We headed out from Cochrane in Alberta to Kimberley in the south west corner of British Columbia. As the crow flies, it should be fairly quick journey, but those big mountains get in the way, so we had to put up with a four-hour drive along some of the most beautiful highways ever. It's a tough life.
The devastation caused by the dreaded pine-beetle runs for miles and miles and is a very sobering sight.
The whole eco-system must be changing as some animals and insects move to a new neighbourhood, and yet other creatures move in to the decaying and changing forests. Maybe it's an up and coming area for some kinds of insect yuppies?!
But it's good to see the little saplings making a bid for freedom - I wonder how many decades this will take to fix? Nature is great at sorting itself out, but it will take years for these dead tree carcasses to fall and rot down and feed the ground again.
We pass some mini hoodoos on the way down Highway 93.
Fantastic ripples in the rock.
We were staying with some friends who have bought a townhouse up by the ski hills of Kimberley.
Welcome to Germany!
Kimberley is a old mining town that decided, like many small towns, that it needed to re-invent itself to avoid closure and rot. Ski-hills and associated facilities were re-vamped, the old mines and railway are now a tourist attraction and the town decided to re-launch itself on a Bavarian theme. I don't really know why, but a town offering bratwurst and schnitzel in the shadows of the Canadian Rockies certainly offers a new theme!
And the nature ain't bad either ...
In fact, I was determined to hunt out some wild-life. I need moose to complete my photo album you see. Any moose out there?
Well, no - lots of deer - more than I have ever seen actually - absolutely everywhere.
A bad, blurry picture of a large heron-type fella - don't ask me for species.
And a cute picture of a fluffy squirrel - probably not that unusual really, but he's not quite grey, and he's certainly not black - not like the squirrels I am used to seeing around my way these days.
And my piece de resistance .....
My first black bear !
Again - slightly blurry photos, but one doesn't walk up close to these beautiful creatures and disturb them from their current meal, for fear of presenting oneself as dessert.