Friday, October 15, 2010

Beautiful Canadian Rockies

Betts and I are having a superlative time painting and hanging out in Canmore, Ab, Canada thanks to our good friends Bobbi and Gene Weller who gave us a week at a condo of our choice anywhere that WorldMark had a place to stay.  We chose to drive 8 hrs north to the Canadian Rockies to see the 'other' studio and landscape country that fabulous wildlife artist, Carl Rungius (Run' gus) painted.  He had a studio in Banff and loved to pack into the backcountry on horseback.  He worked from the early 1900's until about the 60's.  When we were in Jackson Hole, Wy we had the opportunity to see his work at the National Wildlife Museum and may take the time to go over to the Fyrnie Museum in Calgary to see the largest collection of Rungius work in the world.
Unfortunately, the wild and virgin land that Rungius had the opportunity to paint is well developed.  The resort town of Banff is like Disneyland and everywhere you turn it costs to get in or see the sites.  But there are PLENTY of unspoiled landscapes off the beaten path such as the Kananiskis Country where we get close to HUGE (9pt) bull moose and trophy size bull elk.  A coyote walked up to the car and was startled when he saw me move inside the car.  I think he was going to pee on the tires!
The lakes and river are clear and clean.  The colors are literally unbelievable.  The sort of colors that if you painted them peope wouldn't believe them.  I painted on a cold, overcast day on Emerald Lake, a lake that is absolutely tourquoise blue.  It must be from the limestone and calcium the feeder rivers deposit.  The resort is fantastic and very reasonably priced at $160 a night +.  Great food and drinks after a cold day painting.I had the Spray Lakes country above Canmore absolutely to myself.  Crazy!  It's a 40 mile long gravel road (4 lanes wide and well graded), that goes through the high country.  Anywhere you look is a painting. 
I will say, this isn't the first time I've made the mistake of traveling in Canada after their Thanksgiving which happens the second weekend in October.  Everything shuts down for maintenance hot springs, park facilities etc.,  we even joke the 'sun' shuts down for maintenance after Thanksgiving in Canada (it snowed this morning).

 I hoped to stand where Rungius painted on Lake O'hara but I was naive to think things hadn't changed.  It was closed!  Not only was it closed but when it is open you have to reserve a bus ride in, A YEAR IN ADVANCE!  Sheesh!  Lake McArthur, the other wonderful place Rungius painted, is even more unreachable as it is a long hike in from Lake O'hara. 

Oh well, there's plenty else to make my own.  Like these wonderful places unless it keeps snowing as they will close the backcountry roads.
It doesn't look good.  Over an inch has accumulated while I am writing this blog.  Maybe it's a day to stay close to the fireplace and eat the wonderful snausages and patte' from Valbella's Imported Meats in Canmore.  A must stop if you are into good exotic meats and snitzel.  I love sausage rolls and they had spinach/chicken, pork and beef.  But the best was their chicken pot pies which come in many different flavors including curry.  They are BIG pies, like 1