Kamakura was the capital of Japan from 1185 to 1333, as the seat of the Kamakura Shogunate, and became the nation’s most populous settlement from 1200 to 1300 during the Kamakura period. This city, 47 minutes away from Tokyo by train, is a popular domestic tourist destination in Japan. It is a coastal city with a high number of seasonal festivals, as well as ancient Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines.
We had visited here only briefly in 1982.
We seemed to arrive in Kamakura in no time at all, as we caught each other up on our lives since we had last met.
Enoshima Electric Railway is a private 10 km narrow gauge railway operating since 1900. It has 15 stations and winds its way through Kamakura. As a tourist attraction, it was packed on this day.
Way back in my first post on this series, I talked about Kunika, a home stay student that one of our dear friends, J had hosted for an entire school year. In the good old days of not knowing everyone’s E-mail address, we relied on snail mail to make the initial contact and let her know when we were coming and asking if we could get together. As the day of our departure drew closer and closer, we still had not heard from her and we grew worried we would miss meeting up with her, altogether.
At long last, I received an E-mail from Kunika, reading “Kunika is Alive”. The only mailing address we had was for her parents, who had moved not long ago. The letter had been held up, but was finally delivered. The parents let Kunika (now married and living elsewhere) know she had mail and the rest, as they say, is history.
We had arranged to meet at our hotel on this day to head off an adventure in Kamakura (separate posts) and then join Kunika and Masa for supper, back at their home. Masa was in the dentist chair in the morning, but would join us in Kamakura later in the day.
We were so lucky to have good friends who lived in the area to show us around.
If you don’t like the weather here, just wait 5 minutes is an oft heard refrain in our part of the world. We were conflicted on whether to do our weekly forest walk today or not. The forecast promised a mix of sun and cloud and limited or no snow.
Meanwhile, a look out the window showed that there was significant flurry activity. We opted to give it a go and set off on our drive in snow and blowing snow conditions.
Arriving to an empty parking lot. Hmmm. I wonder why. Snow is still falling.
…and the snowfall lessened and stopped.
As we walked, we spotted a massive bird flying off ahead of us. We recognized that it was an owl that we had disturbed and we were on the lookout for his next perch as we walked. Owls tend to be sleepy during the day, unless disturbed by noisy hikers like us.
We soon spotted this Great Horned Owl in a tree back from the trail and he/she was a beauty. Definitely trying to sleep, but keeping one squinty eye on us.
Colour: light grey to dark brown, ear tufts, fine horizontal breast barring, facial disk has a dark outline, white chin, underparts
Size: L: 46-64 cm (18 1/4 – 25 1/4 inches) W: 91-152 cm. (36 – 60 inches)
Common year round
(Source: Birds of Alberta – Chris Fisher/John Acorn)
At the meadow, we opted to take the Blueberry Connector to shorten our walk on the Aspen Parkland Trail. We also took this shortcut during our walk at -38 C.
We saw some character tree bands, a moose footprint and a long hidden well protected wasp nest on a conifer.
Back on the Aspen Parkland Trail, we stopped for a break and were soon being investigated by the local Chickadee Gang. We opted to reward them for their appearance.
At the Grove, we headed away from the parking lot on Aspen Parkland and Tamarack Trails to seek adventure on a new path, the Meadow View trail or as one hiker referred to it, “the hike to a view with no view”.
Our hope was to spot one of the 4 moose that live in the meadow, but no such luck. The trail though exceeded our expectations and was quite pretty.
At the top of the rise, we found a log to sit on and “enjoy” our lunch. The wind was howling and we were on the exposed hill, but it was still a fine vantage point.
Lunch over, we retraced our steps .53 km back to the Tamarack Trail junction.
We’ve all heard that saying…”What Goes Up, Must Come Down”. It can refer to a variety of things, such as hiking in the mountains, climbing a lot of stairs, firing a gun up into the air, well, maybe a bit less on this last one.
But, the statement is indeed true in a variety of circumstances. In our area right now, I would use it to refer to the February warm spell that melted a significant amount of our snowfall. In this neighbourhood and in this season, you just know, it will come back soon, as snow. That did happen here with a recent dump of 15cm (6 inches).
