01.06.2012 - 28.06.2012
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Hello friends. Well it has been a while since our last update. Sorry about that! I guess I got a little too excited about these lovely warm temperatures and the ability to actually spend time outdoors without wearing 20 layers and needing some form of snow contraption strapped to our feet.
So what has happened since our last post? Well, quite a lot. Firstly, we rediscovered rain. I hadn't really considered it before, but rain really is one of the downsides to having positive temperatures. In the winter here it is always so cold that any precipitation falls as snow. Soft, dry snow that falls right off you and blows right past your car so you don't even need windscreen wipers. I walked to work every day and never arrived wet, despite frequent snowstorms.
Well, spring changed all that. We now have weather more reminiscent of a New Zealand spring. i.e. four seasons in one day, most days. It's a pleasant change actually, and a necessary one because we had so much snowfall during the winter that a large number of the hiking trails are still too snowbound (or too exposed to avalanche risk) to hike yet. Rain is much more effective than sun at melting it, so we need the rain to open up the trails. That doesn't stop the locals moaning about 'monsoon June' as they call it. But it hasn't stopped Kayleigh and I from getting out and about and making the most of the outdoors either.
Kayleigh managed to rearrange her work schedule so that she has weekends off, which means we can head off on a new adventure every weekend. Already we have completed half a dozen different hikes, a few bike rides, and a rafting trip, all of them wildly different and equally spectacular. We've visited the highest teahouse in the world (for scones), wandered unwittingly into a recent avalanche path (it took us a while to realise why all the trees had fallen over), hiked to the top of the gondola that all the tourists take in Banff (just for fun), and stayed overnight at Skoki Lodge (a luxury log cabin in the middle of nowhere that played host to Will & Kate). And we've got plenty more planned, as well as a few bike adventures and a weekend in the big smoke of Calgary learning how to line dance and speak cowboy at the Calgary Stampede.
The wildlife has all emerged from hibernation now which adds a new dimension to our adventures. Bears are our neighbours here and we see them pretty frequently. I think we are up to 15 now, half of them Grizzlies. Even when you don't see them, they leave plenty of evidence on the trails to remind you they are there, and send you running back home to collect the bear spray. (It's mace, not repellent, so don't spray it on your face like the poor Asian lady in Kayleigh's store today. You'll be 'sufferling' for days).
We also see plenty of deer and elk, the occasional marmot and porcupine, and assorted badgers, pine martins and squirrels. Actually we have a yard full of ground squirrels, which were cute for about 2 weeks until their chirping became incessant. Apparently the Grizzlies like to dig them up and eat them. They are welcome to come and do some landscaping in our yard.
So that's what we've been up to. Fun times, and more fun on the way. Especially as this weekend we will be celebrating Canada Day. We have no idea what we are in for but by all accounts it should be entertaining. If you can call jumping in a lake that is around 2 degrees C entertaining? Crazy canuks.