Experience The Mountain Parks Blog
...all about the Alberta-to-British Columbia mountain parks, including life in and around the parks. Not all our news and stories are here, though, so you might want to check our news section and Bob's "tweets" —conveniently placed in the upper right of each page.
This typo seen on the Calgary Herald website made our day though!
Who wants to go to Calgary's closet mountain? Do you?
On our 'day of adventure' I selected a field trip to visit the mires (the high bogs of the Alps) in search of Golden Eagles. We did not see any eagles, but we had plenty to look at. After explaining the difference between a high moor and a low moor - they both look the same to the untrained eye, our guide, Christian Wittker, caught everyone's attention when he said, "This is the adventure part of the hike. If you would like to feel what a moor is like, we could take our shoes off and walk barefoot across the moors."
You could hear crickets in the silence that greeted this suggestion. For a group of professional adventurers, there was a decided lack of enthusiasm. I was running a quick risk assessment in my head "What if I hurt my feet on something sharp? Is this covered by my travel insurance?" My mind then moved onto the real issues "What if I get cold i.e. uncomfortable? What if I don't like it? I haven't walked barefoot since I was a kid! Can I still do it at my age? Should I?" I realized I was having the biggest adventure of the trip and it was all in my mind - I hadn't done anything yet.
Figuring I could put my shoes back on if it was too painful or slippery, I doffed my boots along with some other brave souls. The rest of our group headed to drier ground and our merry band of barefoot hikers tentatively tiptoed through the cold, wet moors. It was fantastic!
Yes, my feet found the thistles quickly, but I made friends faster in those fifteen minutes than in days at most conferences. We helped each other find the softest walkways and took each other' s picture for bragging rights on Facebook. My feet felt like they had been at a very expensive spa when finished, and I could cross barefoot bog-walking off my bucket list.
What I learned from this experience was how scary the situation became when it was unexpected or impossible to prepare for. There is no equipment you can buy for barefoot walking and no special training. You have to believe you can cope without a training manual, relying on your willingness to try something your ancestors did for thousands of years. When was the last time you made yourself uncomfortable with a small challenge? As you visit the mountains of western Canada what you unique adventures can you add to your trip?
Carol writes and speaks on Reinventure®, the process of reinventing your life and business with adventure. For more information go to www.CarolPatterson.ca
Forty years ago, during the record snow years of the early 70s, I stood outside all winter at Sunshine Village Ski Resort loading the Strawberry T-Bar. Clifford J. White, President of the organization, often rode my lift, as did his children, Cliffy, Brad and Tristan. Little did we think that someday I would be writing their family history.
- image V683 I c 3 - Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
Cliff White was one of the first to promote the ski industry in the Banff area ►
- image V683-I c 2 b-pa 139-112 - Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
Cliff’s brother, Peter, was a talented artist and while studying in Boston fell in love with Catharine Robb, a wealthy and cultured young woman from nearby Concord, Mass. He regaled her with tales of romance and adventure in the Canadian Rockies and they were married in 1930, settling in Banff. They both were excellent artists, perhaps the best to emerge from this area. Later, with family money that Catharine brought from the USA and property that Dave (and later Peter and Catharine) had amassed, they founded what is today the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. Their love of the human and natural history of Banff and the Rocky Mountains forms the core and the spirit of this organization. Peter died in 1966 but Catharine lived another 13 years. Her life is marked by great generosity to the Banff community - she donated money to build the Margaret Greenham Theatre at the Banff Centre and she paid a significant amount towards the original Banff Recreation Centre. In the early sixties she donated a building for the Banff Public Library and later the land on which the present library stands. Her support for the Stoney people from Morley is legendary and, over the years, dozens of individuals in Banff also benefited from the generosity of this remarkable woman. In 1969 she received an honourary doctorate from the University of Calgary and in 1978 she was awarded the Order of Canada.
- image V690-IV.c.f1.08 - Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
One of the most interesting of the clan is Jon Whyte. Growing up in Banff, this ultra intelligent and nerdy child did not fit in well with his more athletic schoolmates, but when he went to the University of Alberta in Edmonton, during the creative years of the early 60s, Jon found his milieu. In 1967, Jon received a master’s degree in Old English. He followed that up with a master’s degree in Communications from Stanford University in California, before returning to to Banff. Here he rediscovered his home and for the next 25 years was the intellectual heart of the town. He reminded us over and over again of the special place where we live and of the rich history we have inherited. Jon died of cancer in 1992, at the age of 51, but his effect on our community was profound.
- image V688-pd1-20 - Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
Our newest Trivia Quiz is now online!
Thank you Graeme Pole for offering another set of three useful companion guides.
Denise Kitagawa, from Calgary, Alberta and Shelly Stetsko, from Castlegar, British Columbia.
They got all answers right and their names were randomly drawn. Congratulations Denise and Shelly!
The author Graeme Pole is generously offering two sets of his 3 companion guides.
For the record, the three questions asked were:
1. The largest thrust sheet in the Canadian Rockies is the:
- Pipestone Pass Thrust
- McConnell Thrust
- Cave and Basin Thrust
- Lewis Thrust
The correct answer is "Lewis Thrust".
2. Sunwapta Pass separates these two river systems:
- Sunwapta-Red Deer
- Athabasca-North Saskatchewan
- Bow-North Saskatchewan
The correct answer is "Athabasca-North Saskatchewan".
3. The only aquatic songbird species in North America is the:
- Common merganser
- Varying warbleo
- Varied thrush
The correct answer is "Dipper".
- Getting Off The Grid. Great for Adventure Lovers!
- And the second place in the Friends & Family category goes to...
- And the second place in the Videos category of our 2012 RECESS IS BACK readers' contest goes to...
- And the second place in the Landscapes and Sunsets category of our 2012 RECESS IS BACK readers' contest goes to...
- And the second place in the Wildlife & Flowers category goes to...
- And the winners of our 2012/2013 Photos and Videos Contest are...
- 2012/2013 Photos/Videos Contest
- oTENTiks are coming to a mountain park near you!
- Submissions to our 2012/2013 Photos/Videos Contest are now over...
- Please be patient...