Leafing through September…


I’ve been collecting a leaf a day all month, to capture the essence of September on paper. Though most of the fall color here is shades of gold, there is plenty of variation when you stoop to see closely!


We had ourselves an easy hike in Banff this week, skirting Tunnel Mountain…


It was just the kind of hike that makes me feel so alive!!

So let me pass a glimmer of what I saw on to you ( :



Our destination was this little group of hoodoos…


which seemed rather lack luster to us, having seen Bryce Canyon in Arizona…P1220445

But that’s ok—the process of getting there was a treat (mostly).

A burning bush along the way:


I attended a watercolor workshop earlier that day in Banff.  This mountain was our subject.
A guest First Nations man told tales while we tried to capture the picture on paper…

Drawn Banff

He said there’s power in the mountains and some Indians, including himself,  aren’t strong enough to stand living here.  (He lives on the prairies.)  He alluded to a creator that noone really knows much about, except that he’s given us all this and there’s no way we can repay him/her.  So they revere the creation and have ceremonies acknowledging their indebtedness.  Meanwhile myths and superstitions have filled the void of not-knowing and many are the stories that are told, attributing god-like power to creatures and denying the Creator…

And I thought, how sad—to recognize the grandeur but miss the identity of the Creator  ‘for his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.’ 

And my thought is that if there’s perceptible power in these mountains it is just this—they speak of God’s power and majesty!  They are a constant reminder of  His nearness to His people.

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the LORD surrounds His people
from this time forth and forever
. Ps.125:2 NKJV

Meanwhile back home the skies and the meadows and the golden splashes of autumn continue to inspire praise!


And it occurs to me that perceiving beauty is all  about the way the light shines…


The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.  He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.Jn.1:9,10 NLT

But thanks be to God—

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. II Cor.4:6


I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Ps.142:5












The Sound of Autumn…

I heard them bugling with the light of dawn… an eerie hollow strained sound ending with a tinny whistle.
I snuck out of bed to watch them from the front window and then the porch—a whole herd of elk just outside my door, feeding on bushes and tips of spruce as they wandered along in the quiet of early morning… P1210982

The mothers keeping watch over their gangly half-grown offspring  eyed me suspiciously standing there in my pajamas…The buck noted my existence but seemed unimpressed… P1210981and then a second larger grander buck came striding intently across my line of vision oblivious to my presence. All the others cleared out of his way, the younger buck taking the lead, and moved along out of view around the end of our string of houses…  Rutting season has begun.P1210991





The following morning I came out to breakfast less impressed.  Not only are elk wild, majestic and awesome to watch… They also eat petunias, ravage lobelia, and generally have no sense of the aesthetic value of a profusion of potted flowers on an otherwise sterile porch…  They left me a straggle of  pansiesIMG_20160829_125702139 and a few token petunias, and the dirt.  The time for flowers is past.  Autumn is upon us, and with it, the elk.

So I took my camera and went scavenging for any remaining beauties in the meadow…

P1220042P1210999P1220003P1220004P1220008P1220014P1220016The bees are scavenging too.P1220019P1220028P1220030P1220038

We squeezed in another hike on a day of mixed sun and cloud…This time, Tunnel Mountain, which sits smack dab in the middle of Banff.  It reminded us of hiking up Scout

Here it is from the highway:

Tunnel Mountain Banff

And here’s the view from both sides at the top…

The Bow River, winds its turquoise thread through the valley


The one remaining highlight of the week was getting to spectate ( :  as The Tour of Alberta got underway on Day 2 from the heart of Kananaskis country just down the highway from us.

IMG_20160902_122656626_HDR Pretty neat!


O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Ps.104:24 ESV












A cup of Tea?

Summer will not long be with us.  Already a dusting of snow has appeared on the mountain ranges around us.  So we’ve squeezed in a few hikes this month…I’ll let you guess which was my favorite!

Up, Up and UP we went to find the fabled ‘Teahouse’ on Lady MacDonald, which rises just across the highway from townLady McDonald HikeIMG_20160818_114144179IMG_20160818_123438098_HDRIMG_20160818_123452092_HDRIMG_20160818_123553621_HDRIMG_20160818_123811211_HDR

The ascent was a doozer, steep and relentless,  and we never did find the teahouse, only a helicopter pad…


Had we read more closely we would have realized that the elusive teahouse was never completed.  This failed enterprise of some tycoon visionary was demolished a few years back.   All that remains is the helicopter pad that would have saved the diners an arduous hike!

But had we come just a few years sooner we might have seen this:

and the gazebo that is no moreTeahouse Lady McDonald[from Internet archives…]

Climbing three thousand feet in under 2 1/2 miles is difficult but the descent was at least as bad! IMG_20160818_130832731

My quads complained for days! They are accustomed to pedaling, not climbing and descending.

At least now I can point to this mountainIMG_20160818_172234133and tell you just where the helicopter pad sits and how once-upon-a-time we climbed up to it…


Well, that was last week.  Hoping to ‘lock in’ these climbing muscles  we went for another summit in Banff a couple days ago—Sulphur Mountain.  IMG_20160825_114449168_HDR

We once took the gondola but not this time. IMG_20160825_114456487_HDR IMG_20160825_121948567

A seemingly endless series of switchbacks tamed the 2,283 feet of rise, spreading it nicely over 3 1/2 miles.  And this time there was a real coffeehouse at the top from which to survey the expanse of Banff


and to wait out a passing squall.

Then we hustled down the mountain to dine at McD’s and hurry home to get ready for the kids coming for a birthday celebration!

With them we did another sweeter hike the following day.

This time, just 2.8 miles round trip and just 853 feet of rise, but with smaller feet and shorter legs it was a triumph for all!


The rock faces around Grassi Lakes are a rock climber’s destination, so some of us tried a hand at that too…



P1210931climbing in the wilds

It was a splendid day!





Ho-ho cake anyone?


Go and walk through the land, and describe it, and come again to me… Joshua 18:8

Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. Ps.89:15