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Archive for the ‘Nature & Landscape Photography’ Category

Loon, St. Ann's Harbour

Something told me that day to take my DSLR camera with my zoom lens and teleconverter (1.5x) ,which made my zoom go to 405 mm. Off I went for my walk. It was a grey, overcast day not to cold at least I thought, so I took my hiking gloves. About 30 minutes later I switch to winter gloves, there was definitely wind chill factor in the air (-14).

Loon drying its wings

I heard a loon so I focused the camera to see if I could find it.  I did..It was out quite far in the harbour but my zoom brought it in. I stayed for 25-30 minutes watching it.  It was amazing experience…the loon caught a fish and ate it. Later it came in closer to shore…then it got up and dry its wings…. Then I saw a grey jay, squirrel and a seal on my walk.  An exceptional day for photography and nature. Now I want a bigger zoom.

Squirrel

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Sun reflecting off the ice

As new year begins, many hikers take time to reflect on the past year,2011 and what it was for them. Hikers remember the trails they hiked, the people they have meet, those incredible photos taken and those special memories.

It is now time to plan and prepare for the 2012 season… 1) One of the first things I like to do is review my equipment & its condition, do a complete  inventory and see what is needed to purchase for this year. Looks like it will be a new pair of boots and daypack,  2)  Develop a fitness plan for the winter and spring as well set kilometre goals for 2012.  I know that to stay in shape I need to do so many kilometres each year but I am careful not to become a fitness hiker where I miss those special moments with nature & photos. I have set a lofty goal of 1000 kms in 2012, 3) Improve my photography & creative skills  with the camera and take more 5 stars pictures.

Ice in the brook

And finally, 4) Develop a wish list of a new trails and challenges to explore. These include a) the hike a 100 km  for the Hikers Distance Award at the Hike the Highlands festival,  b) Complete the Cape Breton Highlands 3 Peaks Challenge ( hike 3 mountains in one day on Saturday, July 21, 2012,  c) hike Snowdon Mountain, Wales, the last of the UK 3 Peaks Challenge mountains to hike, d) East Coast Trail in Newfoundland and Labrador, and e) Cape Chignecto.  Other challenges on my list include Ride for Diabetes in June at Little Bras d”Or, , Cycling the Confederation Trail (300 km) in PEI and doing the Not Since Moses 10k/5k Walk & Run event.

Wow it certainly plans to be a busy year….Have you started planning your schedule for hiking in 2012 ?  I wish all hikers happiness, good health and lots of hiking in 2012.

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Wast Water Lake, Wasdale Head

As we enter Gosforth, Nether Wasdale and then Wasdale Head, I could tell this area was majestic.  The narrow roads, country homes, green grass,  Wast Water Lake and mountains made this a very special place. We decided to check out the start of Scafell Pike hike and get our bearings and the lay of the land. The next day we hiked the mountain. There is an outdoor store next to Wasdale Head Inn in case you need any supplies ie. map, gloves, toque etc.

The Summit - Cold, windy and foggy

The weather had improved from the day before so we were hoping to have a view at the top. The route we took was from 2nd parking lot, over the bridge , Lingmell Gill, Brown Tongue, Hollow Stones and then up to Scafell Pike. The research and planning for the hike was dead on and there were no surprises.  We added an extra layer for the top along with toque & gloves.  Glad we did, it was quite cold & very windy at the summit. A cloud came in during the last section of the hike so we had no view.

A few cows joined the descent of Scafell Pike

My nephew and I did the hike in 4.5 hours and that included all the photo stops along the way which were many. With Ben Nevis & Scafell Pike hiked, only one UK 3 Peaks mountain left – Snowdon to complete. Highly recommended the Strands Inn & Brewery for accommodations in Nether Wasdale as well for  their great food and pub.

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Tenerife Mountain

Tenerife  and Cabot Landing Beach were the featured hikes on Day 4 of the 2011 Hike the Highlands festival. Over 9o plus hikers enjoyed sunny & cool hiking conditions.

North Harbour from Tenerife Mtn.

Tenerife Mountain is a new hike this year in the festival and after today will be regular fixture on the schedule with amazing views on top plus a little adventure getting there.

Cabot Landing Beach, Sugar Loaf

Cabot Landing Beach hike was a perfect way ending the day with  walking in the sand, getting your feet wet and enjoying some amazing views of mountains and surf. It was a great day for pictures.

Today’s hikes are Beulach Ban Falls and Roberts Mountain. It seems the hikes just keep getting better.

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White Point

Close to 100 hikers enjoyed the hikes on Day 2 of 2011  Hike the Highlands Festival at White Point and Sugar Loaf . It was a day to enjoy great coastal scenery,  a climb up a steep mountain and to prepare you with some wet weather.

White Point hike provided great coastal scenery, the history of the Unknown sailor and  Two Tittles. This trail is featured in many photos especially Wally Hayes, retired professional photographer with NS Tourism. He enjoyed this trail at sunrise, sunset and during the day.

Sugar Loaf Mountain

Sugar Loaf , one of the classic hikes on Cape Breton Island and also part of 3 Peaks Challenge, made for some quick pictures at the top as the skies opened up with rain.  There are some great pics of nearby mountains, North Harbour and 4 mile beach on the summit.

Day 3 hikes include Meat Cove Mountain and Money Point Gulch, both feature outstanding views at the top of each mountain. Don’t forget your camera on this sunny day.

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Bull Moose on Le vieux chemin du Cap Rouge

The 75th Anniversary Cape Breton Highlands National Park in 2011 has provided hikers with a new challenge – hike  75 km from May to October. It also provides you with a wonderful opportunity to see the whole park,  its great scenery, wildlife and plants. And of course to get in shape for more events such as CB Highlands 3 Peaks Challenge and 8th Annual Hike the Highlands festival in September.

Hikers are required to keep track of your trails hiked and dates, record them on paper, signed it and pass it into the Parks Canada Cheticamp or Ingonish Visitor Information Centre where you will receive some 75th Anniversary prizes. Note: Hikers can only hike each trail once.  Be sure to take your camera with you and take lots of pictures.  Below are just a few of the pictures I took while completing the 75 km hiking challenge.

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Jack Pine, Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Generally, the Victoria Day weekend is the start of the hiking season in the Cape Breton Highlands area for many hikers. You can expect wet conditions, some windfalls, cold temps, winds and much more. Here are some tips to get ready for the season:

1) develop a checklist for your hiking equipment, then review the condition of each item, make notes of what is needed to be replaced. Then make sure everything is packed before you go out hiking on the trail. The checklist should include the following – whistle, map,  rain gear, layers, trekking poles,  extra pair of smart wool socks,  gaiters, jacket, first aid kit, knife,  hat, sun glasses, bug spray, and a  camera with extra batteries etc.

2) Develop a training plan – a)  start your hiking season with short hikes, b) then move on to medium hikes and then c) longer hikes.  Build your strength up, get used to your equipment and then you are ready for some hiking challenges.

3)  Every hiking season brings many special moments and memories. Always bring your camera with you, bring extra batteries and memory card. You never know what you might run into or find yourself in the right place at right time. Below is a pick of a spruce grouse that I almost ran into on the Clyburn Valley hiking trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park on the long weekend in May.

Spruce Grouse, Clyburn Valley, CBHNP

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