Kananaskis autumn jaunt yields beautiful reflections

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, October 8, 2008

In Kananaskis Country last week, the Beaver Ponds glowed mystic blue in their forest setting (far left, photo by Mary Anna Harbeck), while Mount Lorette Ponds reflected autumn hues in all their glory and an old tree found its resting place in a patchwork of glimmering greens and golds (photos by Warren Harbeck). Click for a larger version.

Fall in our part of the world this year has been especially flamboyant, lingering much longer than usual to tease us with its golden charms and seductive aromas. Its Indian summer temperatures have invited us to take walks in the woods, see intensely, breathe deeply, bask in the joy of kicking leaves – and take lots of photos.

My wife Mary Anna and I gave in to its call last week for our annual afternoon autumn jaunt down Highway 40 into Kananaskis Country, the magnificent provincial recreation region stretching along the eastern slopes of the Rockies southwest of Cochrane.

With cameras in hand, we chose to investigate two areas less familiar to us: the Beaver Ponds and the Mount Lorette Ponds.

The mystic blue water of the Beaver Ponds immediately captivated Mary Anna’s photographic imagination, but no beavers were in sight, nor, fortunately, did we encounter any bears.

It was the Mount Lorette Ponds that really took our breath away, however. Located on the east side of Highway 40, the ponds are the remnants of an earlier oxbow in the Kananaskis River, severed from it now by the new road but alive with wheelchair-accessible delights.

We arrived at the Mount Lorette Ponds late afternoon. The soon-to-retire sun emphasized the forest’s glorious hues reflected in the ponds’ emerald water. Not far from shore a barren old tree found its resting place in a patchwork of glimmering greens and golds.

The splendour of the moment reminded us of the ancient wisdom, “for everything there is a season.” The beauty of life in all its transformations is to be embraced even as the last leaves fall and breathtaking new realities begin.

© 2008 Warren Harbeck

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