After 8 hours of driving yesterday, I answered “YES!” almost before Mr. GeoK finished asking if I’d like to go for a walk today. We opted for a relatively short loop in the Three Sisters neighbourhood of Canmore, which took us past 6 of the 21 geocaches we hid in August and September. Now that there’s some snow on the ground, we wanted to tweak a couple of them to make them more winter friendly. And we needed to check on one that had a note posted the other day suggesting the container might be missing.
The sky was grey, with low cloud and fog hanging in the Bow Valley most of the morning, so we were delighted to see some patches of blue sky and sunshine and to find a point of easy access to a newly-revealed gravel bar in the Bow River.
After walking just a short distance along the Riverside Trail, we retraced our route and then veered off into the trees to follow unofficial (but well-established) trails towards the Bow River Campground. One break in the trees provided an excellent view towards Cascade Mountain in Banff National Park.
Near the TransCanada Highway bridge over the Bow River, we paused to watch an American Dipper perched on the very edge of a thin sheet of ice growing out from the shoreline. We didn’t know what type of bird it was at the time – only that it kept sticking its entire head underwater. At one point, it went right into the water and seemed to be struggling. I was afraid it was getting hypothermia and was going to drown / die. But then it made its way to the shoreline and proceeded to consume a fingerling fish it had caught! That scenario was the key to our tentative identification of the lone bird as an American Dipper. If anyone out there knows for sure, please confirm or correct our identification by leaving a comment.
After our on private viewing of that special live episode of Hinterland Who’s Who, it was finally time to check on our geocaches. We ended up making a slight modification to one of them to make it more winter friendly and we confirmed that the possibly missing container was still in its proper hiding spot (but was left very well hidden by the most recent finder).
Although the final stretch of our walk was fairly close the TransCanada Highway, the sky was interesting enough that we paused to take one more photo of the Bow Valley before heading home for a mug of delicious hot cocoa!
Don’t let the cooler weather keep you indoors. The pathways aren’t (too) slippery yet, the winter sky can be amazing and you never know when you’ll be lucky enough to have an amazing wildlife encounter. We were out for about two hours and returned home refreshed, relaxed and ready for next week. Thanks Mother Nature!