Panorama Hills Ridge

Rocks balanced above the path . . . 
  • Parking: On the street   
  • Washrooms: None
  • Rough dirt path, steep climbs 
Rocky Ridge

This morning, I explored the dirt trails that weave up and down the ridge at the western border of the community of Panorama Hills.  On this dry cliffside, I found an entirely different set of plants and animals from the wetlands and riverbanks I have been visiting lately.  I saw the distinctive silhouette of pointy-tipped swallow wings against the blue sky, and startled a covey of a half dozen grouse from the long grass at the top of the ridge.  The steep slope was covered in sturdy foothill scrub, the silvery leaves of the wolf willow intermingled with juniper and Saskatoon berry bushes covered in ripening fruit.  In amongst it all were the beautiful Alberta wildflowers, speckling the landscape with delicate whites, purples, blues and yellows.  

. . .  and rocks that have landed below.

As impressive as all these details were, though, they were overshadowed by the sandstone formations that form the backbone of this ridge.   Massive boulders teetered above my head, their potential threat emphasised by the freshly fallen rocks that littered the path.  Huge slabs of rock, covered by coloruful lichen, thrust up from between the bushes and sections of still buried strata created a natural pavement beneath my feet.  The exposed rock makes this place feel immensely old, and trivialises the houses perched above.

As I walked today, I was reminded that you see what you focus on.  In those stretches with sharp drop at the edge of the path, my gaze was often focused on the ground in front of me, and I noticed the tiny details of the flowers and lichen and pebbles at my feet.  In sections where the trail was more reasonable, I took in the landscape of boulders and scrub brush around me.  And when I had to stop and catch my breath after a steep climb, I enjoyed the expansive view of the the wide valley below and the distant horizon beyond.  There was no way to experience these different focal lengths simultaneously, but it was definitely worth the effort to readjust my own depth of field from micro to macro to see it all!   
Balancing the micro and macro views.

No comments:

Post a Comment