Canada

I am so stoked that one of my pictures from Beakerhead was picked up by one of my favourite websites/blogs of all time, My Modern Met! I have religously browsed through this website almost every day when I have a bit of downtime and to have one of my photos on that site, is truly an amazing experience!

Check out the article below;

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/most-spectacular-photos-from-beakerhead-2015

If you ever want any inspiration or just want to look at some amazing work from around the world, check out their website. I absolutely love it! I will have more Beakerhead photos up in the next little while… and if you have no idea what the hell I am talking about, I will give you a little background on it too 🙂

 

Nic


May 1st in Canada was Victoria Day this year. After a fairly mild winter, I was excited to be able to get out and go for a hike out in the mountains. Being the romantic I am, I figured what better way to celebrate the holiday than to head out to Victoria Glacier on Victoria Day. The icing on the cake is that my home state in Australia is Victoria. It’s enough Victoria to make you sick!

I decided I wanted an early start and so I camped out in the back of the Jeep the night before out in the carpark so I could beat the crowds. I love sleeping in the back of that thing. I usually have something to eat, do a bit of reading, listen to some music and have a beer or two. I took full advantage of being out there too by taking a few photos of Lake Louise in the middle of the night that you can see here.

Being spring time, the majority of the lake was still frozen but that didn’t stop taking a few snaps. Check out the mountains in the distance, the one in the centre that you can see is Mt. Lefroy. That is roughly where I would eventually hike to, just over 7 kms in the distance. The final distance return, being just over 14kms. My longest hike yet and one that left me a little sore but was totally worth it!

Lake Louise, winter

The walk around Lake Louise is a pleasant one, especially at that time of day. The lake can be so busy and crowded with tourists, climbers and hikers that it really was magical to walk around with barely anyone else there. The air was crisp and it looked like I was going to get in a really beautiful day. Below you can see the view from the other side of the lake, next to where the glacier meltwater runs into the lake. From that point, I did not see another person until on my way back hours later!

Lake Louise

It wasn’t too bad of a hike, well for someone in the physical condition that I am in, it certainly gave the lungs the a bit of a workout but for any regular hiker, I would imagine it to be a piece of cake. The views along the way were spectacular. I loved the entrance way into the thick forest below. Slowly making my way towards the glacier it was a cool little part of the hike that I couldn’t help but take a photo of.

Trail, Secret Passage

Once I got through the trees, I could see the start of the lower glacier. It was an awesome site, with huge moraines on either side of the valley where the once mighty glacier would have carved its way through the mountains. Th walk along the ridge line was tight with them towering a few hundred feet above the glacier below as you can see but it really was exhilarating! Mount Lefroy which was once in the distance was now drawing ever closer and for the first time, I could see these mountains are actually different to how they look from the shores of Lake Louise. The whole time as I walked along the ridge line, I was imagining just how mighty this glacier once was to leave such scars behind.

Moraine Ridge Walk

It was cool to look back on how far I had hiked. In the distance, I could see a frozen Lake Louise and the huge chateau now just a tiny little object in the distance.

Lake Louise

Nearly there! Mount Lefroy to my left with the lower glacier covered in snow below and Upper Victoria Glacier straight ahead. Such an epic view!

Victoria Glacier

The Death Trap and Abbot Pass pass separate Mount Lefroy and Mount Victoria with the Upper Glacier sitting on top. Would you believe me if I told you there is actually a hut that sits between the two mountains? Maybe another time I will have to try make my way out there…

Plain of Six Glaciers

I took this last photo on my hike back. If you look closely, you can see people just beginning to walk along the ridge line on the moraine. I thought it was a perfect way to show the sheer size of these mountains. A majority of the photos I feel just don’t show the pure magnitude of the mountains but those tiny little people illustrate it perfectly!

Victoria Glacier Perspective

I am happy I got to go on this hike at the time of year I went. It was absolutely magical! Although in some spots, as you can see above there was some walking through snow but the majority of the hike was fairly well compacted which didn’t make it too difficult to walk through. It was only the last 1.5kms where I could tell only a couple of people had trekked to get to the final lookout where I found myself waist deep in snow. Not great after hiking a couple of hours but some very well needed exercise for this guy!

Looking forward to the next adventure!

