We arrived in Calgary just in time for Christmas.
Christmas tree felling
First task was to head out towards the Rockies to cut down our Christmas tree. There is a whole area where you are allowed to do this, so long as you get a permit. It was like a military operation getting ready to go out: best M and S thermals, new ski trousers, furry hats and gloves and finally show shoes! We didn’t really need the snow shoes, but we had hired them so we were certainly going to wear them!
The next morning we woke early – well you do when you travel in that direction. What a view awaited us from a top window.
Nose Hill Park
I just love the way they name places in Canada. A few days later we went for a walk on Nose Hill in Calgary! Now I wonder why it was called that? It was rather barren and very very cold, but had some stunning copses of white barked trees. An argument ensued between my sister and her husband, both ecologists, as to whether these were birch or something else. It was difficult to tell without the leaves.
We thought we would have to wait until spring to find out, but then a found a Nose Hill Park web site which answered our question. They are in fact Trembling Aspen – a tree native to Canada.
These are very interesting trees, so called because of the way their leaves tremble in the wind. They propagate mostly by sprouting from root suckers, forming clones of many individual stems. You can only distinguish the clones in spring or fall when groups of stems form leaves or change colour all at once.
Birds and animals were mostly hidden on this cold winter morning, but we did catch a glimpse of one large bird flying overhead. According to the web site it was likely to be a Northern Harrier or a Swainson’s Hawk. We will never know the answer to that one as I was too slow with my camera and the one person who could have identified it managed to miss it!
Christmas and Downtown Calgary
How about waking up to this on Christmas morning?
After Christmas we went for a walk along the Bow River that winds through downtown Calgary.
There was someone feeding the ducks. . . .
They were mostly mallards, but there were a couple of these. They were difficult to photograph as they just wouldn’t keep still! Every time I focused the camera they were off.
We had a great week in Calgary catching up with family and then we headed out towards The Rockies. This is where we really saw some spectacular scenery.