Geocache Maintenance Walk – Canmore

As the water in the Bow River continues to recede, new areas of rock and silt are exposed and thin layers of crunchy ice form along the banks.

As the water in the Bow River continues to recede, new areas of rock and silt are exposed and thin layers of crunchy ice form along the banks.

After 8 hours of driving yesterday, I answered “YES!” almost before Mr. GeoK finished asking if I’d like to go for a walk today. We opted for a relatively short loop in the Three Sisters neighbourhood of Canmore, which took us past 6 of the 21 geocaches we hid in August and September. Now that there’s some snow on the ground, we wanted to tweak a couple of them to make them more winter friendly. And we needed to check on one that had a note posted the other day suggesting the container might be missing.

The sky was grey, with low cloud and fog hanging in the Bow Valley most of the morning, so we were delighted to see some patches of blue sky and sunshine and to find a point of easy access to a newly-revealed gravel bar in the Bow River.

Mantracker Island is still not accessible without getting wet feet! We will keep checking on a couple of trees that are leaning precariously; perhaps one of them will succumb to gravity and we'll have a point of access later this winter. In the meantime, we can only gaze across the expanse of open water at the flood debris blanketing the island.

Mantracker Island is still not accessible without getting wet feet! We will keep checking on a couple of trees that are leaning precariously; perhaps one of them will succumb to gravity and we’ll have a point of access later this winter. In the meantime, we can only gaze across the expanse of open water at the flood debris blanketing the island.

After walking just a short distance along the Riverside Trail, we retraced our route and then veered off into the trees to follow unofficial (but well-established) trails towards the Bow River Campground. One break in the trees provided an excellent view towards Cascade Mountain in Banff National Park.

The recent snow blankets a new gravel bar in the Bow River. The midday sky was quite colourful, with the brightest and whitest clouds hanging over Cascade Mountain in Banff National Park.

The recent snow blankets a new gravel bar in the Bow River. The midday sky was quite colourful, with the brightest and whitest clouds hanging over Cascade Mountain in Banff National Park.

Near the TransCanada Highway bridge over the Bow River, we paused to watch an American Dipper perched on the very edge of a thin sheet of ice growing out from the shoreline. We didn’t know what type of bird it was at the time – only that it kept sticking its entire head underwater. At one point, it went right into the water and seemed to be struggling. I was afraid it was getting hypothermia and was going to drown / die. But then it made its way to the shoreline and proceeded to consume a fingerling fish it had caught! That scenario was the key to our tentative identification of the lone bird as an American Dipper. If anyone out there knows for sure, please confirm or correct our identification by leaving a comment.

This lone American Dipper was underwater for quite a while and then appear to struggle a bit as it made its way towards the shoreline. When it emerged from the water with a wriggling fingerling fish in its beak, we were quite entranced!

This lone American Dipper was underwater for quite a while and then appear to struggle a bit as it made its way towards the shoreline. When it emerged from the water with a wriggling fingerling fish in its beak, we were quite entranced! (Sorry it’s hard to see; I didn’t have a long zoom lens with me and didn’t want to get too close for fear of disturbing the bird’s lunch.)

After our on private viewing of that special live episode of Hinterland Who’s Who, it was finally time to check on our geocaches. We ended up making a slight modification to one of them to make it more winter friendly and we confirmed that the possibly missing container was still in its proper hiding spot (but was left very well hidden by the most recent finder).

Although the final stretch of our walk was fairly close the TransCanada Highway, the sky was interesting enough that we paused to take one more photo of the Bow Valley before heading home for a mug of delicious hot cocoa!

Dramatic clouds hung over the Bow Valley most of the day. Bright white clouds were moving high across the sky towards the northeast while the grey clouds hung quite still at a lower altitude for hours.

Dramatic clouds hung over the Bow Valley most of the day. Bright white clouds were moving high across the sky towards the northeast while the grey clouds hung quite still at a lower altitude for hours.

Don’t let the cooler weather keep you indoors. The pathways aren’t (too) slippery yet, the winter sky can be amazing and you never know when you’ll be lucky enough to have an amazing wildlife encounter. We were out for about two hours and returned home refreshed, relaxed and ready for next week. Thanks Mother Nature!

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3 thoughts on “Geocache Maintenance Walk – Canmore

    • Hi Linda – What a nice surprise to learn that you’re into geocaching, at least a little bit. I’ll watch for your “found it” logs on some of our Canmore caches. Good luck with your show in Calgary this weekend.

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      • We are, although a little sporadic at it! My two young boys enjoy it, and my 22-yr-old loves it and introduced us to it. Maybe we will save yours for when he is home at Christmas! Geocaching is so much fun! And thanks re: the show. It’s always fun to get out and chat with folks face-to-face!

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