Archive for November, 2010

Southern Alberta is recovering from its first snow storm of the year. In Crowsnest Pass, there’s 18-20 inches of fresh snow covering the valley floor. The sun broke through for a few minutes yesterday morning, as I was taking the photo below. It was the first time in a couple of days where Turtle Mountain and the Frank Slide were visible. It looks like even more snow has fallen at higher elevations. I’m sure this will be good news for the local ski resorts. Not so good if you were hoping to get out fishing on the Crow over the next few days. Temperatures are not expected to climb above -14°C through the weekend. The long range forecast appears brighter, or should I say “warmer,” and it’s suppose to be above freezing by next Friday.

Lots of fresh snow in Crowsnest Pass

 Speaking of Turtle Mountain, the Alberta Geological Survey has been conducting research on this mountain for several years, using hi-tech equipment to monitor its structure and instability. According to their web site, “the first priority of the monitoring system is providing early warning to residents of a possible catastrophic rock avalanche.” That’s comforting to know, particularly if you live in the “splash” zone! 

In addition to some of the monitoring equipment, there are web cams set up on top of the mountain and along the valley floor. If the mountain’s South Peak ever breaks loose, like the experts believe it will at some point in the future, it’s nice to know we’ll be able to watch in real time. If you’re interested in looking at some neat web cam photos, click here. There are also some cool time-lapse movies.

It was inevitable and only a matter of time, before the nice autumn weather we’ve been experiencing in Crowsnest Pass would go south on us. After making it through October and the first half of November, without having to deal with much in the way of wintry weather, everything changed yesterday. Although we did get some snow in September, along with a bunch of rain and cool temperatures, the weather turned for the better and it’s been quite pleasant for the past six weeks. At the very least it made us forget what was to come, sooner or later. Now, it appears winter is on our doorstep. 

 I’d say we’ve had 3 – 4 inches of snow since Monday evening and the temperatures have dropped condiderably since the weekend.  It was -12°C this morning. That’s downright nasty, when compared to the +12°C we basked in a few days ago. There are two words that begin with the letter ”W” that a lot of folks around here don’t like to say out loud. Wind is one … winter, the other.  Ah well, c’est la vie.

It appears it’s going to be a while before warm temperatures return to the area. Hopefully, we’ll get a Chinoook before month’s end. We all know what that will bring with it, though … the other ”W” word!  

Crowsnest River

Snow falling on the Crow

I headed over to Lee Lake yesterday to check whether or not it was still ice-free. There was already a bit of slush forming along its edges, and I suspect there’s ice on the lake today.
Lee Lake ready to freeze

Lee Lake ready to freeze

Livingstone Range Threatened
On another note, I received an email the other day from a friend who is a member of the Livingstone Landowners Group,  informing me of a video that’s been uploaded to YouTube. The Landowners Group was formed 5 or 6 years ago by concerned residents in the Porcupine Hills area of southern Alberta in response to rapidly increasing industrial pressure in the area. The latest threat to the area is a proposed open pit mine along the flanks of the Livingstone Range. This video looks at the potential impact of the proposed magnetite mine. The mine could have an impact on the fishery in the area, as there are several small tributaries along the Livingstone Range that flow into the Crowsnest River. The video is approximately 13 minutes and is certainly worth a look. Click here to watch the video.

The weather in Crowsnest Pass has been very nice over the past several weeks. Who can complain when temperatures reach the mid-teens in November? If you remember last year, winter arrived with a vengence in early October and by Thanksgiving everyone had already put their fishing gear away. By this time last November, there was lots of snow on the ground and everything was froze solid. That was not to be this year, though. It’s been warm enough the past few afternoons you could have been outside in short sleeves. Okay, I stand corrected … It was almost warm enough to be outdoors dressed like this. Also, there’s been very little wind the past two days. That’s a switch! 

Early morning on the Crowsnest River

Early morning on the Crowsnest River

Although the season has closed on most of the rivers and streams in the area, there are opportunities available and places that remain open to fishing year-round. These include portions of the Crowsnest River and the lower Oldman, downstream of the Oldman Dam. It appears there’s still a bit of time to get out before weather conditions return to normal for this time of year. This could happen as early as Monday.

A Castle River cutthroat, caught during last week of the season

A Castle River cutthroat, caught during last week of season