I remember just one other month since the COVID-19 pandemic started that it’s been so essential to get out and play, for our physical and emotional wellbeing. There’s been a steady stream of bad health news related to several family members and we’re on tenterhooks waiting for their specialist appointments and test results. Family is also at the center of this month’s highlight – a real life visit with my folks, the first time we’ve seen them since Christmas 2019. Huge shout out to my brother, who drove to BC to pick them up, drove them out to Alberta, and then ferried them back several days later. Here’s hoping a lot less time passes before our next get together IRL.
October is a great time to get out and play in the Bow Valley and surrounding Canadian Rocky Mountains. It’s possible to enjoy summer, fall or winter activities, depending on the day. We got in our last bike ride of 2020, a couple of good hikes and plenty of walks. I harvested the last of our 2021 vegetable crops and we’ll enjoy some of the harvest well into November. I enjoyed three visits with my parents and am grateful they had the opportunity to visit with all of their grandchildren during their time here. There were four of us around our Thanksgiving dinner table. And we played another marathon game of Terraforming Mars.
Here are five outdoor playtime photos from October:
1. Last ride of 2021
The first day of October we rode from Canmore to Cascade Ponds, via Canmore’s pathway system and the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail. Setting out, we had no idea it would be our last ride of the year. Had we known, we (okay, I) would have pushed harder and done the Lake Minnewanka Loop before turning back for home. Highlights included the elk herd in the meadow (pictured) and the vocal coyote we spotted on the ride back.
2. Sometimes it IS about the gear
We do our best to make informed trade-offs when it comes to durability/features/fit and price when it comes to buying gear. Sometimes, the difference between a bad day and a great day IS all about the gear. We had one of those days driving from Calgary to Canmore. The dash board started flashing a warning signal and beeping every few seconds – we were to pull over as soon as it was safe to do so, because at least one tire had dangerously low pressure.
Fortunately, over the past few years, Mr. GeoK has put together a roadside self-assist kit that includes a high-capacity battery pack (for boosting) and a small compressor to increase tire pressure. We never imagined using these while driving the TransCanada Highway, but it took less than 5 minutes for a roadside self-assist. BTW – turned out that one of the new snow tires wasn’t properly inflated when installed.
3. Play according to the (day’s) rules
The most frequent way we get out and play is by going on a photo walk. There are some trails we walk again and again. To help keep the experience fresh and interesting, we sometimes set specific rules for the day. We may use only a particular lens or particular aperture. Sometimes we choose a subject theme or decide our photos have to make use of a particular in-camera feature (focus or exposure bracketing, built-in neutral density filter, live composite, dual exposures, etc).
On one of our walks in Bow Valley Provincial Park, I was using my built-in neutral density filter. ND filters are mostly used to extend exposure time, especially to get silky looking waterfalls. I decided to try using it for daytime zoom burst photos. In other words, I zoom from wide angle to close up while the shutter’s open, or vice versa. It made for interesting photos of fall trees, but I liked this smaller scope image of bright blue juniper berries the best.
4. Get out and play at Lake Louise
Lake Louise is a Canadian Rocky Mountain gem. It’s so loved that during the summer months, if you don’t arrive in the wee hours to snag a parking spot, you need to catch a shuttle bus or drive on by. So we plan our Lake Louise adventures for the other seasons. This month we hiked to the Plain of Six Glaciers viewpoint for the first time ever. Even on a mid-week day, it was so busy that we can’t see ever doing this hike in the summer. But we’re glad we hiked it, and we witnessed a big icefall, as a chunk broke off one of the glaciers. This is a flattened photosphere shot with my Google Pixel 4A, taken on the hike back from the viewpoint. Mr. GeoK is the little dot on the ridge in the middle of the frame. To see the icefall, check out his Relive video recap.
5. Walks with Mom and Dad
Thanks to COVID-19, my folks stayed with one offspring this trip. So we headed over for an outdoor visit. Because it was cool and lightly snowing, it didn’t work to just sit, we we walked around the neighbourhood to stay warm while visiting. The next day, I picked Mom and Dad up and drove them into Calgary for a medical appointment followed by a visit with our two of their grandkids. While Mom was at the doctor, Dad and I went for a short walk in the sunshine. I was so proud of him for making it down and then back up this steep hill – a major accomplishment after tearing his Achilles tendon last winter!
This bonus picture is from the next morning, when we stopped by to bid them au revoir and safe travels.
Did you get out and play this month? Want to share a highlight? Drop a comment below, we’d love to read about it.
And if you’d like to see what other participants got up to, head over to a ‘lil HooHaa and read through to the end for the linkup.
Finally, November is (among other things) Diabetes Awareness Month, Financial Literacy Month, Fall Prevention Month, Movember, National Novel Writing Month, as well as Family Stories Month, National Fun with Fondue Month, and National Gratitude Month. There’s something in there for everyone. As for November’s photo blogging challenge theme, it’s Give Thanks. Please consider joining us. You need five photographs. The amount of accompanying text is up to you.