Having some time on our hands and needing a bit of exercise, we set off for a walk (more of a trudge in places, actually) in our small city to explore the new layer of winter white under sunny, bright blue skies.
I must admit, Jasper National Park and the Alberta boundary were a welcome sight on this day. We were thrilled to reach the Eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains and be only 4 hours away from home. This was our 9th trip along this route in under 2 years.
As we had just eaten less than 2 hours ago in Valemount and as we were still good for fuel, we were only stopping in Jasper for a rest and scenery break and then carrying on to Hinton for fuel and Edson for another rest stop. With luck, we should be home before dark.
Entering Alberta and Jasper National Park
The green lakes of summer give way to the green ice of winter
At long last, the fog seemed to burn off and we were left with sunny blue skies and very wet roads. We were lucky to have lots of washer fluid with us, as we had to continually use the wipers to clear the windshield.
When the car windows were clean, the views were striking and we felt blessed to be travelling in this area during decent weather and road conditions.
Mt. Robson view – at 2975 m (9,760 feet) it is the most prominent mountain in the Rocky Mountains and the highest point in the Canadian Rockies)
Given that it was a good 10 hour drive from Kamloops to home, we were up early, so we could leave close to first light. I grabbed some things from the breakfast room downstairs and brought them back to the room. We opted to go to Starbucks to get a coffee for the road and that proved to be a bad idea.
This Starbucks had no drive thru, so I went in to place my order for 2 Americanos. These were produced, but due to Covid, they were the ones to add the milk or cream. I watched them add it and told them when I thought it was enough, but I forgot it was Starbucks coffee, always stronger, always more bitter (I hear some people like it that way). It seems I did not allow them to put in enough cream and my beloved was not a fan. To be fair, I did warn her and suggested Tim Hortons coffee, but they had just let us down just the day before, so that was a non starter. Err on the side of confusion, I always say.
Nonetheless, we hit the road as light greeted the day around 7:20 AM. Driving out of Kamloops, road and weather looked fine and we hoped this would continue.
…we didn’t have the foggiest as these rural scenes show.
On past Little Fort, Barriere and Clearwater, we rolled, fog getting thicker and thinner….
Clear somewhere near Avola…
The recent fresh snow was evident on these bear carvings at Blue River
We were certainly glad we were not driving here 2 days ago when the snow was falling
At this time of year, most of us think of our Mothers, even if only for a day. My Mom has been gone for many years, but I often think of the things she taught me and how she cared for me when I was sick or hurting. 48 long years later, I do still miss her.
When Patty and I first had children, I made it my responsibility to make sure the kids never forgot to honour their Mother on this one day. Now that they are bigger, I no longer need to remind them and in the last few years, I have forgone the giving of cards and gifts, from me accordingly. But, this year, as I was flipping through my photos, I thought it timely to refresh my appreciation for the Mother of our children.
Happy Mothers’ Day to all the Mothers out there. Happy Mother’s Day to my Patty!
Winter sunrises can be quite beautiful, but the one I captured on this March morn was unexpectedly beautiful. After cold temperatures and 15 cm (6 inches) fresh snow, the cold air was full of ice fog and hoar frost covered the winter scene.
With everything covered in morning mist and icy rime, the sunrise looked promising, so I drove West of the city to catch morning’s arrival. Above me, the high tension power lines crackled under the influence of the frosty rime, which covered all stationary surfaces. As I snapped away, I became aware of my fingers turning into ice. Hmmm. Time to warm up.
Arriving in Kamloops, we gassed up before checking into our “usual hotel”. After sanitizing the room, we phoned Pizza Now for a large pizza and headed out for fine in-car dining. The pizza did not disappoint.
As we were time shifting to get back on Alberta time, we did our best to move our old people’s dining hour forward to 3:30 (4:30 Alberta). Back at the hotel, we relaxed in our oasis of calm (no sports tournament guests on this trip). From time to time, I would take photos out the East window, which looked down the valley and I eventually came up with the time sequence idea. Last photos taken, like the day, we hit the pit and faded to black. Tomorrow would be a long driving day.
