The Ravens – Like Straight Out of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”

My Love and I were staying in charming villas near the Fairmont Hot Springs in beautiful British Columbia. It was a lovely day, perfect for taking a romantic stroll on the foot path amongst the golf greens from our villa to the hot springs. We soon saw that the path was to be mostly gravel and straight up, but really worth continuing on so that we could experience the beautiful scenery and rushing creek next to us.

The Fitbit calculated our floors as we hiked straight up the path in between tall gully walls. As we neared what we felt must be the best part of the hike (because we could see a beautiful 50 to 60 foot tall waterfall in the distance), we were greeted by a raven. The raven stood defiantly on the ground in the middle of the fairly narrow path. It squawked continuous cries at us, while it also turned in different directions as if beckoning its friends at the same time. As we neared the raven, we expected that it would just fly off and allow us to continue on our journey. 

Well, that was when the true adventure began. As we approached, the raven jumped aggressively toward us, opening it’s beak wide, squawking its warning for us to back away. It opened its big yellow beak so wide with every threatening squawk that we could almost see clear to the back of the it’s throat!  We were clearly in its territory and it wasn’t going to allow us to enter.  It was a smaller raven though … it couldn’t be that much of a threat, could it?  Suddenly several other ravens starting flying in above us. These new creatures were definitely the reinforcements because they were sized more like small wild turkeys! While one or two landed on branches of the tree beside us, others circled the sky above us. Another 5 or 6 of the brutes lined up on each of the gully walls adjacent to us, all the while crying out their continuous warnings for us to back away.

Not having encountered this situation before, I thought it was a good opportunity to record the event. That was not a good idea! As I started panning from one raven to the next, I heard warnings from my man to come away and then panic struck. I stood on uneven terrain, had a smartphone camera pointed at the sky and realized angry ravens were swooping down at me! Experience some of this panic by watching the accompanying video.

Sure, hilarious now after the fact!

The ravens continued their advance against us until we realized we had to retreat. With visions of the attacks in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds”, we sadly and incredulously backed away and then headed down the hill, still hearing the ravens’ warning cries. There would be no hot springs or waterfall viewings that day for us. Angry ravens versus us – that was no video game and we weren’t prepared for that fight! …After all, they were there first, weren’t they?

 

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Ready, Set, Show!

I spent my childhood growing up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  In my adult life, with the exception of 11 years that I lived in St. Albert, Alberta, I have lived very happily in Calgary.  It’s a place I don’t mind (and never had minded) calling my home.  Since moving back here in 2009 I have been reminded of how special Calgary truly is. I think being here in my childhood, I took many things for granted that others travelled from all over the world to see. Calgary is a young and vibrant city, rich in multiculturalism, big business and of course the Greatest Show on Earth, The Calgary Stampede. wpid-dsc_0705.jpg

I have known that for years many major motion pictures have been filmed  in and around Calgary, many of which were westerns or “dusters” as they are fondly referred to.  Now none of these had The Duke star in them but did have some very well known lead actors including Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt and Clint Eastwood.  They had colourful names like, “Legends of the Fall”, “Unforgiven” and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”. For those of you who don’t know, Calgary’s close proximity to the foothills and Rocky Mountains and thousands of acres of beautiful untouched scenery make it an ideal place to film in. wpid-dsc_0708.jpg

Since retiring, I have spent a great deal of time walking and running around the parks and river valley in the Southwest part of the city.  Basically I have a forest outside my front door, complete with all sorts of wildlife, the Bow and Elbow Rivers and a panoramic view of the majestic Rocky Mountains.  In this river valley there are miles of trails and pathways urging me to come out and run, walk, or hike on them.  At their calling I have spent many hours exploring and taking in all they have to offer  …sometimes, to the detriment of my feet (see previously blog post). wpid-dsc_0707.jpg

Recently my fiancé and I did a bit of an extended hike that took us off our usual route and more off trail.  There were old cart paths, roads with deep muddy ruts, and worn pathways through the aspen, spruce and cedar trees. During this hike we crossed several old fence lines and long since rusted livestock gates into uncharted territory.  wpid-dsc_0702.jpgI was hesitant at times, not knowing really where we were going …but nothing ventured nothing gained.

As we rounded one bend in the muddy road we came upon what looked like a long since abandoned corral and settlers cabin.  It was a bit eerie at first but curiosity never killed anyone right? 🙂 I am not always comfortable going into unknown situations so we settled on taking some great pictures from a short distance and talking about who may have lived there and how long ago it was.wpid-dsc_0703.jpg

After a short time we moved on and completed the rest of our hike. That evening, as we sipped on a nice red wine, we enjoyed talking about our hike and the log cabin – still wondering about the stories behind it. wpid-dsc_0701.jpg

The next day we went out on our daily exercise regiment and decided to hike past the old log cabin again and then up along the ridge of the river valley.  This time, however, we did run into someone else along the dirt road. It would seem that the old fence lines and gates we hiked past actually marked one of the boundaries of the Tsuu T’ina First Nations land.  This very polite and talkative range patrol officer explained to us the error of our hike trajectory. He let us know, that although he was very friendly and polite, he couldn’t vouch for the next person(s) we may come across, should we continue on.  We thanked him for pointing out our misstep, but before turning to go back, I couldn’t resist asking about the cabin and its historical significance.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, many movies  have been filmed in and around Calgary and this log cabin was built for a TV Series called Hell on Wheels.  The series focuses on construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States. The cabin was used during Season One about 5 years ago and has sat empty since. No rich romantic history, no colourful tale of love and tragedy.  Just a set built cabin, aged before its time and left to the silent elements of the Alberta west. wpid-dsc_0706.jpg

We thanked our host for the warm and friendly conversation and wished him a good day.   We mounted our imaginary steeds and headed off into the sunset.

~ The End ~