Took the White Turtle II out for a road trip to do some photography and enjoy the day at Jensen Reservoir. It was a breezy day but in southern Alberta that is not unheard of! Was a nice day for a drive and to do some pictures. Also gave me a chance to test some video equipment. I am waiting for the arrival of a shotgun mic so I can cut out some more wind noise and enhance the nature sounds but the cameras that I use do a pretty good job of that as long as the wind is not to strong.
A short drive from Lethbridge this is a popular area for fishing and has some really nice landscapes. A great view of the mountains, especially Chief and the Milk River Ridge.
Not a lot of wildlife but depending on the time of year you may see a large number of birds as this seems to be on a major migration route. Can be windy and in the winter very cold as the winds blow in from the mountains.
I was in Waterton on the hunt for some birds. So far the day was pretty productive but there was still a lot of daylight remaining and I wanted to get some more pictures. I decided that I would stop at one of my favorite spots. Maskinonge is located just outside the Waterton Park gates and I find a lot of birds pass through here. I parked my van the White Turtle II in my favorite spot. I came across the usual birds as soon as I arrived, a mix of song birds, a Heron, a couple Trumpeter swans and a number of ducks.
The hunter becomes the hunted
I was enjoying taking their pictures but the birds seemed nervous. I spotted a couple hawks and an eagle across the lake and even they seemed nervous. Then the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I heard a noise a ways away, but close enough that I turned towards the noise. It was like I was being watched. I reached down to make sure that the pepper spray was still on my belt and wondered if I needed it if it would still work. I looked around but could not see anything but I felt it, then I spotted it.
Hidden on the ground behind some trees it could survey the entire lake. It was not close enough to pounce on me but it wasn’t that far away. I tried to get a better angle to get a picture but it was well hidden in the trees. I did not want to approach to close as the closer I got the worse the angle would be to get a picture. Also the closer I got the more chance that I would get injured should it get spooked.
A good perch for the hunt!
I finally found a spot that I was in the open but a ways away. I watched it for a while but it did not seem like it was in any hurry. By its size I could only imagine what it was like when dinosaurs roamed this area. It was HUGE!!!! I also realized what it must have been like to be hunted by a Pterodactyl.
After watching it for several minutes I figured that it must be asleep as it had not moved since i spotted it. I then took some pictures of the birds in the area that were also confused by this massive invader in their wetlands. They would go about their routine but they were keeping a close eye on it.
After about 20 minutes of photographing the birds I heard another noise. It was getting ready to move. Before I could turn my body it was starting to rise behind the trees. Then without warning it put it’s nose down and started coming towards me. I had fortunately left enough space so that I had time to react. I swung my camera around and grabbed a few shots, not even thinking about the bear spay on my belt.
Before I knew it it was looming over me. As it went past I noticed that all the birds in the area were taking off and seeking cover. It headed west towards the river then it turned to the north. As fast as all that happened it was again quiet. The lake was now empty of birds but it would only be a short time till they came out from hiding and flew back from their hiding places.
Well they say that any time you survive an adventure it is a good one. I had survived!! I realized that I was now getting hungry and it was getting late so I decided that I would head to the campground for supper. A good day it was, a number of great images and an experience that I have not had in Waterton before!!
I wanted to add some extra airflow and a screen door seemed to be the best option. For me there is nothing better than sitting on a screened in porch to enjoy the late evening light or the early morning light without worrying about mosquitoes. Now I can lay in bed and enjoy the scenery and no bugs.
I want to do a screen for the side door but have been putting it off till I figure out what I am doing with the layout of the van. A back screen seemed like a great idea. I can say the view is second to none while laying in bed. Plus when the heat of the day gives way to cool evening breezes the van cools off REALLY fast!!
I priced out having this made locally but the company that I had quote from was not overly encouraging, nor were they cheap. I thought of having my wife sew it. But I knew I would tweak it and she would not be happy to make the changes. So I went REALLY hi-tech and bought some high quality screen, some Velcro and a roll of duct tape. After about an hour of design and tweaking I had my screen. I am thinking of some adjustments but so far it performs 100%.
The only time I think I will remove it is in the winter. I want to get a insulated blanket done for the back and the side door. Once I have the insulated blanket I think I will take the screen out. I can use the screen to make a pattern for the blanket.
I also have made a canopy that goes over the back doors when they are open. Now I can leave the doors open in the rain. Another luxury of the White Turtle III.
What you see when you slow down!! I was out for a walk the other night at Belly River Campground in Waterton Lakes National Park. I have to walk slowly with my lung condition and this night was no different with the heat and humidity. As I stopped to catch my breath I could hear something in the tree beside me. It was a gentle noise like a light breeze but I could hear something in the tree. I stood still for a minute then this little guy appeared in front of my face, He had been checking me out as I stood there and had decided that I was no danger. Probably because of my wheezing he figured he could outrun me 🙂 🙂 . So he continued with his feeding. I was able to shoot a pile of images, the only thing that caused me to stop shooting was the horde of mosquitoes that showed up and the fact I left the bug spray in the van.
So the next time you are out shooting, don’t be in a rush. Slow down and see all the things that you would miss if you were rushing past.
I gave in and got a window!! I was not going to but after seeing these great windows that Wilderness Vans got in I had to get at least one!
In the past I have had RV’s with those cheap sliding windows that let more air in then they keep out. But this window is one piece and dual pane so it is VERY quiet!! Plus it does not let in any air when driving or parked. When I first got into the van after getting it installed other than the fact I could now see out I did not even notice that the window was there.
Add to that the fact they are VERY functional and getting one was a easy decision. I love the built in blind and screen as well. They are really tinted so even without the blind closed there is a lot of privacy.
An additional benefit is that I could buy them locally and they even installed it. I took the van in on my way to work and by the time I was ready to go home it was done.