Nic

 


The Northern Lights proved to be elusive last night, dancing between the clouds and keeping to the horizon. I headed out with the talented Zack Splaine (Check out his work here) a fellow photographer from Calgary. Our chase took us 2 hours north east of Calgary until we eventually decided to call it a night at around 3:30am.

Here’s a photo taken at the old bridge that crosses the Red Deer River at Big Valley. Will have some more pictures coming during the week, got lots to show you all.


Sometimes, you’ve just gotta pull over and appreciate what’s around you…

Castle Mountain stands a tall, lonely figure while the stars majestically waltz overhead.

It was a beautiful night last night in Banff National Park with clear skies, millions of stars, a meteor shower and the aurora. Well worth the 2:00am start.


Calgary. September 8th, the snow has arrived! I feel like I should be disappointed and upset like just about everyone else in Calgary but I’m not. I was so pleasantly surprised when I heard someone mention it snowing that I got up and went out into the lobby at work just to see the snow fall. I love it.

As soon as I got home, I got changed, grabbed my camera and straight back out the door. I drove downtown to Price’s Island Park and walked around a little through the trees and along the river just taking it all in. It’s always the most beautiful when it first falls.

This is short lived though. We are expecting temperatures back in the low 20s by the end of the week. Oh yeah, for those of you not in Calgary reading this, it was 27 degrees celsius yesterday. Yup, and I thought Melbourne was bad for having 4 seasons in one day.


Just an hour out of Calgary, on the outskirts of Kananaskis Village and Nakiska Ski Resort is a short little hike to this absolute gem of a spot, Troll Falls. I got there about an hour before sunset and had the whole place to myself. I saw a couple of people on my way out there walking back but that’s it. It was magical.

You can tell the place got hit fairly hard in 2013 from the floods, with trees still arched from the impact, while others were not so lucky and have been uprooted. Despite the damage, it gives it a feel of a secret garden, hidden in amongst a large rocky canyon that wraps around and protects the whole area. I felt like being in a rain forest.

There are more falls along Marmot Creek that I am looking forward to checking out… possibly in winter when they start to freeze. Would be great to return and give a different perspective.

Nic


4:25am, Friday morning my alarm goes off. I turn over to Ash and tell her it’s time to get up. Let’s go to Moraine Lake for sunrise. This is my 4th or 5th attempt to wake up early and head out there but this time I was determined to make it happen. Every other time, I reached straight for the alarm and turned it off, this time I jumped straight out of bed and into the shower. I know that if I did that there was no turning back. I didn’t really hold any hopes for Ash coming though as she didn’t seem to happy when I woke her up. I was surprised to see her up and dressed once I was out of the shower. This is happening!

It was pitch black the whole way out to Lake Louise, not much traffic and a nice easy drive. Ash slept the whole way and Maggie May chilled out in the back. After a couple of hours of driving we finally got to Moraine Lake around 7:30am. The sun was slowly starting to wake up but it was still a little dark when we climbed the hill at the foot of the lake and I found a spot to set up.

We sat down and played with Maggie while waiting patiently for the sun to rise. It was absolutely beautiful out there, taking in the magnificent Valley of the Ten Peaks and the bright blue lake. As well as the sheer stillness and peace. There wouldn’t have been any more than 5 or 6 people out these in comparison to the thousands that are normally there and when we left the tourist buses started rolling in. We counted around 15 from the time we left the lake till we got to the main road.

I strongly recommend that everyone try their best to go out there for a sunrise if they get a chance. It truly is a magnificent sight to see and well worth the early start. We are lucky that the snow has been falling on the peaks as we came out here last month and there was not a single flake of snow on them. It is a different story now though with them really starting to get covered and the lake, as you can see above is starting to freeze over. It was fresh, but we came dressed for it. Truly an amazing day.

I hope you enjoy.


22Aug

The family has arrived!!!

  • It was so exciting to see my mum, dad and uncle last night! The family will be here visiting for 2-3 weeks before moving to to Toronto then Europe. Ash and I flew over here to Van where we will be hanging out till Friday where the 3 of us […]
The family has arrived!!!

It was so exciting to see my mum, dad and uncle last night! The family will be here visiting for 2-3 weeks before moving to to Toronto then Europe. Ash and I flew over here to Van where we will be hanging out till Friday where the 3 of us are renting a van and driving through the Rockies to Calgary over 3 days. It’s going to be awesome!
To kick it all off, we had a beautiful pasta dinner at Nook here in Vancouver. Perfect start to the visit!


