Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Wild Mountains of British Columbia

If the earlier parts of the trip were characterized by endless flat landscapes, the remaining trip from Grande Prairie and onward proved to compensate for the lack of features. An hour or so into western Alberta, the land began to dip and rise through wooded river valleys and tall hills. As we crossed into British Columbia, these hills gave way to more jutting mountains beyond. Somewhere along the way, we were surrounded by huge stone mountains on all sides. We stopped at a few overlooks and stream-beds to get some pictures and take the scenery in.

Despite our delays, we made pretty good time. In early afternoon we were driving through Stone Mountain Provincial Park. Early on a sign warned us about "WARNING: Goats on the Road." It was less of a typical "Wildlife Crossing" signs you can find in any wild area and more of a certainty. Sure enough, as we headed around the cliff road we were greeted by a large herd of mountain goats grazing on the cliff-side.

The rams weren't the only wildlife we'd encounter. A few miles down the road, bison grazed and rested in the grass. We stopped to take a few shots of them.

We also managed to get a picture of this fellow:

This was bear four of five we spotted. The first three were black bears that just happened to pop up in a spot before Mel could get her camera out. The last one was a brown bear (grizzly?) that I mistook at first glance for yet another bison. By the time we passed I knew it most certainly wasn't a bison but it was too late to turn around.

It really is impossible to document just how many creatures we saw—they ranged from the common squirrels and brown rabbits, the less familiar ravens (I never knew how large they were until I saw them up close. For the uninitiated, a raven can be as big as two-feet tall!) and the more regionally exotic as shown above.

There is a lot more to cover on just this leg of the trip. I'll have some pictures and musings about our stop at Muncho Lake--perhaps one of the most amazing places I have ever been. For now, I hope you've enjoyed the creature show.

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