Sunday, April 10, 2016

"Lost" at Beaver Creek

I spent Saturday morning at Beaver Creek being the "lost" subject for a Saskatoon Search and Rescue training exercise. (One of Shelley's many retirement activities.) The scenario was that I was an elderly photographer with Alzheimer's whose wife had reported me as overdue. (That hit a little too close to home!) All I had to do was wander around and do my own thing taking photos. I wasn't supposed to try to avoid being found, but on the other hand I shouldn't be too easy to find either.

I set off before the searchers were "called out". I know Beaver Creek fairly well so I had a pretty good idea of where I'd be easy or hard to find. I headed east first and dropped one of my "clues" on a trail leading that direction. After which I looped around and headed west towards the river, leaving the main trails. Part of the scenario was that I was likely to wander off trail while taking photographs.

I didn't find a huge amount to photograph. It was a cold gray day, drizzling on and off, and extremely windy. The first thing I noticed were reflections in the creek, but with the gray sky they weren't too exciting.

reflections of trees

There weren't many animals around. Canada Geese and Sandhill Cranes flew over making their respective distinctive calls. A pair of mallard ducks erupted from the creek at one point, complaining loudly about being disturbed. A few gulls were soaring in the wind. The only other birds I saw were a few chickadees. There was lots of signs of beavers but I didn't see any.

windblown chickadee

There was some ice around which I enjoy trying to photograph, although much of it was dirty which spoils the shining crystal look. Often you can ameliorate that by converting to black and white. After which adding a blue tint makes it look more "icy".


Although overall things are still pretty dead and brown, there were bits of green here and there - moss beside a swampy area, new grass growing up through the old.


Most of the trees aren't flowering yet but some are starting.

early flowering poplars

The orange lichen on the trees provides some year round color.


Mid morning I stopped and made a cup of coffee on my twig stove. I always like how a handful of twigs, often gathered within arms length of where I'm sitting, quickly and easily turn into a hot drink. No fossil fuels, no fancy backpacking stove, no big "campfire".  At this point I vaguely heard some yelling in the distance but in the scenario I didn't think I was lost and therefore wasn't trying to be found, so I ignored it. It was hard to hear anyway with the high winds.

Later in the morning I started to wander back toward the more travelled areas. I soon started to see the searchers. In their bright orange clothing they were a lot easier to spot than I was in mostly black clothes (but a bright blue backpack). Eventually one of them spotted me and started waving and yelling. I waved back and continued on my elderly confused way :-) Being on the far side of the creek with no nearby bridge threw them off a little, but they soon converged, found their way across the creek, and "rescued" me.

For more of these photos, see all 30 as a slideshow or overview

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