Rocky Mountains

Discovering the outback.

Jasper National Park

If Botswana, Africa is known for it’s abundance of wildlife, then the Rockies certainly measure up when it comes to breath taking scenery. Katherine and I were able to spend a few weeks in the Canadian Rockies last fall and were taken back by so much beauty, no matter which way you looked.

Sketching on the trail

We started our trip in Banff national park. Easily the busiest of the four parks we would visit. In town it was like Disney world. So many people and so many tourist attractions, it was easy to forget you were in the middle of the wilderness. Once we left the town of Banff, the crowds ended quickly and we were able to see the things we came for.

Taking the longer trails meant there were at times, no other people around at all. We slept in our small tent and ate on the trails. There was plenty of wildlife to experience as well. We were fortunate enough to come across a grizzly bear and her two cubs who seemed very weary of us and kept there distance, which was ok by us.

Katherine and I by the river

Other wildlife we encountered were black bear, hoary martens, ground squirrels, ravens, golden eagle, coyotes, big horned sheep and many different types of birds. One of the creatures I enjoyed, though the locals didn’t seem to like them much, were the Elk or Wapiti. We were fortunate to be there at the beginning of the rut. The bulls were pumped up and quite aggressive. It’s wise to keep your distance at this time of year as they can be dangerous to anyone who gets too close. The bull’s racks had lost their velvet and were long enough on the mature bulls to touch their rear flanks. They would herd up the females in groups and chase them back and forth, looking for the cows who were in heat. They put on a great show and I hope to eventually produce a painting out of all this excitement.

Sketching in Jasper Park

After Banff, we travelled into Jasper national park then to Yoho and finally Kootaney. All the parks were beautiful, but Katherine and I both enjoyed Jasper and Yoho the most. They were the least crowded and felt more wild than the other two parks.

I’ve always had an interest in the mountains and we’ve been there before, but had not had the chance to explore them as we did this time. Just thinking about them makes me want to pack up my gear and head west again for some more adventure.

Maybe I will.