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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Canada Part II: Icefield Parkway & Vancouver Island

The following photos and journal extracts follow on from Canada Part I.


2nd August 2014

Bow River

Under a tree I sit by Bow River. A bald eagle soars overhead, gull chicks squawk and beg for food from the adults. Further downstream, the turquoise blue water crashes into a cascade of white, the spray of Bow Falls shimmering with rainbows.

Bow Falls

3rd August 2014

Before heading off in Sam and Tanya's car, aptly named Clifford (the big red dog), I did one more hike around Tunnel Mountain. A red shafted flicker, displeased at the presence of a bald eagle, perched in the tree top let out a loud, defensive alarm call. Ravens mobbed the eagle away.

Double eggers with 3 pancakes and bacon each. Drowned in maple. We are set for the adventure ahead.

Lake Louise in the evening

4th August 2014

Back to Lake Louise, and a hike to Canada's highest and oldest tea-house; Lake Agnes Tea-house. Sitting at 7,000 feet, it gets a single helicopter drop of supplies for the year, and the staff hike up the mountain every morning with the supplies for the day ahead. Oh, the homemade apple crumble. Delicious.

Little Beehive to the right, Lake Louise below. What a colour!

Ernie admires Lake Louise

Clarks Nutcracker waiting for scraps at Agnes Teahouse

A clarks nutcracker optimistically lingers around the teahouse for scraps. At the top of Little Beehive, a ground squirrel scuttled across my legs, and up onto my arm while I lay catching my breathe. Bold little critters.

5th August 2014

North bound. Up the Icefield Parkway. A stunning drive, packed with stunning mountains, lakes and glaciers around every turn in the road. The place feels vast.

Where the rivers start; Peyto Glacier to the left, melting into Lake Peyto, feeding the river below.

My favourite of the lakes; the ice cold Bow Lake. 

Moose Lake, just off of Moraine. The air intensely warm. The forest smells thick and sweet. A peaceful lake surrounded with tracks of moose. We sat drinking lukewarm water. Sam grabs my leg, frozen. On the shoreline 40 feet to our right, a young black bear ambles along the waters edge. It did not take long for the bear to notice us, and immediately scrambled up into the forest and out of sight. Our hearts raced. That was a massive life goal achieved right there. A moment I will remember for as long as I am sane. Just better make sure we keep our eyes peeled and keep talking loudly to prevent surprising a bear. I am sure Sam will manage just fine...

6th August 2014

The sea calm. In fact, perfectly flat and mostly glassy. To my right a pine forest covered Rockies falls into the Pacific Ocean. The intertidal zone is the only thing that separates the 2,000 metre mountains with the great depths of the ocean.

On the way to Vancouver Island

We have nearly reached Vancouver Island. The ocean air freshens the senses. Now to stare out to sea for a little while..

Ernie and I enjoying the sun and sea!

8th August 2014

Yesterday we continued our long and windy drive down to Tofino. Eventually making it in time for the sun set.

Sunset from Tofino

Tofino is a mix of fishing port, tourism and awe inspiring landscapes. I immediately liked the characterful place. It's the kind of place where deer kick back in peoples gardens.

A lady sat to the right of the deer knitting in a rocking chair. Wish I had seen her before I took this!

We have ended up staying in what can only be described as a car park. With each parking space packed with tents, screaming kids and extremely loud snorers. The beach, however, is stunning. And worth the disturbance and lack of privacy, if only for a day or two. Red rock crab shells and claws scatter across the strandline and in rock pools. The forest is immense. They call it the Brazil of the North. The trees grow huge, covered in moss and lichen. Wolves frequent these woods, so we kept our eyes peeled for tracks and signs when walking in the forest.

The beautiful by-the-wind sailors, a colony of hydroids to form a jellyfish-like animal. Related to the Man O'War. 
Brazil of the North
Walking the Wild Pacific Trail, we hugged the coastline and made our way on a great trek through the forest. We sat eating lunch on some rocks that jutted out to the sea. As we ate our sandwiches and crisps, and circling bald eagle plucked a fish from the sea, and settled down with its mate on the rocks opposite. We lunched with bald eagles. surrounded by giant kelp in the gullies, breaking waves and backed by the forest.

Huge. Immense. Powerful. The beautiful bald eagle.

The crest of the wonderful Stellars Jay. 
Cheeky and bold birds, the lower half of their bodies shines electric blue when caught in the sunlight.

We return to Tofino and grab some great grub. As we leave, and get into the car, I catch eyes with an Indian man. Slender, dressed in scuffed old running trainers, ripped and worn jeans and a plain shirt. He approached the car. Clearly drunk, he stumbled slightly, coming to a stop outside the door of the car. He leaned down, almost pressed his face against the glass, grinned with bright white teeth, and shouted with delight " I CARIBOUUU". We smiled as we drove off. This guy has reaffirmed my fondness for Vancouver Island. 

5:30am. My alarm is set. But I am restless with excitement. For tomorrow, we are looking for bear. 


Thank you for reading! Or, if you are like my sister, thank you for flicking through the images! I am starting Part III as I post this, so it will not be long (hopefully) before I conclude this giant trip to Canada. 

At the moment I am working on a foxy new film project. Sadly, this time of year sees an increase in fox kill on the roads as the young disperse, and look to find new territories. Around my town alone, I have found seven dead on the roads. It makes me feel a bit sick and angry at the ignorance of the modern world. I have never seen a fox alive in my own home town before. So I have set myself a challenge to firstly find a fox, then film it as close to home as possible. 

Report your sightings to if you have any near you! It isn't just fox that are killed, hedgehog, badger, deer, rodents, insects and sometimes reptiles too!

Over 100,000 fox die on Britain's roads each year

Thanks for reading!!