommend waiting until this time of year if you ever consider doing it. Fall colors and later season trail conditions (meaning not dry and dusty!) made the day incredibly enjoyable.


Monday, September 17, 2018

Not Your Typical Dog Park

I've driven by the access road to it about a hundred times, and I have heard more than a few very positive personal accounts of visits to the facility. So when I found myself without much for plans this past dreary, cold, fall (??) weekend, I decided to book myself in for a tour of the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary.

Wow. What a cool place! The sanctuary is located on a moderately treed quarter section of lovely land in the Rockies foothills west of Cochrane, and it currently shelters 23 wolfdogs. The interactive tour was incredibly informative and the guides Scott and Alyx were super knowledgeable and entertaining. Many of the animals were timid and kept their distance, but there were a few that were curious about the treats us humans were offering and they took a chance and ate right from our hands.

Nova and Zeus

The handsome Zeus

Arctic-white Nova


Scott told us almost everything there is
to know about wolfdogs! Thanks Scott!

Kuna is an unusually social high-content wolfdog.
She carefully ate the treats right out of everybody's hands!

Kaida and TK

Kaida is the alpha female in this pack, and I'd
say the alpha in general - can you tell?

Look at those eyes!

Alyx gave the tour group an awesome explanation of wolf pack dynamics.

TK loved attention from Alyx

Loki was so friendly and gentle and could even shake a paw!

Rocky is the senior resident of the sanctuary - he is
estimated to be around 15 years of age!

The old guy needs love too.... he let me give him
a good chin scratch for about six seconds!

Rue kicked back while Loki and Rocky were in the limelight.

Eventually Loki had enough of entertaining the
crowd and joined Rue for some chill time. 

Kasha was oblivious to the gawking humans.

I will definitely go back, as the wolfdogs are beautiful creatures, the facility is exceptional, and the proceeds from all of the tours go towards caring for the animals and educating the humans. The biggest takeaway for me was the fact that there is a poor understanding of this particular breed, and while they are exotic and absolutely stunning to look at, a wolfdog does not make a good pet for the majority of people.

Put this on your list of places to visit, if you have a few hours to spare in Central Alberta!