Dinosaur Drumheller …

There’s a lot of excellent vids on You Tube of the Alberta Badlands.
As I said earlier, when I used to explore here as young Teen I felt I was in going into areas that had never before been seen by any human being but me. 
This really fueled my wonder about all things of exploration and Paleontology.
Have a boo of this short, but entertaining video.

Come see this beautiful country for yourself some day. 

Hell on Wheels … filmed in Alberta

Hell on Wheels main theme

Image result for hell on wheels poster final season

I haven’t given enough attention to this Western Series which was filmed in Alberta from November 6, 2011 to July 23, 2016 = 5 seasons. It was pretty good. 

Hell on Wheels is an American/Canadian Western television series about the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States, which broadcast in the United States and Canada on the cable channel AMC.

If you like Westerns you can still pick this up on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/ca/title/70210883

Yup, I’m shamelessly plugging Alberta too.

Goin’ to the Stampede ! Part 2 of 3

The Blue Canadian Rockies / Valdy


Early days North West Mounted Police outpost 

My roots are deep in Calgary
My Dad was born here and I was told 
that my great grandfather was a member of the 
North West Mounted Police

North-West Mounted Police of Canada, 1887 (colour litho), Remington, Frederic (1861-1909)

Jeremiah “Jerry” Potts (1840 – July 14, 1896), (also known as Ky-yo-kosi, meaning “Bear Child”),
was an American – Canadian plainsman, buffalo hunter, horse trader, interpreter, and scout of Kainai (Blood) and Scots heritage.

Potts is just one of many early Canadian Explorers and Frontiersmen.
Canadians know disgustingly little of their own History or of such people.
We don’t celebrate them. We never developed a film industry like the US
that tells of them in any way. Their exploits were easily equal,
but they are almost completely unknown. Because of this I would guess
that the average Canadian knows more about US History than Canadian History.

Don’t know who these cowboys are? but it looks like 
they got a bag of pancake mix and 4 beers for posing.

Goin’ to the Stampede ! Part 1 of 3

The Calgary Stampede Song / Wilf Carter 

When I’m not trying to wake people up – including myself,
I do ordinary things – like go to the Calgary Stampede. 

The Stampede is a 10 day event and Rose and I go down to the
Stampede Grounds for one day every year – usually Seniors Day (get in free!).
We take transit because driving around downtown is insane. 

Calgary – not a town anymore.

The Saddledome. Soon to be torn down and replaced 
by a new $550-million arena.
(Would we be surprised if that reaches a billion before it’s finished?)

Anyway … The Calgary Stampede: quite an event.

There’s action all over town.
Horses get ‘right of way’.

It’s crazy at the transit station.
Hope you don’t mind crowds.

The gates are in sight.

No drunks; No drugs; No guns; No smoking; No tasers; No blades; No drones;
No explosives; No baseball bats, hockey sticks, golf clubs, bows and arrows;
Etc; Etc; Etc …
Geez, you can’t do anything.

On the grounds.

Lots of people.

Free entertainment.

Places to rest.

But you can win stuff: cars, trucks, motorcycle, a house. lottery … many things. 

Things like this car. 

Have a silly pic taken.

The Return of the great Western Painter C. M. Russell.

Russel masterpiece. 

We always go to the Art Exhibits first.

“Go ahead … try t’ steal me.”

The Queen rode in.
But I had to loan her a quarter.

Lots of fun !

Yoho Natural Bridge

Long River / Gordon Lightfoot

So we’re half way through the Rockies – which we can’t see because of the smoke. – in Yoho National Park – near Kicking Horse Pass (that’s just South of Greenhorn Gulch – just kidding)- on our way to Vernon – and Rose gets a notion to make a little side trip to see the Natural Bridge

Though I had passed by it a hundred times, I’d never bothered to check it out.

The name Yoho comes from the Cree Native word for awe and wonder.

Here’s the Natural Bridge:

From this vantage point it looks like it would be pretty easy to get across there, Right?
It’s entirely different once you get out on the bridge.
The threat of falling in being killed here is real.
I wonder how many may have fallen in here over the years?
Not many I guess – or they wouldn’t let them do it.
That being said, I only saw one person – a young man – go across while I was here.

Two adventurers venture forth.

Ladies first …

This would be a great place to Propose wouldn’t it?

But they just took some pics.

And they never crossed that Bridge.

I venture out …

Trying to figure out my new camera …

What you can’t see from over there …

I try a short video …

I didn’t go across either. I’m ashamed to admit that I was scared.
But I didn’t feel it was worth the risk.
I saw only one person go across – a young man.
Good for him.

Why you wouldn’t want to fall in that water …

A Tale of 3 Hikers

Circa: early ’80’s

Myself, my buddy Pete, and a friend of his, go hiking into the backcountry.
Destination: Lake of the Hanging Glaciers.
We encounter a strong and rapid Glacier stream.
We have to cross.

Image from net – similar to what we experienced.

