Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Trail for 'Cool Adventurers' - Chermside Hills

Wednesday 29 June

We had arrived at the Raven Street entrance to todays' walking trails by 9 am. It was a tad chilly as we sat enjoying delicious cake and hot coffee, before we visited the impressive Downfall Creek Bushland Centre, a wonderful place for children to learn about the surrounding environment. We were able to gather a selection of maps for future walks.

Immediately outside is a sensory trail for visitors. It caters for those with special needs with a solid path, handrails and tactile signage of braille and raised text. Audio guides are available.

Viewing pipes draw the eye to points of interest like ant nests, possum boxes etc.

On discovering the sign below, we were certain we had found our trail for the day.

Here are the  'cool adventurers' leaving the sensory trail and heading off towards Milne Hill Reserve.

The brochure informed us, that we would venture through open forest, woodland and dry rainforest. With the sun glinting warmly through the trees, we were rapt to be out and about on this winter's day.
Bush views.

A tad damp here.

Animals spotted - Wallaby and joey.
Brush turkey and nest.

No koala's, but signs of their presence was spotted on several trees.

Native bees were buzzing furiously in and out of the trunk of this gum.
The magpies were diving in and snapping them up in their beaks. Sadly I didn't manage a clear photo.
Mallard ducks
Wood ducks

Wildflowers - bottle brush


Where there was water, there was an abundance of the majestic tree ferns.

We hiked nearly 9 kms and were surprised at how much ascent and descent this included. Mostly it was in enclosed bush, but on occasion we had views of the busy suburban world. Yet again we are grateful to the Brisbane City Council for saving another green area for all to enjoy.

Prince Charles Hospital

12 kms away, Brisbane CBD. 

15 kms away the Gateway Bridge.

The views to the hinterland were much more to my liking.

Our day in the great outdoors 'down under' was refreshing and invigorating. I might not like our chilly mornings, but our sunny winter days are hard to beat.

I would love to read your comment.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

A change of plan - Emerald Lake

To better enjoy the photos please click on them to increase their size.

Leaving Banff at 8.30 am, our aim was to drive to Lake Louise and hike the Agnes Lake trail.
The weather wasn't at all promising as we drove, [yet again], along the Bow Valley Way, to bear spot. Success - 1 elk and a contentedly, grazing black bear.

The weather didn't improve at all. The clouds were low and the rain was increasing in strength, when we arrived at Lake Louise. It seemed timely to check out the charm of the Fairmont Chateaux Lake Louise.

Stuart quickly came up with plan B. 
After warming up with a delicious hot chocolate, we continued  along the Trans Canadian Highway, to Kicking Horse Pass. I was busy taking photos of the misty view, when Stuart brought my attention to a train tunnel in the far distance. He then explained about the:-
Spiral Tunnels
"The steep grade of the railway through Kicking Horse Pass led to frequent accidents and expensive engines. In 1909, the CPR developed an alternative route, the Spiral Tunnels. The chosen route for the tunnels consisted of three-quarter circles driven into the valley walls.

The higher tunnel was about a thousand yards in length and ran south of the original track, under Cathedral Mountain. From here, the railway looped through the mountain, doubled back, and emerged, running beneath itself fifty feet lower.

Descending the valley side in almost the opposite direction before crossing the Kicking Horse River, the lower tunnel passed through Mount Ogden. This tunnel was a few yards shorter than the first, but the descent was nearly the same."

Imagine my excitement when 10 mins later, a freight train began climbing towards the spiral to make its ascent.
Spot the tunnel.
Spot the engine emerging from the tunnel.

Where is the head and tail of the train? It must be well over a kilometre long.

This may give you an idea. The tail [pink] is still entering the tunnel. The engine [red] has passed just below us.
This 1908 panorama from Wikipedia also helps.
As you can imagine we wasted some quite considerable time watching the train snaking its way along. We left as the tail came out of the far tunnel. As we drove further on, we met the engine exiting the 2nd spiral, but there was nowhere to pull over to view this.

The 2nd spiral to take the train through the pass. Sadly, the best I could do.

Our adventure continued on to the meeting of the Yoho and Kicking Horse Rivers. 
Yoho River

Kicking Horse River.
It was quite difficult to find an unobstructed view of their confluence.

'The Natural Bridge' rock arch, a little further along the road, confines the Kicking Horse River to a narrow chute. It was fascinating to watch the glacial waters churning through and escaping into a vortex, before cascading on down the river.
The Natural Arch - above
The Arch

Below the arch, it was relatively, calmly continuing its journey.

Our final destination - Emerald Lake.
This turquoise lake must be stunning on a clear sunny day. It certainly brought me joy as we hiked the 6km trail around its perimeter.

It was difficult for me to imagine that the green slope seen across the lake, is an extremely dangerous avalanche area in winter. 

The Emerald River making its tranquil journey to the tumbling, rushing Kicking Horse River.

Views as we make our way around the lake.

A return 2.3 km trail, took us above the lake to the amazing Hamilton Fall. It was impossible to get a photograph that captures how stunning the fall is having descended from far above, through a deeply carved rock passage.

Field, nestling at the base of Kicking Horse Mountain, was established in the 1880's and soon became the hotbed centre for the railway construction. 

The day was overcast, cold and drizzly, but it didn't dampen my enthusiasm for these mountains, lakes and rivers. My joy swelled when I spotted natures small miracles.

I would love to read your comment.