The Great Outdoors (PBC October 2020)

I can think of at least three good reasons Photo Blogging Challenge host PJ went with the Great Outdoors for October’s theme. First, chief medical officers keep telling us to head outside for daily exercise (while social distancing, of course). Second, it’s a broad theme, which hopefully means more participants. Finally, reading all participating posts will be like a mini vacation with stops around the world!

Because we’ve been taking a daily dose of Vitamin N(ature) for years now, the hardest part of this month’s challenge was picking just five photographs to share.

1. Bike and Hike

We chose an epic bike and hike to start the month – cycling along the Bow Valley Parkway and hiking up Johnston Canyon. By 06:30 we’d parked at a large public lot in Banff, unloaded our bikes and started pedaling to Vermillion Lakes for a sunrise photoshoot. While there wasn’t much colour in the sunrise, there was a LOT of fall colour along the parkway. And the air had the unique scent of fall that lasts about 2 weeks in the Canadian Rockies!

man riding bike

Mr GeoK put together a video recap of our adventure, using the Relive app. Check it out!

2. Last Hike of the Season

Our hiking season ended with a long trail – 32.5 km (20 miles) to Alymer Pass in Banff National Park. It was just the two of us until well into the afternoon and then we saw about a dozen people over the last 10 km. Again, fall colour was the star of the show and the rainbow at the far end of the alpine meadow was a bonus!

rainbow at Alymer Pass

Mr GeoK used Relive to create a video recap.

3. Great Big Move Challenge

In late September I learned about Participaction’s Great Big Move Challenge. Teams of up to eight people would pool their steps and active minutes for the month of October. The goal? To make it across Canada (virtually). With winter on the way, I hoped this would encourage family members to establish a “get outside no matter the weather” walking habit.

By October 8th, our team of six racked up enough steps to make it all the way across Canada! And by October 19th we’d finished all eight bonus treks! The most important thing is that we all continue to exercise each day. For example, my 79 yo Mom has added wall push-ups and semi-squats to her daily routine. Every bit counts! 🙂

So what’s all that got to do with this picture? Well, I spotted this toddler shoe, positioned at the top of a set of rock stairs, as if its owner stepped into another dimension. And I imagined a little person, holding onto a parent’s hand, getting their great big move on in the great outdoors. It brought a smile to my face. 🙂

shoe on trail

BTW, the shoe was gone the next time I walked this way. I hope it’s reunited with its person.

4. Great Canadian Hike

Even though I follow @TheGreatTrail, the #GreatCanadianHike didn’t come up in my Twitter feed until mid-month. Sometimes social media campaigns work. And sometimes they need ramping up before they reach their target audience.

Anyhow, another October challenge for Canadians, this one asked people to hike a section of the trans-Canada trail with the aim that we’d collectively hike 27,000 km – the equivalent of the end-to-end length of the Great Trail. Mr GeoK and I racked up about 60 km towards that goal, most of it in Canmore along the Three Sisters Multi-Use Pathway. We like to add a bit of a loop at the town end, by walking along the Bow River and across the Canmore engine bridge before heading back home.

Canmore engine bridge

If you’re interested, here’s the Relive recap of the #GreatCanadianHike we did on the day of the first snowfall in Canmore.

5. Winter Hike

Two major ski hills in the Canadian Rockies had their earliest ever opening day this month. And some trails have over 30 cm (a foot) of snow cover. So late in the month, we got out for our first winter hike of the 2020/21 season.

It was short (about 11 km/8 mi return) and fairly flat. And while it snowed almost the whole time, the temperature was right around freezing, so not too risky. We reached the snow-covered shoreline of Boom Lake just after 10 in the morning and had the place to ourselves until we were well back on our way to the parking lot. So peaceful. And yes, this is a full-colour photo of Storm Mountain across the valley.

Boom Lake

In addition to the hard work of hiking in fresh snow, two things got my heart pounding. First, we heard an avalanche across the valley (we were in the trees the whole time, so low risk for avalanche). Second, I just about stepped on a pair of spruce grouse, which sent them flapping into the air. They settled right back down. And we soon realized there were six altogether. We watched them for about 15 minutes and I can’t resist adding an extra picture this month. This guy deserves a moment of PBC fame. 😉

spruce grouse

And with that, I’ve exceeded my photo limit for the October edition of the PBC. Next month’s theme will be posted at a ‘lil Hoohaa in early November. Please join. I think of it as a low-stress photo assignment – an excuse to hone photography skills. For each month’s theme, share five photos taken with any camera. The amount of accompanying text is up to you.

4 thoughts on “The Great Outdoors (PBC October 2020)

  1. The difference in where we all live. You’re preparing to do, or have done your last hike of the season, whereas I’m just beginning to get back into hiking after a long hiatus due to the intense heat. Fall is the perfect time to hike in Southern California and I’m starting to take advantage of it again.

  2. cmiked

    We’re finally getting into manageable hiking temperatures here in Texas. We have a few backpacking trips we are working on for late December, maybe early January. The outdoors has become quite popular during Covid so it’s a bit tough just to decide to go on short notice due to lack of campsites. Thanks, again, for sharing your gorgeous out of doors.

  3. You can exceed your photo limit anytime!! These are beyond gorgeous. A 20-mile hike?! All I can say is Wow. As we settle into late Autumn and winter, I doubt if that will slow you two down. I look forward to virtually hiking with you again sometime. xoxo

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