June 22, 2012

The Flood of 2012

The picnic area behind the Lake Louise Visitor Centre
We've had two days of nice weather in a row, so it's hard to believe that just two weeks ago, we were all experiencing the flood of 2012.  On June 5 & 6, we received about twice the entire monthly average rainfall for June, and the rivers just couldn't hold it all.

The bridge to "nowhere" on the Bow River Loop Trail near Lake Louise
Now that a couple of weeks have passed, and the photos taken on June 7 have made the rounds, we can take a look at what happened.  Most facilities have dried out and will be fine, but a few hiking bridges were damaged.  Some will require major repairs.

This was the third significant flood in the mountain parks in the last 30 years, the last being in 1986 and 2007.  This year has been a biggie, however.  Other rivers in western Canada are just reaching their maximum flood levels now.  The Fraser River, which rises west of Jasper National Park, is seeing its highest water since 1972.

All we can say is that the power of water is awe-inspiring.

The suspension bridge over the Vermilion River to the Paint Pots in Kootenay National Park

June 17, 2012

Mystery Mammal – CSI Yoho!

Earlier this week, while leading a guided hike to Yoho Pass, we came across a huge pile of fur right on the trail.  Clearly, something had met its maker, but what?

The fur was incredibly long, about 20 or 22 cm (8 – 9 inches), so it was definitely a winter coat.  Each hair was white at the base, and almost black at the tip.  Hmmm...

After the hike, I bumped into a friend who works for Parks Canada, in the department that monitors wildlife and deals with conflicts between animals and people.  He knew about the remains and said they belonged to... a moose!

It had been killed in early April, when animals still have their thick winter fur.  His guess was wolves, and when he and a co-worker had visited the site then, they found both wolf and wolverine tracks in the snow.

Mystery solved.