Just before shutting down my laptop the previous evening, I again checked all the weather reports along our route to home and was disturbed to see that 10-15 cm of snow was predicted between Hope and Merrit and that this could affect our drive home. Knowing that forecasts have been wrong before, I kept my mouth shut and crossed my fingers. No use worrying until the morning.
Turns out waiting and not worrying was the way to go. There had been snow, but it was not as bad as predicted.
After escaping Vancouver, going in the opposite direction to the 30 km long Freedom?? Convoy, it was smooth driving all the way to Hope. We made great time and were given some “hope” upon seeing the open notices on the highway sign.
At the Great Bear Snowshed – a 280 meter (920 foot) long snow shed near the pass summit. The snow was right down to the highway, but roads were just wet. Good thing I brought the whole jug of washer fluid with me.
Our duties done and suitable weather along our return route home meant that it was now time to make the long trek back to Alberta. Ahhhh, do we really have to? Before climbing into the car, we opted to give our heads and the roads a bit more time to clear and headed off for one last snowless walk.
To say that our hotel room had a water view might be construed as being overly generous. If we stood on one leg, close to the window, cocked our head sharply to the right and squinted, we could just see the sunset over English Bay, sort of.
Sorry for the fuzzy pix, but there was a lot between us and the water. That being said, we loved our 10 nights at the Listel. We originally planned on staying 8 nights, but extended our stay for 2 more nights to wait for the weather to improve in the mountain passes. We were both anxious and sad to be leaving. Much as this was not supposed to be a relaxing fun trip, we still managed to enjoy our moments in Vancouver.
Walking through Bunchberry to get away from the current news cycle, I realized that the trees in the forest are of much better character than many narcissists, who masquerade as world leaders. No need to say more, the definition and the photos say it all so much better.
Definition of character (as per Merriam Webster online dictionary)
1a: one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual.
b(1): a feature used to separate distinguishable things into categories
(2): the aggregate of distinctive qualities characteristic of a breed, strain, or type
(3): the detectable expression of the action of a gene or group of genes
c: the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation
d: main or essential nature especially as strongly marked and serving to distinguish
Walking through the grove
We so seldom come this way, it was like being on the hike for the first time as we passed more character trunks
Going the opposite direction, we almost did not recognize we were approaching our regular walking trail
Coming out of the forest into the meadow, we spotted a few more lichen adornments
Colour and texture
except for the invisible deer, bunnies, coyotes, mice and such – there was plenty of evidence, but no sightings
Our lethargy and our lack of enthusiasm for walking a long distance on icy sidewalks took us into Edmonton for a short walk today. Parking at the Kinsmen Sports Centre we walked North across the new Walterdale Bridge on the East side and then back South on the West side.
The following information on this new bridge is a rehash from my April 1, 2021 post on my Photoblography3 blogspot.
A river crossing has operated at or near this location since the late 1800’s. Originally, John Walter built and operated a cable ferry (scow hull) across the North Saskatchewan River between the communities of Strathcona on the South bank and Edmonton on the North bank. The nearby Low Level bridge, constructed in 1900 did not negate the need for a ferry and he continued to run the service until 1913 when the High Level and 5th Street bridges were completed.
The original bridge at this location was a steel truss and steel grate bridge opened in 1913. It was named the 5th Street Bridge until 1914, then the 105th Street Bridge until 1967, when it was renamed the Walterdale Bridge (in honour of John Walter). It continued in operation until September 29, 2017, when a new through arch “signature” bridge was completed and opened. It is 230 m (750 feet) long and a brilliant addition to the Edmonton skyline.
I moved to the city in 1974 and met my wife-to-be in 1975. From that point until the new bridge was opened, we drove across the old steel grate bridge many times and she often told me that when she was growing up, she always called it the “ticklefoot bridge” because of the vibrations caused by the car tires running over the open grating.
All that being said, we wanted a change of scenery with a low impact exercise to break up the day as our winter weather drags on. All told, the whole walk was likely about 2 km.