Canada Travel Diary: Day 7 – 06/04/15

I feel like keeping a journal is becoming a chore. It’s covered with scruffy handwriting, words I can’t even make out due to the hand cramps.

I have no idea where we went today, I took note of a few places we passed, but that’s about it. Bob, Fran and I drove to numerous places to find the wild horses. I got promoted to the front of the car, so I wouldn’t get left behind again, which is also a bonus as I can see out more of windows.

The majority of the day is spent driving in the car do the different locations. Bob said you could drive the length of the UK all the miles we put in. I can see his point, you can drive for miles and miles out here, not passing any towns or houses, whereas back home you would. I mean we have not passed a single gas station out here. I wonder what happens if they run out of fuel?

Thing is, I don’t mind the long drives, as it is something I have always loved; looking out windows, watching the world pass by and keeping a look out for wildlife of course. Thus, this is what I did on this journey.  As soon as we left a whopping great big bird flew over the jeep. Spreading its wings, it soared overhead.

A Bald Eagle. It was huge! And so close, you could see its big menacing beak! It’s a shame I didn’t have my camera out. How unfortunate, as I saw 2 Bald Eagles today and no one will ever believe I’ve seen one now.

En route we saw loads of wolf tracks and when I say loads, I mean loads; I would love to see a pack of wolves out here!

In actual fact we saw a number of different tracks today. Because of the recent snowfall it’s easy to spot. Wolves, Moose, Cougar and Pine Martin were the tracks we saw today, along with a Golden Eagle and a Flicker which is a type of woodpecker.

Back to the journey…

Looking out for signs to give an indication to where we are heading, I noticed we passed Bearberry. Not long after, we pull into a forestry area, and spot three horses immediately close to some trees. The bay stallion looked like he’d been in the wars to protect his mares, scars covering his body. We carry on in this area and come across three more horses, all bays again. They were on the edge of the road in a snowy area, which was great, and then it started snowing. Luckily I managed to get some snaps before it got too heavy. As we left, directly opposite we spotted a chestnut stuck in a power line area, so Fran and Bob opened the fence up so he could find his way out.

Moving on we entered this massive forest and didn’t see horses for what felt like hours. We took various paths and eventually found them in a little valley area where the grass was sparse. The strange was we’d driven past areas with loads of grass, yet no horses! In this area we saw 3 young studs. It was a lovely spot for pictures and created a lovely background with beautiful light. I’m glad they played ball and posed as some of my favourite images come from this area.

Considering the amount of miles we put it, we saw very few horses. It’s funny how they are getting culled because ‘there’s too many’. From about 2pm-5pm we saw none. We even went off-roading up this steep hill, (“Hold onto your hats people” was Fran’s Quote), which was a little hairy, but the view was fantastic.

After a long day I was dropped back at the hotel and rang a Sarah whom moved out here 10 years ago from London. It was recommended I get in touch with her by Bob and Fran so I did that this evening and ended up going out to dinner with her and her family. It was a lovely meal and really nice to eat with people instead of alone.

 

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Canada Travel Diary: Day 6 – 05/04/15

My time is slowly coming to an end here, and I don’t want it to. I am really enjoying myself despite the snow and cold. It’s so peaceful out here.

This morning I went for a swim in the hotels pool (I’m not on holiday I promise). It was lovely, I haven’t swum in years and despite me thinking I’ve forgotten how to swim, I still can. Though I am much weaker than I used to be when I was younger. A bonus was I had the pool all to myself too.

On arriving at WHOAS facility’s I pitched in with some chores, cleaning pens and leading the rescue wildies to water before heading out with Gregg.

On the trip out we headed to Bearberry, Ghost and Ya Ha Tinder where I saw this incredible frozen waterfall with a plunge pool at the bottom, it was a challenge to reach but very rewarding it was stunning!

Saw 17 horses in total today and loads of hawks. I had the pleasure of seeing my first elk too. The mountains are huge and vast covered in an array of green conifers, it really is something else.

The recent snowfall meant lots of fresh tracks of wolves etc too!

