What's It All About, eh?

Cape Breton evokes deep memories and strong emotions for me as well as a deep appreciation for the beauty of my adopted island. My hopes are that you too might find the photos evocative - maybe a view you've not enjoyed before, or an 'Oh I've been there', or if from away that you may be encouraged to visit this fair isle so that you might come to love and breathe Cape Breton as I do. One word about place names that I use - some are completely local usage while others are from maps of Cape Breton that I've purchased over the years. I frequently post travel and other photos that are of interest to me - and hopefully you.

On the right hand side bar find my take on Single Malt whiskey - from how to best enjoy this noble drink to reviews (in a most non-professional manner) of ones that I have tried and liked - or not. Also musings, mine and others, on life in general.

Photographs are roughly 98%+ my own and copy-righted. For the occasional photo that is borrowed, credit is given where possible - recently I have started posting unusual net photographs that seem unique. Feel free to borrow any of my photos for non-commercial use, otherwise contact me. Starting late in 2013 I have tried to be consistent in identifying my photographs using ©smck on all out of camera photos I personally captured - (I often do very minor computer changes such as 'crop' or 'shadow' etc but usually nothing major), and using
©norvellhimself on all photos that I have played around with in case it might not be obvious.

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Along The Boardwalk To Western Brook Pond - V

© Jul '12     photo by smck
This view is constantly in front of us as we come ever closer to Western Brook Pond and I am constantly taking yet another photo of these imposing table mountains which surround it. 

© Jul '12     photo by smck
Reading this information sign along with the one from my posting of 25 Nov about the rising bog slowly drowning our the roots of the trees prompted me to take the following photos of dead spruce. 

© Jul '12     photo by smck

© Jul '12     photo by smck

© Jul '12     photo by smck

Along The Boardwalk To Western Brook Pond - IV

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck
Looking past one of the wooded ridges that are described in  an information sign in 'Along The Boardwalk To western Brook Pond - II'..

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck
Moose prints in the peaty mud at the boardwalks edge.

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck
If I interpret the following information sign correctly then the plant (above) is Cotton Grass.  It grows in deep tussocks throughout the bog.  The seed heads were used as lamp wicks across the arctic.

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck

- And Night Creeps In

© 26 Jul '12      photo by smck
- but not to signify the end - for night too signifies the friend -
 who gave us the diamond brilliance of black velvet strewn with baubles of stars



© an excerpt from a poem by smck

Along The Boardwalk To Western Brook Pond - III

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck

Along The Boardwalk To Western Brook Pond - II

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck
I believe that I've shown this 'Moose' photo before but this is the location - from the boardwalk to Western Brook Pond - where Carol got to see her first ever moose after coming north for some 30 odd years. Now I know the meaning of the word 'Elation'.

Countries around the world that visit my blog!


This week ending 25 Nov '12
 the visitors are:

Canada
China
France
Germany
Spain
United Kingdom 
United States
Venezuela

Along The Boardwalk To Western Brook Pond - I

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck
I never did get around to properly identifying this lovely lily like flower (in my youth, flowers remarkably similar to this were called Flags by my parents - this has been replaced by Iris today) that grew along the boardwalk (and throughout the boggy marsh) .

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck
Information signs are posted at intervals to give one a better grasp of the habitat around them. Read how here the boggy peat gradually encroaches upon and conquers the sprucey forest

Headed To Western Brook Pond, NFL

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck
Looking across a very large boggy area toward Western Brook Pond and the table-land tableau - photo taken just before we parked at the public parking area for visitors walking to view the pond up close and possibly take the tour boat up the mighty fjord-like pond itself.

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck
Leaving the parking area we walk along the  boardwalk, that extends most of the long hike in, through a small grove of stunted spruce that still survives the bog.

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck

Gradually the spruce, becoming more shrub-like  give way to the rising bog.  As I walk dry-clod on this modern freeway through the bog I can imagine the workers driving small pilings and planking the walk while sloshing in the marshy bog as black flies entertain them.   Amazingly for being in this northern clime in early July neither of us were ever bothered by biting insects.

Muddy Creek Forks

© 17 Nov '12     photo by smck
© 17 Nov '12     photo by smck
© 17 Nov '12     photo by smck

© 17 Nov '12     photo by smck
The little secluded valley launch site for our balloon ride
The secluded valley with the surrounding hills being preplanned so that the balloon envelope can be inflated without being bothered by the wind current that we will be riding after launching aloft. 
 The last photo has the chase-van unloading in the right background.


Quiet As A Shadow

© Nov '12     photo by smc

© Nov '12     photo by smc
Another shadow photo as we drifted along Muddy Creek valley and then as we passed over Muddy Creek
I tried a reflection photo but the ripples gave it a looking through frosted glass look.  Kevin took a great reflection photo from a pool of placid water that captured the vivid colors of the balloon envelope in sharp detail. 

