The Canadian Rockies: sheep, squirrels, hawks, gophers and scenery!
In Kananaskis Country in the Rockies, there is a road called Highway 40 which if you are familiar with my blog you will see we visit quite often. The problem is, the lower half of the road is closed between December and June every year to protect the wildlife. So, as it has just reopened we decided to travel its entire length yesterday to see if we could spot anything.
The northernmost part of the road starts from the Trans Canada Highway and it's 58 km to the point where it has been closed off. So, the road below that has been closed to traffic since December 1st to allow the migration of the animals and the breeding season. We were hopeful we would see some wildlife, but as with all things nature, you just have to be at the right place at the right time.
Although we got an early start, we only managed to see white-tailed deer at first. But, of course, the scenery is always stunning here, so we didn't mind too much. But, we made it all the way to Longview, right at the other end of the road without seeing anything other than deer! Oh well, that's the way it goes sometimes.
As it was still morning we decided to drive a little further over towards High River, then turned back again. Just becuse we could! This is the view of the Rockies on the way back.
By the time we got to Longview again it was lunchtime, so we decided to stop for coffee. There really isn't much at Longview. It is a very small town with a population of just over 300, so services are limited. One coffee shop we saw was closed, so we stopped off at a restaurant which according to the board outside sold drinks and snacks too.
The restaurant is called The Haywire and I have done a separate blog post about it which you can see here. Hint: It was really good!
Anyway, back on the road again we once again went from Longview up to Highway 40. There were quite a few hawks flying about and I managed to get a few shots of this beautiful Swainson Hawk as it stood on a big post at the entrance to a farm. They always look so majestic and stunning.
We kept seeing lots of Rocky Mountain Sheep, with males and females but knew that some had babies by now, so we really wanted to see them, and finally we did. Cuteness overload.
Oh, and this is a road block, Rocky Mountain style!
We pulled over at the side of the road at one spot so Chris could take some scenery photos and whilst he was doing that I spotted a gopher near his burrow. I got a couple of pics of him and also some of the pretty little white flowers that were all over the ground.
A bit further up the road, we saw what we thought was a chipmunk running around the steep rocks. He wasn't like any chipmunks we had seen before as his markings were different. When we got home I looked him up on the internet and it turns out he is not a chipmunk at all. He is, in fact, a Gold-Mantled Ground Squirrel.
We've never seen one of these before, or if we have we have assumed it was a chipmunk, so this is a great sighting for us. He is so cute and fluffy!
We ended up getting back home around 6 pm, so a great day out. It would have been perfect if we had managed to see a bear or a moose, but as I said before, you have to be in the right place at the right time and today wasn't it for us.
Next week we are off to Montana for a week, so really looking forward to that. Hopefully we might sees some wildlife there, but regardless, we are really looking forwad to the trip.