Swept away…

…like an American dipper in the rushing current. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we’d been snowshoeing along the Bow, and I was going to write about that small adventure, but last week “The Revenant’ swept my attention away. Still, the dipper is a plucky little fellow, not easily distracted, and willing to plunge in upstream and be carried back to where he started – and further.

American dipper
So, our little snowshoeing adventure. It was about perfect, -10C, blue skies, and bright sunshine. We delayed our start deliberately, wanting to be outside into the late afternoon and catch the changing light as the sun fell beneath the tree line and behind the mountains. A magical time of day.

Catch the light
There had been some reasonably heavy snowfall the previous day or two, and the conifers were wearing snow cloaks. It made me think of Narnia, although winter in Narnia was a mean season, and it felt anything but.

A Narnian winter?
I have to thank my grandparents for the Narnia books. I loved them, reading and rereading, always enthralled, captivated by the stories, to the point where I could recite them almost by heart. Especially “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” – who couldn’t love that one?

The imagination of little PlaidCamper was fired up by those books – he didn’t know much or care about the religious parallels, although they are interesting. He was all about the talking animals, mysterious tree and water spirits, and other mythical creatures. He was swept away by the landscapes and adventures. He got upset every time Aslan “died” on the stone table, tears of sadness. He was moved to tears again when Aslan returned and the stone table was split asunder. Edmund! You fool! Don’t eat candy offered to you by strangers! Especially witches! Edmund’s choices were a disappointment every time (I was a sensitive, repetitive, and judgemental reader…)

If I walk under the arch…
I’m certainly not going to share with you the time I climbed into my wardrobe and reached forward past the clothes hanging there, hoping for some magic. Nope, not going there.

Albertan delight
Thank goodness we moved to Alberta many years later! The cupboards are built in, and I can’t get to Narnia through them, but a short journey out to the mountains in winter is pretty close. No Turkish delight (perhaps a small bar of chocolate in the backpack), but Albertan delights are more than enough.

DSCF1833A feast for the senses that snowshoe afternoon, with crisp pine air, whispering trees, misty rivers, crunching snow, creaking ice, and rushing water. Spirits? I know what a young PlaidCamper might think, and maybe he wouldn’t be wrong…

DSCF1764We didn’t see a faun, white witch, or any talking animals, but the American dipper was a wonder. What a tough little bird! Icy waters were no problem as he splashed, bobbed and flew over and into the fast moving current. Diving in, fetching his meal, and popping back up far further down than we expected. You would swear he was enjoying himself, completely engrossed in his antics, and if he was aware of his admiring audience, he didn’t let on. Or perhaps he did know we were there, and decided quite deliberately to fly up and drift down the same little patch of river, simply sharing some quality time. (You can blame C.S. Lewis for my shameless anthropomorphizing.)

A water ouzel!
The American dipper is also known as the water ouzel. How wonderful to have an alternate name, and doesn’t it sound positively Narnian?

I’ll leave it here, happy to share with you our warm winter adventure. Downstream and thinking about that funny little PlaidCamper boy with his imaginative and bookish ways.

A funny little PlaidCamper
As always, thanks for taking the time to read this. Please feel to share a (wardrobe?) story, or make a comment, and keep your guy ropes secure.

I must go and hang up this jacket…

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I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

15 thoughts on “Swept away…”

  1. I so enjoyed this snowy adventure through many worlds, pc, and as usual, you had my full attention. Funny little plaidcamper’s imaginative forays are a boon to us all, for your writing is fluid and pleasant to follow. I am a BIG fan of the American Dipper, and have not had too many long views, compared to how many times I have looked for them. They are twitchy and fast-moving; it was a delight to “be” there. Your photos, the peace, the beauty, are exquisite.


    1. Thanks for your kind words, Jet! The little American dipper is a lovely bird – so much character. We were lucky enough to see him again yesterday, on almost the same stretch of river.
      Thank you for offering to answer questions about SF – you might be sorry!
      I hope you’ve been enjoying a pleasant weekend!


  2. I’ll have to echo Jet’s comment above; you’ve swept me away with your Narnian reflections and Rocky Mountain photography and prose. I love that little bird, the American dipper (the European dipper is a cool one that I used to watch in the Alps) that I’ve observed for hours while walking or fishing along the western rivers. Thanks for bringing it all back home again!


    1. Thanks, Walt. I can easily imagine spending time watching the dippers. We were fortunate to catch him again yesterday, but it was too chilly to spend more than a few minutes. A real treat, though.
      Hope your weekend is going well!


  3. Great post and beautiful scenery! It seems that with every post you publish, my desire to move North grows.

    I’ve not read any of the Narnia books, but some of your pics do seem other–worldly.

    Great work, my friend!


  4. I love the parallel to draw to Narnia. I have many times thought to myself during our winter outings here in Alberta that it looks like something straight out of Narnia. Was one of my favourites as a kid. I never read the book, but they used to send it on tv during Christmas. I watched it every year:) i never caught the religious parallels though, might have to watch it again (or maybe read the books) to catch that part. For me it was all about the adventure.
    Love your winter captures – the Bow has so many beautiful spots to explore.


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