Up, Up And Away!

© Nov '12     photo by smck

© Nov '12     photo by smck
© Nov '12     photo by smc
 Slowly and quietly the ground receded away from us and for a moment I felt a tense awareness of how casual this was - no seat belts, no attachments, just the five of us standing in a close group inside the not quite waist high gondola wicker wall while we smoothly ascended higher and higher.  An old quote of Will Rogers on one of his radio shows about being high on a cat-walk on Hoover Dam and knowing that he was going to stub his toe and go floating up in the air and over the waist high wall popped into my mind.   So, wishing I had a neck strap on my camera, I belatedly got the shot of the chase van and crew on the ground below.   Then Mike drew our attention to the shadow of our balloon against the receding wooded hill and someone said "That's us".  And indeed it was.  The unfelt air current - since we were moving with it - carried us along Muddy Creek shrouded in frost covered trees, most still in the shade of the coming sunrise.  All this time we were approaching a tree covered ridge that diverted Muddy Creek to the right. Mike, deftly controlling the propane burners, took us at tree top level up and over while telling us to watch for the deer that ran in alarm from the passing balloon.  I could hear them running through the leaves but could not see them until they ran out into an adjoining corn field

Houston, We're Ready For Lift Off


© 17 Nov '12     photo by smck
© 17 Nov '12     photo by smck

© 17 Nov '12     photo by smck
As the hot propane flame heats the air inside the balloon envelope (photo 1) one of Captain Mike's helpers, Alexander I think, is pulling hard to keep the envelope stretched to its' full extent (photo 2).  (If you look closely at photo 1 you can see him in the distance to the right).  We start heading toward the gondola when the balloon is fully inflated to climb aboard with Mike.  The sturdy wicker gondola fits the four of us and Mike rather snugly - room enough to man our cameras but close enough to give us the feeling of a close-knit group.  The two young men, Andrew and Alex, will drive the 'chase' van with the small trailer to follow our flight as best they can on the country roads while keeping in cell phone contact with Mike for updates on flight proceeding.  The balloon is controllable as to altitude by judicious use of the propane flame heating the air but directional steering in the horizontal plane is determined by the direction of the wind.  Wind speed at lift-off was about 10 mph (@ 16 kph).  Flight go or no-go is determined strictly by the wind velocity - both at time of lift-off and by predicted wind speeds during the flight - but actual direction is somewhat capricious.   We know where we are leaving from but where we are going to is somewhat of a mystery.  The chase-van, to pick us up at the end of the flight, only has a general direction to start proceeding on the road, thus the air-to-ground cell phone contact.


Visitors This Week (ending today)

 I am pleased to see the countries around the world that visit my blog!
This week the visitors are:

Canada
China
Croatia 
German
Ireland
India
Sweden
Ukraine
United Kingdom
United States



















Balloon Inflation

© 17 Nov '12     photo by smck
After the balloon fabric has been attached to the gondola and stretched along the ground to its' full length, two large gasoline powered fans (lower left of photo 1) blow the cold morning air into the mouth of the balloon slowly giving it shape.
© 17 Nov '12     photo by smck
 Mike, the balloon Captain, gave us permission to photograph into the partially cold-inflated balloon capturing the hemispherical shaped inflated portion and the flattened edges along the ground slowly being pulled from the center mass of the rest of the bag's fabric.  (photo 2)

© 17 Nov '12     photo by smck
Now that the balloon has a goodly portion of its' inflation from the cold air fans, it is safe to fire the propane heaters attached to the gondola to slowly give lift to the massive balloon.  (photo 3)

Setting Up For Our Early Morning Balloon Flight - I



© 17 Nov '12      photo by smck
 The gondola is dropped off in the parking lot of the small community of Muddy Creek Forks. We had gotten up about 4:15 p.m. to get to the pick up by 6:30. Then we drove another half hour to get to the lift-off area shown.  The morning was chilly with frost covering everything.
© 17 Nov '12      photo by smck
© 17 Nov '12      photo by smck
In the second photo Andrew and Alex prepare to tip the gondola for the attachment to the huge balloon still on the transportation trailer - which is being unloaded in this third photo.

Leaving The Information Center ,

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck
About an hour later than the previous photos on route to Gros Morne, as we were leaving the Information Center the table mountain in bold relief caught my eye.


Endless Mountain Vistas, NFL

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck
Snapped these two impressive views before getting back into the F150 and heading on to Gros Morne.

Humanist


Ten Miles Per Hour, NFL

© 10 Jul '12     photo by smck
I had to take a photo of this extremely heavy load crawling up this long hill where we had pulled off just to enjoy the scenery.