2007 - The Year of Spending Dangerously! travel blog

View while waiting for a train to pass

Anyone recognize this shrub branch?

Johnson Canyon Water Fall


Raven and view

Raven close-up

View from Ink Pots

Ink Pots Valley

Group Photo

Canyon Light

We've had some great fall days lately! Last Thursday we were out by Vermillion Lakes getting in our October volunteer work for Parks Canada. On the way there we got stuck at all 3 possible train crossings, one coming out of Canmore, one going into Banff and then the same one coming out of Banff. Not sure what the odds are on that! Luckily there is a lot more to look at than the exhaust from the car in front and Pam spotted a great photo op from the car window!

Vermillion Lakes is a great place to have to "go to work". There were even some white swans on the lake, presumably headed to a warmer spot. The work itself is called "Shrub Watch". Essentially we're there to measure the height of the trees and shrubs in a defined area and to note if they have buds on them or have been recently chewed down. The tricky part is identifying the trees and shrubs in their naked state! Will definitely take some practice. The goal is to collect this data from all over the park and the scientists compile it to see if their programs to reduce the elk population (who are doing most of the shrub chewing) are working. Not the most exciting work but there are worse places to be on a sunny fall day!

On the weekend we got a call from Philip and Alicia Cronin suggesting a short hike. The ground was a bit slick so we had to pick something lower down and Phil suggested the Ink Pots trail. Both of us have vague recollections of going through Johnson Canyon to the Ink Pots as children but we haven't been there as adults. Fall is a great time of year to do this hike, the normally tourist packed trail was empty and the canyon and water falls were beatiuful with lots of icicles hanging from the walls. The valley of the Ink Pots is also very pretty and a friendly raven was happy to pose for us! Another great day in the park!

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