 

Haltwhistle Expedition

On Sunday 24th March 2013 myself and Hattie Taylor set out to Haltwhistle in Northumberland, for a ‘Mini Expedition’. Taking the train from Carlisle to Haltwhistle at 2pm, that was when the thrill of finding something kicked in. During the half hour journey I gazed out the window, at the passing countryside, changing from grassy fields to snowy fields. I remember thinking “whoa, its strange how it just changes from green to white”, looking at how thick it was in places I began to speculate what the weather was like in Haltwhistle as according to the weather it was supposed to be a light snow, this being the reason for not camping as with a summer sleeping back, camping out in the snow, which was suppose to change to heavy snow overnight, didn’t thrill me as a first pleasurable camping experience. Passing on the journey I spotted numerous streams running through woods, trickling mini waterfalls which made me incredibly jealous of being on the train, just a passerby. I also found it quite a amusing at the time as the wind whistled through the windows of the train, as we was stopping at ‘Haltwhistle’.

On arrival at the destination, we left the comfort of the train and put our hat and gloves on as it was noticeably windy and nippy. We also had a quick discussion at which direction we was heading to “find a mountain” as Hattie said, this was when I piped up that whilst browsing Google maps I came across a Lake Wood with a lake in the middle of the wood which sounded interesting. We agreed that finding this wood would be an adventure and set off over the train bridge where we was met by a river, we crossed the bridge and that’s when I saw two horses in the field and insisted on saying Hello, after being dragged away we continued along a road seeing a furthermore 8 horses and ponies and me being me well, got a little bit excited. It was probably best I didn’t say hello to these as I would have been there all day and this expedition was certainly not aimed at finding horses.

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After crossing a main road, we came across a field and a little wood which we explored and came across loads of rabbits and their burrows. Heading back onto the side road (Plenmeller Rd) with a walking stick I’d picked up just to feel more hiker-ish. We continued walking on this road for about half an hour, stopping every now and then to admire the view, we came across a public footpath sign to Broomhouse common 1/1/4 away. After a quick check on Google maps to check which direction Lake Wood was in, we decided to take the footpath after contemplating about going through as two Highland Cows were stood by the gate, I must say at first I was a bit nervous of the horns, wouldn’t fancy being on the wrong side of them and getting charged at. After Hattie had shoed to cows away we ventured in the gate thinking, if they were dangerous they wouldn’t be on a public footpath. The cows in actual fact were not fussed about our presence but merely looked at us as we walked past sticking close to the wall.

Continuing along the muddy footpath, we soon came to a field, which led onto another containing a wood. We entered the wood, which had a light covering of snow showing, rabbit and deer prints clearly. We headed in a straight line towards the middle of the wood, and we soon came across a gap in through the trees in which we both gasped and realised it was water, it was the lake of Lake Wood. My hard pounding, adrenaline rushing through me, we’d found it what we set out to achieve. To get down closer to the lake, it required a descend down a fairly steep slope, after disposing of my first walking stick due to it not helping matters and just being a pain, I picked up another to help with the walk down. It was fairly easily to walk down, despite it looking steep, it was just avoiding the rabbit holes and checking the snow wasn’t covering any.

I really had to stop and take it all in, it truly was a stunning view. We sat close to the water to take it all in, it was so tranquil, the only noise was the sound of a Pheasant.  Soon realising I needed to pee, I attempted my first wild pee, which I can honestly say failed I couldn’t make myself do it and it something I need to work on.

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After taking in the view, we decided to head back up the slope, and walk round and investigative the hut on the other side.  On reaching the other side we found out it was a locked boathouse, with two boats left outside. I think we both wanted to go in the boats and go out for a paddle, but decided against as neither of us had rowed before, and we was in the middle of nowhere and hadn’t seen another human being since the train.

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We decided to head back through the opposite wood and came across, some rabbits and the Pheasant which had been making a hell of a lot of noise. After trekking through this wood, which linked back to the cow field, we made it back to the road. We then continued to walk this road, nattering on about how beautiful the lake and wood was. We arrived back at the station and after a short wait, sat on the floor of a very busy train and arrived back in Carlisle at 7pm.

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