Yesterday, after a week of consistent rainfall we had a break from the downpour. The sun came out and hell, I even got sunburnt on the back of my neck! After much debate with myself and my morals I decided to leave the top of the valley where we had safely been for the past few days and head down into the valley to check it all out for myself. I started at McHugh’s Bluff where most of my photos have been taken from and headed down the bluff to the community of Sunnyside, one of the communities affected directly from the overspill of the Bow River. I felt guilty being down there taking photos as some people had returned to their homes to assess the damage and move into recovering what they could and trying to figure out to get all of the water out of their houses and basements. I asked if there was something I could do to help, I was more than happy to do what I could but they simply replied they have no idea what to do themselves but thank you anyway.




Walking through the neighbourhood, I chose to be as respectful as possible and keep to the trails rather than wander through the streets. The smell of gasoline was so strong walking through. I am not sure if it was just from peoples generators or from pumps pumping out water or simply from spilt fuel but it truly was strong walking through there.

I made my way to Memorial Drive, one of Calgary major roads that runs along the Bow River and connects the city’s inner north east to north west. Roads were under water still and pathways along the river had collapsed into the torrent just pounding the banks. I saw a couple of YouTube clips last night of trees along Memorial giving way into the city. There wasa huge tree pinned to the Centre Street Bridge. I was certain this was one of the trees I saw collapse.





The state of the Centre Street Bridge underpass was in shambles with debris all over the road as the water level which is basically at the level of the road pounds against the side of the bridge and slip under to the other side.


I crossed the bridge and decided to head downtown to check out the damage. As I started to walk into the centre of the city the army pulled in. They have been here for the past couple of days crusing around, assessing the damage and deploying troops to places that most need the help.

Walking downtown was a surreal moment. I felt like I was in a movie. The streets were empty but it was so load as alot of the buildings had their generators pumping. It was such a loud drone of background noise and like Sunnyside, the air was filled with the smell of gasoline. The water had receded but the evidence of the flood was present with branches, pieces of wood and mud everywhere. I took some photos of some of the most busiest sections of downtown. Well, normally the busiest. These ares were dead.

I headed up Macload Trail, another one of Calgary’s most busiest streets. It is one of the main roads that lead from north to south. Traffic was non-existant! The reason, well the underpasses that go under the train lines not just on Macload but all along 9th where the crossroads head south under the train lines these underpasses were filled to the brim! I have some images below but take note of the 3rd image. The water is well and truly above road level as it is but the whole underpass is flooded to the pint where it goes all the way up to the bridge and touches the train lines.



I kept heading along 9th to Inglewood. I had covered a few miles already but I thought while I am walking i may as well see how the Elbow River is doing. The Elbow is the little cousin of the Bow. It too comes from the mountains so there was a hell of a lot of force coming through still. I was interested in seeing how the Elbow, the very river that could possibly force the organisers of Calgary’s biggest event the Calgary Stampede to cancel! The show grounds are flooded! Race tracks, grand stands, the Saddledome which is our largest indoor arena that seats 20,000 people and hosts concerts, hockey, rodeos and any large event was filled with water and flooded to row 14!
It was certainly pumping through but not at the force of the Bow.


Although the water was still pushing through at a frantic pace I was happy to see that the levels had gone down. This may just be the last of it…

There is a new footbridge in the area that they have been building over the past few months. The force of the river has totally torn through the structure. It isn’t going to be easy fixing this up.




I finished off walking along the Bow back to Centre Street. It was a big day, tiring, confronting and so surreal. Here are a couple more photos from the way home…





I posted a few photos up last night of the water surging through and we headed down to Centre Street Bridge once again to see just how things have changed over night. There are so many people out there who have been forced to evacuate here. The last I heard it was well over 100,000 people. one of those people being Ash’s cousin Jen who lives just down the road from us but down in the valley. We checked it out today but luckily the water hasn’t risen high enough to really affect hr house although the water is flowing all around it.

