These two cuties are Brady and Ferguson. They turned 9 in June which makes me shake my head in disbelief because I've known them since they were 3 months old. Their dad contacted me back in September 2009 and they've been a client ever since. I see them every day while their dad is at work.
I had a long list of places I wanted to see on day 3 but I wasn't sure I'd get to all of them. I left the hotel around 6:15am and headed for Lake Louise which was a 40 minute drive. It was another cloudy morning so I wasn't sure what type of shots I'd get. I didn't spend a ton of time here because I knew the shots wouldn't be great because of all of the clouds. The color of the lake water is just amazing but the clouds covering the mountains in the background is disappointing. After I captured a few photos, I headed for Peyto Lake.
A NOTE ABOUT BEARS If you didn't read my last post, This Pet Sitter takes a Vacation, reading it now will make this next part make more sense. :) I'd done a lot of research prior to the trip and I knew that I was in bear country; black bears and grizzly bears. Several of the places I was going required hiking in "tight groups of 4 or more." I may delve into that phrasing in another post.... but it did turn me into a huge chicken and not wanting to venture away from the crowds.
My photographer guide Mark from the day before told me this about the bears: He said to make a lot of noise when you are on the trail because you don't want to startle the bear. Let him know you're coming particularly if you are rounding a bend and you can't see what might be ahead of you. He said black bears and grizzlies are very different. If you see a black bear, get as big as you can and make a lot of noise. Most will have no interest in you and he will be reluctant to approach you if you seem bigger than he is. (He did also say if it was a black bear with cubs, get out. Mama bear will become much more aggressive if her cubs are around.) He said with grizzlies, forget the strategy of trying to get big. He said grizzlies know that they are bigger than you. You want to back out of the situation as quickly as you can. Back out, don't run. So this was my bear avoidance training.
I was really excited to see Peyto Lake (Pee-toe.) I'd read online that there is a lookout that gets really crowded with tourists as the day goes on so I wanted to get there early. I'd also read that there was a nice hike to do above the lake that was rarely crowded. I was hoping to find some people interested in exploring the upper part of the lake trail. When I got there, I found 2 people on the lookout. Turns out they were a couple from The Netherlands. They were super nice but not interested in hiking the upper trail b/c the husband had a bum knee. I asked if I could walk back down to the parking lot with them as I shared my fear of bears story. Turns out they shared some of my fear - they were carrying bear spray and the wife kept saying "Hi Bear" when they were out walking alone.
**I should mention that when I got to Peyto, I walked about halfway up the trail to the lake and I turned around to head back to the car. I was psyching myself out thinking about bears. I took a deep breath, turned around and headed back up the trail to the lake.
I didn't spend much time at Peyto and I was disappointed about not doing the upper trail. Part 2 of Day 3 to follow.
On our 6th day of vacation, we went to Canmore to the Snowy Owl Sled Dog tour. I'd looked up their website before going there so I had an idea of what to expect. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about seeing all of the dogs tethered. My expectations were exceeded by a long shot. The dogs certainly seem to be well cared for and loved. I was in heaven!!! Since it was summer, they give tours of their kennels. During the winter months, you can actually go sledding.
We were greeted by our host and she explained what we'd be doing. They keep the boy and girl dogs separated by a chain link fence. They rotate "play days" for the boys and the girls and today was the boys day to play. I didn't realize that we'd be meeting about 100 dogs - all off leash. There were probably about 20 of us humans and 100 dogs. Have I mentioned that I was in heaven?
As an aside, for those familiar with photography, I use the same lens about 80% of the time when I am photographing dogs. Up until now on vacation, I'd almost exclusively (aside from the bear sighting) been using a wide angle lens for landscape photography. It felt great to put the lens on my camera that I am most used to using.
I spent most of my time photographing the dogs. I need to go back again and spend less time photographing and more time loving on and listening to the hosts explain what and how they do what they do. And then I'd like to go back and photograph some more! And I want to go back to Canmore on a Thursday. Thursdays are their farmer's market days and we met a man who makes handmade kitchen items. I am still kicking myself for not buying the pepper grinder we saw. It would've been a great souvenir and it was my birthday.... I obviously wasn't thinking!
As with the wolves the other day, I took tons of pictures of the sled dogs. I only wish I had their names.
Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tour