A long overdue return to “topside”

Howdy, folks, I take shelter from our delayed June rains & listen to fat drops of rain patter off the tin roof of the cookhouse.  With Islander Chicken simmering on the stove, I take a moment to reflect on what has been a completely atypical weekend (for me!)  A much needed break from the consulting world had me making the drive out here with one primary objective: a return to Binocular Ridge. I was trying to recall, with the Boss’ help, when last I’d made the ascent and subsequent ridge walk.  As near as we could both remember, it was … Continue reading

First days of my personal two-month-escape

I’m Tobias, a 23 years old forestry-student from Germany and I will spend the next two months at Rocky Mountain Escape. After finishing my Bachelor degree, I decided to go abroad to get some new experience. Canada was my first choice. It’s been always a dream to me getting to know the amazing landscape which the country is known for. After making some experiences in logging at a Ranch in British Columbia, I found out that Laura is looking for a volunteer. The description on the internet sounded amazing and it seemed that this was exactly what I was looking for. … Continue reading

WINTER: One of Extremes

In a word . . . unusual. Extreme Weather – We were terribly warm in January, which can usually be our coldest month. Then came February and I learned a new term – Polar Vortex. We used to just call it an Arctic Cold Front, but a Polar Vortex sounds much more exciting and sexy. Usually, we can get C-O-L-D for a couple of nights and then warm back up to our typical winter temperatures of -20 C at night and -10 C during the day. Perfect winter conditions. Not in February. Back-to-back COLD fronts hit us and put us … Continue reading

A Bit of a Cold Snap

After an incredibly warm Holiday Season and start of the New Year, Old Man Winter came back with a vengeance this past week. We hit a low of -35 C one night, with the remainder hovering between -25 and -30 C. Daytime temperatures were actually not bad up here in the mountains – ‘warming up’ (it’s all relative!) to between -15 and -10 C. Usually calm, sunny days and crystal-clear nights. I understand from Chris that the prairies did not fare so well . . . Machines – and other ‘moving’ parts like my hands and knees – tend not … Continue reading

SNOW SEASON

The busy Busy Season is over at the cabins – at least until the Holiday Season – and we’re into Getting-Ready-for-Winter Season. Our annual Fall Wood Weekend was a resounding success thanks to Richard, Matthew, Elizabeth, Angie, Mike, Iona, Chris and Val and my two faithful volunteers Amy and Nick. Fair weather and long days allowed us to bring in enough firewood to see us through until late winter/early spring.  The only serious casualty was Amy’s pinky finger . . . that decided (of its own accord, of course) to test the power of our new 22-ton hydraulic log splitter.  … Continue reading

A Friend To My Rescue

‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’.  Somebody famous said/wrote that phrase . . . but I can’t remember who.  I consider myself extremely fortunate, even blessed (maybe God took pity on me) to have friends who are able to rearrange their lives on short notice and answer my desperation call for help. David came in a week after my volunteers unexpectedly had to leave.  He was not forewarned about what he was walking into . . . and probably had visions of a nice, relaxing HOLIDAY.  True to form and in typical “David Fashion”, he merely smiled and … Continue reading

Rock Lake Access Under Water . . . AGAIN

After over a year of assessing the situation, Alberta Parks (http//www.albertaparks.ca) sent heavy equipment to fix the Rock Lake Road access to Rock Lake and Willmore Wilderness on Tuesday, June 18, 2013.  We passed the fellow working the backhoe and grader on our way to the Osprey nest (the female is sitting, by the way – hooray!).  Surely, I think, surely they’re not going to just push more gravel on the road – like they did last year and have it all end up in the willow AGAIN.  NOPE – this year, in addition to pushing more gravel onto the road, a … Continue reading

Rain . . . and more RAIN

It’s springtime in the Rockies! And that means wet. The typically patchy weather of June has arrived, bringing with it rain, sleet, hail, snow, and the occasional glimpse of sunshine. All of this moisture does have its upsides though: the grass is green, the leaves are out, and the first wildflowers are beginning to emerge. One of our absolute favourites is the Fairy Slipper (Calypso Orchid), a tiny purple beauty. Despite the weather, our guests have made the most of the mountains. Karen and Judy, local artists from Edmonton, spent their days painting, writing, reading, and generally having a lovely … Continue reading

Green-up, great guests . . . and a Grizzly

May long weekend brings the start of the summer season along the eastern slopes of the Rockies. Poplars are shedding their leaf-bud coats, which promptly get glued to shoes and dog fur The first flower appears in the subalpine (the inglorious dandelion) New shoots of grass are poking through the drab brown of winter Mosquitoes make an appearance. These are the big B52 bombers that are S-L-O-W and heavy enough to feel land on you so you can whack one before she takes her pint of blood The migratory songbirds are trilling and chirping, busily establishing breeding territory, attracting mates and … Continue reading

Cross-country Skiing at Rock Lake

With guests due in for the weekend, and gorgeous powder snow to work with, I was able to get about 30 km of ski trail groomed and track-set.  Scott and Lauren from Grande Prairie (via the US) and Brian and Tasha from Calgary joined in on a beautiful ski down at Rock Lake . . .AND helped Laura get the pickup out of the ditch. . .     Unfortunately, and all my back-breaking work aside . . .little of the ski track remains intact after two quads were on the trails.  With more snow forecast for the next few … Continue reading