Some people aren’t as lucky and some aren’t really that smart as you can see below on Memorial Drive. One of the busiest roads down town that run along the banks of the river. Unfortunately, people simply think it isn’t high enough, risk and and this is the result…

We got a bit closer to Centre Street Bridge this time and actually walked across it. The sound of the water gushing under the bridge and under the road that is under the bridge was so loud. Trees were floating down the river and so you could hear those clunk into the road down there as well as the structure and it makes you think just how much damage all of this is doing. Here are a few photos from around that area…



It seems like everyone is out to have a look and get photos of the craziness going on around here.

This once again is Prince’s Island Park. As you can see it is absolutely submerged now. It wasn’t looking too good yesterday but it is well and truly under the Bow River now.

Roads downtown are all blocked off and as you can see, everyone is trying to get out of there and up to higher ground. Centre Street Bridge, one of only a couple of bridges stilled deemed safe to remain open is jam packed with cars of people trying to evacuate the city.

This is Sunnyside. A beautiful little neighbourhood that I have always wanted to move to. Now I am thinking it isn’t such a good idea.

As you can see, huge crowds are gathering to take in the tragic but truly remarkable sight.


The long, lonely walk to higher ground…


Absolute crazy scenes here in Calgary today and tonight. We have been absolutely pissed on with rain the past couple of days and have had more than we normally would in a month. Ironically, a place called High River has been hit the hardest. Many communities, even here in the city have been told to evacuate as the river that flows through the city, the Bow River comes straight from the Rocky Mountains an hour away. Not only are we dealing with rain coming down here, it is also the rain coming down in the mountains, which is then melting the snow and basically doubling and tripling the volume of water come down the river.

Luckily, we are up in the safely on of the top of the valley but we took a drive around to check out the huge volumes of water coming through the city.



That is Prince’s Island Park or should I say, was. There is an unbelievable amount of water shooting through!

8

 


After an amazing night at Tom and Yolande’s on Saturday night, I decided to stay the night on the couch. With the sun rising so early this time of year and no curtains in the living room where I was sleeping, I thought enough is enough and I got my ass up and out of bed. I decided I wanted to to go for a drive and take some pictures and was up and out of there at 5.30am on a Sunday morning!

I headed towards the mountains. There is a road I heard about that isn’t eaxactly close but I was keen to check it out nonetheless called Highway 40, the Kananaskis Trail. I had about 1.5 to 2 hours worth of driving to get there and then it would be a good 2 hours back up to highway 1 to head back to Calgary. Ash got called up the night before and I had nothing else to do so I thought why the hell not. What I was most hopeful about and what I really wanted to see were some Bears. I read that there have been quite a few spotted lately on the side of the roads munching on dandelions so I was hopeful.

It was a little foggy to begin with but it was so calm and tranquil at that time of morning. It was a beautiful drive!

As I got further out of the city, the cars got less frequent and I found myself for quite a long time being the only car out there. With the sun only just coming up and very little traffic on the road, the animals started coming out. I had my eyes peeled the whole time as I had heard Deer are like Kangaroos and are spotted more often than not when the sun is rising or setting so I was a little cautious. I was lucky enough to see a large group of them crossing the road up ahead so I quickly pulled over and got out my camera. I was able to get a few snaps in.

Further down the road, I came across this big fella. A Moose! He had no antlers unfortunately but it was extremely cool to see him nonetheless.

It was so cool to see them out in the wild. I was feeling good about coming across some Bears. Things were looking promising.

Further along, I came across this cool train engine just sitting in the middle of a field by the road. The one thing I have loved about driving around Canada has been the random stuff I have seen. Driving through the country, there are a tonne of abondoned houses and barns and building. I saw a tram in the middle of the desert driving through the salt flats in Utah which was awesome to see but this was just as amazing. I had no idea what it was doing there, how it even got there but it was really cool to see it just sitting there in the middle of nowhere.

After driving for a couple of hours, which included a few stops along the way to take some photos, I finally made it to Kananaskis country. Not long now till I get to drive through the valley with mountains on each side of me, still being early with no other cars out there and being able to enjoy it all to myself. I got to the entrance of the park and the gates were closed. This couldn’t be true! I wish I took a photo. It was true, the gates were bolted shut and the highway which closes each year on December 1st wasn’t going to open up again till June 12th. Just 3 days later!!!! Talk about shit out of luck!

I was disappointed, I won’t lie but I really had a great morning out there. It was such a beautiful drive and I know the Kananaskis Trail is going to be even better but I am looking forward to going out there with Ash and discovering it together.

