Thursday, January 28, 2016

CR2015: Mount Lorette Ponds and Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

August 9th was our last day of Canadian outings for this year. (Tomorrow will be nothing more than getting on and off of airplanes.) Joan and I started with a visit to Mount Lorette Ponds, adjacent to Highway 40 on our way to the TransCanada Highway, just before the Wasootch Ridge turnoff.
The ponds were once a part of the river, but were cut off with the construction of Highway 40, and now are primarily spring fed. They are a pleasant place to wander, along the shore and crossing bridges.
Looking down the length of a pond.
Down at what I call the 'arrowhead' dock.
Common mergansers; the one on the right is an adult female.
A fierce-looking bald eagle, no doubt looking for a breakfast fish.
What have we here?
It's a Malaise trap!
After a pleasant level stroll around the ponds, Joan and I drove to the recently opened Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, on the way to Calgary.
It was sunny and hot by now, and we put on extra sunscreen before setting out. It's been dry for a while.
The park office sits on top of a knoll with a sweeping view of the Bow River valley, and the mountains beyond.
Calgary is not far away.
This photo, taken later, shows the park office from below. We had a good chat with the warden there, early in our visit.
Glenbow is extensive, but also entwined with private lands and railroad rights-of-way (click on the photo to enlarge).
Joan and I have enough time to explore only a few of the trails in the central area.
Glenbow is a popular park, and there were plenty of other hikers around. Bicycles are permitted on some of the trails.
One pond, close to Bowland Juction, was especially attractive for its wildlife. We saw muskrats,
and flocks of cedar waxwings catching insects on the wing. This was new experience for Joan and me; we'd only seen waxwings mobbing trees and bushes for fruit before.
We spotted another bald eagle, at a distance that strained my camera.
We returned to the park office and went down the Glenbow Trail to take the Yodel Loop. Looking back at the office, we found it hidden in the trees.
Here's a view of an abandoned ranch house. It's seen many hard winters.
Some flowers were blooming along the loop, which I later discovered are considered noxious weeds in Alberta, and must be controlled. First up: Canada thistle.
Yellow toadflax, also called butter-and-eggs.
Eagles weren't the only aviators today. A parade of small planes was circling by the park to practice touch-and-go at a nearby airport.
The high point on the Yodel Loop offered a vista.
Informative signs about the ephemeral town of Glenbow were on hand.

A closer look at the erstwhile Glenbow town site.
This is what remains of the brickworks.
Joan and I returned to the pond for further inspection (and the photo of the cedar waxwing), and then stopped by the park office to leave some compliments, but it was closed.

Then it was time to drive back to Calgary, fill the gas tank of the rental car, and check in at the airport hotel. A very early flight the next day would, via Minneapolis, return us to Columbus. We were already thinking about next year's trip to the Canadian Rockies.