Ansel Adams in the Canadian Rockies

Although seeing the resplendent majesty of the Canadian Rockies in person has no substitute, the Sierra Club’s “Ansel Adams in the Canadian Rockies” captures the beauty in a book. I downloaded this visual documentary of Adams’ 1928 expedition for the Sierra Club when I returned from my tour, realizing Adams had trekked high into the mountains and over glaciers I only saw from afar. If I was cold, I could not imagine how he must have felt carrying his tripod and cameras.

The black and white photographs reminded me of my own adventures: Mount Edith Cavell, named after the World War II Canadian nurse/spy captured by the Germans; Mount Robson, the highest and most photographed peak (I have my own collection of shots); and the glaciers, most of which have steadily receded since Ansel photographed them. The Robson Glacier is now more than a mile from where Ansel found it in 1928.

Better than my postcards, better than all my own attempts at documenting my trip, “Ansel Adams in the Canadian Rockies” is my reminder of a wild adventure. If you have never been there, it’s worth a look at the book for a vicarious visit.

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Close Encounter with a Canadian Bull Elk

When our wilderness tour guide failed to show us any wildlife during our twilight tour, she reconciled by offering a view of the aurora borealis later at 1 a.m. My friend Ellie and I gamely set our alarms and ventured out of our cabin toward the golf course, the site with least ground light. We heard rustling and saw two female elk, then suddenly he was there – a bull elk with a magnificent rack. He may have seen our flashlights or he may have just been rounding up the ladies, but we heard the growling grunt and then whistling sound, as he started his gallop toward us. Luckily, we were close enough to get back inside to safety. After one last look through the storm door, we decided the colorful night sky could wait for another time, and we were grateful not to have been added to his harem – it is mating season.

On a calmer note, I looked for bookstores by day. Disappointed to find the Banff Nook and Art Den closed, I found Indigo Spirit (a version of the now defunct American Borders Express) and a salesperson who read, willing to share her favorite Canadian authors – Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), Alice Munro (Dear Life), Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants), Alan Bradley (creator of the Flavia de Luce mysteries) – among my favorites too but I had not realized they were Canadian.

I left with a light humorous book to help me through the long plane ride – “No Relation” by Terry Fallis. It has a bear on the cover – the one animal I did not see while in Canada.

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Canada and The Edge

On my trek through Western Canada with its mountains, snow, and glassy lakes – all cold and beautiful – I found a bookstore proudly displaying a Dick Francis mystery -“The Edge.” Of course, I had to buy it. The characters in the book travel through many of the same areas I am, but with the added excitement of an Agatha Christie style murder to solve. Have you read it?

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