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  • Katherine Matiko

Foothills Excursion Eight: Green on Green on Blue

It doesn’t get much greener in the Alberta foothills. The rain we desperately needed all spring finally arrived in buckets in June, and now, in mid-July, the hills and valleys have leaped to life. It is a sight to behold.


On a perfect July evening – calm and hot with blue ribbon skies – I set out with my camera to capture the intensity of a landscape in full bloom. I stop at the Millarville General Store and, after a quick visit with store owner Tim Babey, decide to drive to Turner Valley (about 15 minutes south on Highway 22) and turn right at the stop sign in the middle of town.


A short distance along Highway 546, I find these peaceful rural scenes – green on green on blue.

 

The gently winding road that heads west from Turner Valley is blissfully quiet this evening. I must admit that the lone cyclist I encounter makes better progress along the highway than I do, because I need to stop every few kilometres to take another photograph.

 

Eventually I come to Anchor D Guiding and Outfitting, a bustling ranch perched on the edge of Kananaskis Country. I have enjoyed a number of guided trail rides here over the years and can attest that the views along the trails are stunning. You can even rent a cabin at Anchor D and stay for a few days. Now that would be a vacation! But tonight, I only have time to take a few photos at the gate and endure a scolding from a proprietorial bird.

 

As soon as I enter Kananaskis Country, I notice a profusion of wildflowers under the trees. The white geraniums are particularly stunning. I am never happier than when I am knee-deep in wildflowers and tonight my lengthening shadow precedes me as I hunt for the perfect blossom.

 

Deeper in Kananaskis Country, I turn off the road and walk a short distance to a lookout over the Sheep River. While the river cascades below, the sun moves closer to the horizon, painting layer upon layer of foothills and mountains – blue on blue on blue.

 

My final stop is Bighorn Lookout, a day use area about 37 kilometres southwest of Millarville along Sheep River Road. Bighorn sheep, elk, deer and moose frequent this meadow as they meander through the foothills, favouring it perhaps for its incredible view of the Rocky Mountains.

 

The grass in the meadow is lush and long but tonight I see no feasting wildlife. Instead, I feast my eyes on this pristine jewel of the foothills.

 

Bighorn Lookout is a photographer’s dream. This photographer leads a family through the wildflowers and grasses looking for the perfect location for a portrait. I expect he found it.

Until next time,

Katherine

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