I thought I may as well make the most of it and take the long way home. Rather than go the same way I came, I took some back roads. Probably not the best idea taking that route while out on my own, no phone reception and no-one knowing where I was but I liked being out there with no-one around. Just me out there in the Jeep soaking in the great outdoors!

I liked it for about an hour until I started to freak out that I hadn’t see anyone and scared myself a little, I will admit. I thought if my car broke down, I might find myself in a bit of strife. Then finally, I saw a car and some hikers and I could finally enjoy myself again. It was so great being out there with the clean fresh air out of the city. Deer, Moose, more Deer and even a Bald Eagle. The only thing that eluded me was seeing a Bear. There were so many Deer out there, it was cool to see. This next picture was probably the best shot I got for the day. It came out a little grainy but if you look to the bottom right you can make out the Deer next to the road. I wish it came out a little clearer but I loved that I got this shot in the spare of the moment. It couldn’t have been in a more picturesque location.

So that was my day, well my morning anyway. After all of that, I was back home by 1pm and took the rest of the day to chill out and relax on the couch. I am definitely not a morning person but I have to admit that I enjoyed getting away early in the morning, doing so much and still getting to bum on the couch to finish off my weekend. This may just become a new little hobby of mine.


A big shout out to my Australian and Canadian families for making it special. My first birthday away from home. Happy Birthday to my mum too who is fortunate enough to share a birthday with me!

I also wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their birthday wishes. It truly does mean so much to get a response like that. It reminds me that I have had such a great life to date and met some amazing and inspiring people along the way.

This birthday wasn’t so hard to digest but I know next year when I hit the big 3-0 that shit will well and truly hit the fan! I don’t know what it is about turning 30 that is so hard to bare. I remember being in single digits as a kid and looking forward to hitting 10 years old. It is a huge moment for any kid and I thought I was so grown up. We all want to become a grown up so quickly and so much and then once we find ourselves at that stage in life we just want the years to start slowing down. Unfortunately it goes the other way though and it seems that the older I get, the faster time flies by.

So here is to my 30th year! There are so many things I am looking forward to already but more than anything, I just want to live each day to the absolute most I can and take it one day at a time.

Thanks.

Nic.

 


Talking about friends is an interesting subject. I have been lucky in my life to have the most amazing friends anyone could ask for. Some I have grown up with since I was 3 or 4 to the people who I have met and been friends with since primary and secondary school and the others who I have met along the way.

I have found since living over here in Canada that people refer to others as their best friends or simply just their friends. I really don’t think I can do that. I have been asked many times about who is my best friend from people over here. It sort of brings me back to being in prep or grade 1, it is such a foreign thing to me that I don’t think I could ever get used to. I have acquaintance’s, I have some friends and I have some amazing friends. I don’t think if even a person put a bullet to my head I could pick a best friend! Everyone to me is special in their own way and i love them for that.

As I mentioned, I have some friends who go a long way. I feel like I am such a lucky person to go through such friendships. These friendships I speak of are from people from back home, in Australia who I know I will see again. They have meant so much to me and basically shaped me to who I am today. I have wondered whether I would find people as amazing as the ones I love so much from home and to be honest never really thought I would. I have to say that after 11 months, I think I am on the right track. I am not going to mention names, I haven’t through this whole rant but they know who they are. Some through work, some through Ash. I will never, ever replace the friendships I have in Australia, I wouldn’t ever dream of it but there are some real genuine people over here who I have taken a shining to and I look forward to continuing what we have throughout my time both here and anywhere else. Tonight really proved that.

I am a lucky person. I seem to find love wherever I go. I would never change what I have and what I have been through with anyone. I don’t think of myself as a religious person but I truly feel blessed for what I have.

My life is pretty amazing.


It’s crazy to think that we have known each other over the past 3 Valentine’s Days but this is the first one we have actually spent together!

To my beautiful, curly haired, blue sparkly dress and fluffy white mini jacket thingy wearing girlfriend, I would like to let you and the world know just how much I love you. We are fast approaching a year since we have been living together here in Calgary and it only feels like yesterday I flew over with my life in 2 suitcases and a backpack.

Thank you for helping me getting so settled in this weird country of yours so easily and making my life so amazing. I love you so much Ashley Carol Mitty.

Love Nic xxoo