A makeshift bridge of 3 narrow logs spans the 15 feet gap.
It looks precarious.
I decide I’ll wade across – holding on to the bridge for support.
A bad idea.
A very bad idea.
The water’s only about 2 feet deep, but is so rapid and powerful
that when it hits you it rides up on you much higher.
I get about 5 feet out …
… then it hits me.
Like a ton of icebergs.
I have NEVER EVER experienced COLD like this before!!!
You can’t imagine it until you do yourself.
It hits my central nervous system.
It’s almost like instantly going into shock.
I can’t breathe …
I start to hyperventilate.
I realize that I will shortly be completely paralyzed.
But I’m still close enough – and strong enough – to Get the Hell back to the bank.
I do. I recover.
I decide to use the bridge instead.
Good idea.
I heave my pack across the stream.
Essentially I crawl across the rickety log bridge.
I takes about 5 minutes.
I make it.
When I turn around I see Pete is in the water!!! He’s trying to wade across too!!!
Weren’t these idiots watching what I had just gone through!!??
I start yelling like hell:
He won’t listen.
“I’m going to be OK”, he yells.
And he keeps going.
Incredibly, he actually makes it about half way across!!?
THEN … it hits him …
I see him seizing up …
He’s starting to hyperventilate …
He’s paralyzed …
He’s done.
Soon he’ll lose his grip on the bridge …
and be swept downstream.
He’s going to die …
EIther from drowning or hypothermia.
OR both.
I have to do something!!!
I look at his buddy on the other side …
It’s evident to me that he’s not going to do a thing.
I get a back a short distance …
Then I run and leap into the creek …
… and grab Pete.
I know, however that in a few short seconds I’m going
to be just like him.
“I’VE GOT YOU PETE!” I yell.
“ONE .. TWO .. THREE!!!”
The bridge breaks.
(I don’t think Pete was able to let go of it.)
We’re floating down stream …
Do you believe GOD and Miracles?
I do.
Because the next thing I know we’re both at the bank!
How we got there I have no idea.
The bank is high, but there’s some willow type branches hanging over the edge.
We do.
I grab Pete the rump.
I throw him up on the bank.
(It’s amazing what you can do when death is calling)
Then I get myself up before I’m frozen.
We lay there for ten minutes.
Soaked and exhausted.
But alive.

Don’t go in that damn water.

Net Photo – Lake of the Hanging Glaciers


Klondike mini-series update: “Real-life flood drama hits Alberta-shot TV and film productions”

Hell on wheels – TV Series

Klondike – Mini-Series

Interstellar – Hollywood sci-fi film – directed by Christopher Nolan and star Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey

Heartland – TV Series

” … Oakes’ Calgary-based Nomadic Pictures is also producer of the Discovery Channel’s miniseries Klondike with Richard Madden, Abbie Cornish and Sam Shepard. The period drama, which was shot at the CL Ranch near Springbank, (Alberta), had finished filming but flooding has prevented crews from properly wrapping up the site … ” Real-life flood drama hits Alberta-shot TV and film productions Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Real+life+flood+drama+hits+Alberta+shot+film+productions/8572464/story.html#ixzz2XcMj6vjs

Klondike Mini-Series Update …

Discovery Channel looking for TV gold with Alberta-shot miniseries  Klondike

By Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald      May 10, 2013

klondike calgary herald photo

The set of Discovery Channel´s Klondike in Alberta.

Photograph by: Courtesy, Dan Power ,  Handout

It’s an alarming spectacle to take in. Dozens of extras trudge slowly to a  tent in between takes on the sprawling Alberta set of the Discovery Channel’s  miniseries Klondike, all having an appropriate air of misery about them. The  cameras may not be rolling, but they still appear fairly tuned into the despair  of characters who have arrived in the Yukon just before the onset of winter.  It’s actually a beautiful day in Alberta. Sweltering even. Unfortunately, for  now, this is not particularly helpful when filming on the CL Ranch, a location  west of Calgary where a booming Dawson City has been recreated.

Mother Nature often does her part to add authenticity to Alberta-shot period  pieces, especially those epics with a man-versus-nature theme.

Today, however, it’s hot. Yet the extras who are working are supposed to look  cold. They are bundled up. They wear scarves and hats. The women wear long  dresses and coats. Many of the men sport long, unruly beards. They feverishly  rub their hands together and huddle on what is supposed to be the  less-then-welcoming docks on the Yukon River in Dawson City circa the late  1890s.

“It’s cold, remember,” Assistant Director Dave McLennan reminds the extras. “Brrrrrrrrr. Your hands and feet are cold.”

It’s not just the extras who are feeling the heat.

“We’re trying to pretend it’s winter,” says lead actor Richard Madden,  attempting to cool off on the set in between takes. “I’ve got like 19 layers  here and a dry suit. I’m so hot.”

The irony of enduring a day of uncomfortable heat is not lost on Madden. In a  fairly short period of time, he has experienced some wildly divergent weather in  Alberta. To Game of Thrones fans, Madden is the action-ready Robb Stark, a  sword-wielding leader of men who has travelled all sorts of terrain during his  battles.

But the frigid conditions the 26-year-old Scottish actor and fellow cast and  crew endured on Fortress Mountain in Kananaskis Country just over a month ago  was a whole different battle.

