September is one of our favourite months to get out and about in Alberta: cold nights cut down on pesky mosquitoes; hardy wildflowers continue to attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators; leaves and larches turn gold and orange; and trails are less busy* than in peak summer tourist months.
* except for golden larch trails, which are so congested that Parks Canada partners with local transit to run special routes for the seasonal gold rush
We absorbed doses of Vitamin N at a concert in the park; on the Rockbound Lake and Lake O’Hara region hiking trails and several long bike rides; walks through city parks; working in the yard (our carrot harvest was particularly good this year); walking to/from the nearest LRT station; the annual Beakerhead STEAM festival; and on our usual active transportation walks to pick up groceries, stop at the library and other errands. All of those close-up encounters with Mother Nature meant I had plenty of photos to choose from this month!
1. Above Rockbound Lake
Consistent cloud cover meant we really noticed the dark blue (almost navy) colour of Rockbound Lake this time out. And I kept my agoraphobia well enough in check that I made it along the narrow, exposed trail to the hanging cirque above the lake to enjoy this amazing perspective. The other surprising thing we observed was the drainage hole for this lake (in the sand bar area on the left) – yep, it drains into a karst system! How cool is that!
2. Bee on Blossom
Ever since I read a book about honeybees back in 2012, I’ve taken small steps to support local bee populations: lots of bee-friendly flowers in messy, large masses; allowing some of the chard and carrots to go to seed; putting out a bee bath in the front yard; and participating in the annual Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count. This month, I was delighted to learn that the library at the University of Calgary has upgraded its digital collection of native Alberta bumble bee images, which should make the identification part of next year’s bumble bee census much easier than past years! Also this month, I spotted bees loading up on pollen thanks to hardy wildflowers like this pink fleabane in Banff National Park.
3. Bear in the Woods
We have seen real bears in past years (including a grizzly along the Helen Lake trail three Septembers ago). But this month, the only bear we saw was beyond life-sized and sculpted from salvaged, white, vehicle hoods – in Calgary for Beakerhead. I photographed it four different times, including at night when it was all light up with projected imagery, but my favourite is this peek-a-boo view through the trees in a downtown city park. It makes me think of the old camp song that goes something like “if you go out in the woods today, you better not go alone…”!
4. New City Park
My parents were in town for a few days this month. One morning I took them to a nearby, new city park that opened earlier this summer. I love how they left the aspen woods mostly intact, putting in an enjoyable, hard-packed gravel loop trail with plenty of benches and outdoor classroom spaces (it’s right across the street from an elementary school), slack line poles, and plenty of picnic tables. There’s even a short, seated zip-line!
Mother Nature closed out the month with a major snow event. The first flakes started falling on Friday afternoon and 3 days later we’re still under a snowfall warning! Apparently new records will be set before it’s all over. Every time we go out to clear off the driveway, we also shake the deciduous trees to keep the branches from getting overloaded with too much weight. The latest forecast indicates we’ll get back to regular fall programming later in the week!
I can’t wait to see how other photo blogging challenge participants experienced nature this month. And what about you? What did you notice about nature this month? Please share by leaving a comment (photos welcome).
Finally, please consider joining the photo blogging challenge! It’s like a low-stress photo assignment. For each month’s theme, you’re asked to share five photos; the amount of accompanying text is up to you. The next theme will be posted at a ‘lil Hoohaa in early October.