by Suzanne Stengl | Sep 30, 2021 | Nature
After a long summer of wildfires and too many days that were 30+ Celsius, it’s soothing to take a walk around town in the cooler days of autumn.
We parked by the river in Kensington and then walked the loop to Sunnyside and back.
“Wild is the music of the autumnal winds amongst the faded woods.”
– William Wordsworth.
The Peace Bridge
“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”
— Emily Bronte
“As for marigolds, poppies, hollyhocks, and valorous sunflowers, we shall never have a garden without them, both for their own sake, and for the sake of old-fashioned folks, who used to love them.”
– Henry Ward Beecher
the beautiful Bow River
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” — Albert Camus
We finished our walk with lattes at the the Espresso Café.
I think Anon says it best:
“If you don’t like fall, you can leaf me alone.”
Maple leaves from canstockphoto2523415
by Suzanne Stengl | Sep 21, 2021 | Nature
Earlier this month, Rolf and I hiked to Boom Lake. We’ve done this trip several times over the years. I wrote about one trip here. Since the last time we did the trail, this new boardwalk has been added.
Clear blue skies today!
Lots of wildflowers along the trail. This is Bunchberry Dogwood.
To the west, Mount Quadra . . .
. . . and to east, the “boom” – where an old moraine touches the surface of the water in a crescent to catch driftwood floating past, as if it were a lumber boom.
Here I am at the lake.
The sparkling waters of Boom Lake!
This is a favourite September hike. We had perfect weather and finished off the day with dinner in Banff. Can’t ask for more!
by Suzanne Stengl | Jun 27, 2021 | Nature
On Wednesday, Rolf and I drove to Bow Valley Provincial Park and hiked the Many Springs Trail. Well, it wasn’t exactly a hike. It’s more of a walk. The Many Springs Trail is flat and well-groomed and quite short. Only 1.6 km. (That’s about a mile.) It’s also famous for its wildflowers.
Here’s the map of the trail, which is a loop.
At the junction, there’s a sign pointing you to the right. You follow along and reach the boardwalk. The actual loop is only about 1.3 km.
Most of the Bow Valley is dry, grassy meadows with stands of aspen and evergreen. But the Many Springs Trail is a lush wetland fed by, you guessed it, many springs.
At this time of year, lots of people come looking for the Yellow Lady Slipper Orchid.
Yellow Lady Slipper Orchid
The first time you see one, you get all excited and take about a million pictures. And then you realize it is everywhere along the trail.
The Wood Lily is here too.
And, of course, there’s the Prickly Rose.
Prickly Rose aka the floral emblem of Alberta
Prickly Rose aka the floral emblem of Alberta
Where the trail opens up, there are some peaceful views of the mountains.
Creeping Juniper with berries
And everywhere there is Silverberry.
It was a morning walk with lots of time for pictures. We drove on the 1A instead of the busier TransCanada, which meant that we went through Cochrane. So, on the way back, we stopped in Cochrane at McKay’s Ice Cream.
Always a good way to end a trip!
by Suzanne Stengl | Feb 20, 2021 | Nature
I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather for the last week or so. No fever, so not COVID, but some kind of bug that has made me tired and achy. At any rate, I’ve been cooped up indoors. This morning, I finally felt good enough to go for a long walk. After days of extreme cold in Calgary, we are now above freezing, and the sun is shining. I decided to go for a walk along the river.
Here’s the view of the mostly frozen Bow River from a lookout on the pathway through Bowmont Park.
And now I am down by the river.
In the Dale Hodges Park, I like to visit my friends, the ducks.
I’ve always wondered why there are a few ducks that don’t fly south for the winter. I guess they find enough to eat on these little open patches of water.
Here I am on the snow-covered boardwalk.
This is the Dale Hodges Park. It’s a natural environment park along the north bank of the Bow River. Surprisingly, the area used to be a gravel pit. And now it’s been reclaimed.
The project was a joint effort between Parks, Water Resources and Public Art. Stormwater from several upstream residential communities flows slowly through the water structures and is filtered before entering the Bow River.
The park is connected to Bowmont Park and is a wildlife habitat. It has a system of boardwalks, cycling and walking trails, marsh and meadows, and views of the Bow River.
But now it’s mostly covered with snow.
Later in the day, even on a cold winter day, there will be a lot of people down here. But, early in the morning, there’s just me, and the ducks.
The silence is amazing and uplifting. After an hour and a half of walking, I am feeling much better and ready to get back to the world.
by Suzanne Stengl | May 6, 2014 | Nature
Every spring, the Prairie Crocus is the first plant to bloom on the prairie—even when it’s still snowing, like it has been in Calgary.
The Prairie Crocus has many names. I’ve been looking through my four plant identification books and, while they all refer to the Prairie Crocus, they don’t seem to agree on a botanical name. Some say Pulsatilla patens. Some say Anemone patens.
The Prairie Crocus is also called Cutleaf Anemone, Prairie Anemone, and Pasqueflower. But in Calgary, we call it the Prairie Crocus.
The flowers are usually pale blue or mauve but sometimes they are white or light yellow. When they open they are 1 ½ inches to 2 ½ inches in diameter.
Generally, flowers have Sepals and Petals. A sepal is the outer part of the flower. And the petals are within the sepals. Sepals are usually green and their job is to protect the tender petals inside.
In the case of the Prairie Crocus, there are no petals, only sepals, 5 to 7 sepals. These sepals, of course, are not green. They are the showy colours we see on the brown prairie hillsides.
Each stem holds one bloom. The stems are about 4 inches high and they are “hairy” or “woolly” as though Mother Nature decided to dress them warmly so they can tolerate the cold spring.
In fact, the Prairie Crocus knows a lot about staying warm. The sepals create a saucer shape, allowing the crocus to direct the sunlight on the inner stamens and pistils. Not only that, this intelligent plant follows the sun as it crosses the sky, collecting warmth all day long. The warmth helps the pollen and seeds develop, and provides a warm place for insects on a chilly spring day.
The Prairie Crocus is found in the dry prairie grasslands throughout the Prairie Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Manitoba has adopted the flower as its floral emblem, and it appears on this stamp with Manitoba’s coat of arms.
Do you have Prairie Crocuses where you live? Is that what you call them? Or do you give them a different name?
Crocuses from Rolf Stengl
Stamp from Canstockphoto.com #6572872
by Suzanne Stengl | Jul 9, 2013 | Nature
~ Woolly Groundsel and Northern Hedysarum ~
On the Silver Springs hillside, above the still flooded Bow River, the land has never been ploughed.
A few days ago, the hillside boasted 31 varieties of blooming wildflowers. There are many other wildflowers there, but 31 of them were in bloom. That’s what you get with natural prairie.
The yellow ones are called Woolly Groundsel (senecio canus) and the pinks are Northern Hedysarum (hedysarum boreale). The pinks are also called Northern Sweetvetch, but I like Hedysarum better. A pretty word for a pretty flower. Maybe even a name for a character in a story . . .
What’s blooming where you live?