“Pic of the Week”, August 7, 2015: Table Mountain’s “Tablecloth”

1 Table Mountain

It’s fascinating being atop Table Mountain, the mountain that dominates beautiful Cape Town in South Africa.  There’s an easy and a hard way to get atop the mesa of that mountain.  The hard way is to walk up — steep grades and a significant verticle gain.  The easy way is to do what we did — take the cable car to the top.

The mountain is a fascinating ecosystem and one of its most amazing features is the layer of cloud that forms on it, known as the “tablecloth” to the locals.  The tablecloth is not static.  Like the fog in San Francisco, it sometimes appears out of nowhere and moves.  The cloud actually advances with remarkable speed and can obscure your views …

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“Pic of the Week”, March 6, 2015. Clearing winter storm

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While much of the eastern part of North America has had some terrible winter storms this year, we in the west have had a relatively mild winter.  There are some storms, but in Alberta these have been short and separated by periods of warmer weather (thanks to the warming westerly Chinook winds).

Still, within the Rocky Mountains winter storms can be dramatic and dump lots of snow.  At at distance, they seem beautiful to me.  A few photos of a storm in the Alberta Rockies viewed from the foothills of the great prairies.

 

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“Pic of the Week”. April 11, 2014: Paine Massif, Torres Del Paine National Park

2014 015a March 13a Paines Massif, Torres Del Paine

I love mountains and perhaps the most amazingly shaped mountain I’ve ever seen is the Paine Massif in Chilean Patagonia.  Very distant from major cities, the Paine Massif is about 2000 km (over 1200 mi) south of Santiago.  The park in which it’s situated, Torres Del Paine National Park, is one of the treasures of the natural world.   There are two very worthwhile mountain formations to see in the park, one being this peak (my favorite) and the other being the three towers the park is named after (Torres Del Paine).  These two formations are in quite close proximity and from the right angle you can see both in one field of view.

I’d been aware of this region for …

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“Pic of the Week”. February 14, 2014. Ice in the Vertical Plane — Seven Sisters Dam, Manitoba, & Cascade Mountain, Alberta

2014 007 Feb  14a Whiteshell park Seven Sisters Dam

I’ve always found water freezing vertically, rather than in it’s usual horizontal plane, to be oddly appealing.   Obviously it has to freeze slowly, a trickle of water turning solid as gravity pushes it towards the earth.  Individually these drops don’t mount to much but when there are millions of them you create a natural work of art.

Today’s highlighted photos are of two destinations I visited this past year which demonstrated “ice in the vertical”.  The photo above was taken late winter in eastern Manitoba’s Whiteshell Provincial Park, a place I fondly remember from my childhood.  My family would often go camping, fishing, and gathering wild blueberries and mushrooms here during the summer.  The Seven Sisters …

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“Pic of the Week”, Oct. 4, 2013. Stanley Glacier, Kootenay National Park

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Stanley Glacier is easily accessible, so it’s a popular day hike in the Canadian Rockies.  It’s situated by the border of the B.C. and Alberta, near Castle Junction in Kootenay National Park.  The trail provides a great half day hike with an elevation gain of 365 m (1200 ft), taking you to the foot of Stanley Glacier.  The hike encompasses much of what makes the Canadian Rockies special, with wonderful panoramas, cascading creeks, rugged mountains and the hanging Stanley Glacier in a hanging valley.
If you hike in the fall, about this time of year or a little earlier, you’ll be treated to some wonderful colors along the lower portion of the trail in the area of an old …

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.All Trips / Europe / Iceland

A journey around Iceland (Part 4) North Iceland

A journey around Iceland —  4) North Iceland

Our journey around the Ring Road continued as we headed north on the eastern shore of the island towards North Iceland.  (I’ve again chosen to describe our experiences here in sequential fashion).  During this relatively short stretch we encountered the worst weather of our trip, with exceedingly strong gusts of wind and intermittent rain.  By our estimate the gusts were up to 40 mph and at times we had to fight to keep the car on the road (thank God we weren’t driving an RV or cargo truck!).   We did see wild reindeer running across the grasslands — probably seeking shelter from the elements.  The scenery remained beautiful and in a few hours we had entered …

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