“The hardest bits I suppose were the first couple of weeks, which were  probably the hardest couple weeks of shooting I’ve ever had,” he says. “That’s  because there was the altitude and the cold. You’ve got four wind machines on  you that are the size of a back of a car, or bigger. You’ve got guys shovelling  snow at each wind machine. And it’s really cold. And you’ve got the mountain. So  that was really challenging. You’re trying to do your job and act as well as  dealing with really intense conditions.”

Madden, who plays real-life adventurer Bill Haskell in the miniseries, is not  complaining. The adverse conditions certainly helped him find his character in  the early goings. And it will no doubt help with the epic feel of the six-hour  miniseries, Discovery Channel’s first scripted TV project scheduled to air  sometime in 2014. Based on Ottawa writer Charlotte Gray’s book Gold Diggers:  Striking It Rich In The Klondike, the series mixes real-life events and  historical characters such as Haskell, Belinda Mulrooney and Jack London with a  tale of murder, greed and the dashed hopes of those who arrived in Dawson City  consumed by gold-rush fever but usually ill-prepared and doomed to fail  spectacularly.

Discovery has partnered with iconic British director Ridley Scott’s Scott  Free Productions and Calgary-based Nomadic Pictures, which also produces the  Alberta-shot AMC series Hell on Wheels.

Having had much success with reality shows such as Gold Rush, Jungle Gold and  Bering Sea Gold, Discovery was after a scripted project that explored similar  themes.

“Our audience loves the idea of the frontier spirit,” says Discovery’s  Dolores Gavin, an executive producer on Klondike. “That whole thing about man  versus nature, man versus man, man versus self — those are themes we talk about  everyday on Discovery. There was really no difference when we started talking  about this project because there were those similarities.”

Epic themes require an epic look. Standing on the sprawling Alberta set on  the CL Ranch, it’s clear that Discovery has jumped in with both feet when it  came its first scripted series. British director Simon Cellan Jones, a veteran  of top-tier television such a Boardwalk Empire, Treme and The Borgias, is at the  helm. He oversees an impressive cast that includes Sam Shepard as a haunted man  of God named Father Judge and British actor Tim Roth as a villain named The  Count. Meanwhile, the production seems to have caught its two leads just as  their stars were on the rise. Madden has won fame on Game of Thrones and was  recently cast as Prince Charming in Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming Cinderella.  Versatile Australian actress Abbie Cornish, who plays the entrepreneurial  Belinda Mulrooney in Klondike, is perhaps best know for playing Fanny Brawne in  Jane Campion’s Bright Star and just wrapped up a role in next year’s big-budget  reboot of RoboCop after lead roles in films such as Limitless, Sucker Punch and  Seven Psycopaths.

And while some of the events in Klondike are fictionalized, both Madden and  Cornish did a good deal of research on their respective characters, digging up  books and biographies to help get into the headspace of those who sought riches  and adventure in the unforgiving Klondike during the gold-rush years.

This attention to detail is a hallmark of the production as a whole,  particularly amid the meticulously recreated Dawson City. The impressive set was  built up on an already existing town on the CL Ranch that has been a location  for a number of Alberta-shot projects. With mud-caked roads, newly built  businesses, piles of fresh lumber and dubious-looking meat sold off of carts,  this Dawson City is an alluring mix of filth and boom-town commerce.

Massive dogs — Newfoundlanders, Irish Wolfhounds, Great Pyrenees crosses,  among others — roam the streets with their owners, a realistic touch given that  few horses survived the trek to the Klondike during this period.

“Discovery now knows how to build a town,” says Gavin with a laugh. “With our  audience, we’ve got to ring true to the historical record. The action that is  happening in Klondike was so immense in Dawson City. You can’t do that with  eight or nine buildings, you need 30 buildings. So we have 30 buildings. If you  really go back and look at the research, Dawson City was like Vegas. It was  going 24-seven and you never knew what was going to happen.”

But while this miniseries may be aiming for feature-film production values,  it is still television. Six hours worth of action has to be shot over 54 days,  which requires long hours of perpetual motion in all sorts of conditions.

“I’ve really enjoyed the momentum of it, the impulsive nature of it,” says  Cornish. “A lot of times, because Richard and I are the leads, if we get it in  two takes then that’s it. We’re moving on.”

While Cornish did not shoot scenes on blustery Fortress Mountain, her first  week shooting near Canmore involved learning how to become an expert dog sledder  to believably play the resourceful Mulrooney.

“It was a very full-on week and very elemental and really set the tone for  that landscape,” she said. “If we had just gone straight into Dawson City we  would have no idea about what the outside of that landscape is. We just would  have known the mud and the city and the rain.”

For Madden, the epic feel of Klondike is not only due to the massive sets and  scenic vistas, but the intimate human drama of the stories being told.

“There is a huge part of the stories that can be epic visually because of  what we see,” he says. “And there’s huge parts that are epic when its just a  scene between me and Abbie Cornish and it’s just the two of us standing and  talking. That’s more epic than any mountains in the background just because of  the intensity of the scene.”


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