Morant's Curve

June 26, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

This location at the western end of the Bow Valley Parkway was named after Nicholas Morant, a photographer for the Canadian Pacific Railway from the 1930s and 1940s, hired to tantalize the imagination of tourists to ride the CPR trains. This location has two nice curves of the Bow River at either end with majestic mountains in the background. We visited this area in hopes of catching sight of an eastbound train (coming from the right of the frame).

 

The first time we visited here was late morning on one of the last days of our trip. We had heard numerous train whistles in the early morning hours from our hotel in Lake Louise (the train track was just through the woods). When we arrived there was no one else there. I walked along a ridge on the other side of a barricade from the road and scouted out a good location. To the west was a nice S-curve in the tracks which would look nice with a train on it. We commenced waiting. And waiting.

 

Morant's CurveMorant's Curve

 

As we waited, numerous cars came by and pulled over next to our rental car. They must have been curious as to why someone was stopped there, so they stopped, probably hoping to see a bear or other wildlife. Then, one car with an older gentleman pulled up, and the man got out of his car with a camera and tripod. He proceeded to walk down where I was standing and then continued along the ridge to a spot further down. He was scouting out a good place like I did, and was probably frustrated I had the best one. He went down the hill toward the river and disappeared. After a while, he came back up the hill further back toward his car, next to where the barricade started. He set up his tripod with his camera on it and sat on the barricade. And he waited. And waited.

 

At one point, Denise walked back to the car to get some sunscreen. On her way back, she stopped to talk to the gentleman. She stood there talking to him for a long time. After a while, he walked back to his car and came back with a book to where Denise was standing. They then came down to where I was standing. We exchanged greetings and he asked me if I was interested in buying a photography book--it was on sale for a limited time. He showed me a large (11" x 11") book and started flipping through the pages, stopping every now and then to tell us the story associated with the picture (many of which were beautiful). He said this was the 55th book he had published. When he was younger, he climbed many, if not all, of the mountains in the Canadian Rockies, as well as other mountains in the Mexican and US Rockies. He must have talked for an hour (still no train, by the way). The book was of high quality and he offered to sell it for $20 Canadian (which was about $16 US). Denise really wanted the book, so we made the purchase. Before he gave us the book, he walked back over to his car with it in search of a bag. Denise and I followed him. While he was at his car, he signed the book. He presented it to us, along with the bag. Earlier Denise had asked his name and he told her she would break her tongue if she tried to repeat it, so he never told her.  

 

As we were standing close to the cars, I saw a train coming. Unfortunately, it was from the east. Beggars not being choosers, I made a mad dash 25 meters or so along the ridge to get to my camera to quickly get a photo or two. 

 

Approaching Westbound TrainApproaching Westbound TrainMorant's Curve

Passing TrainPassing TrainMorant's Curve

 

After I made these photos, I came back with my gear. He had told Denise as I was walking back that he didn't like the way the train looked, so he didn't take any photos. Not knowing when I'd next see a train on that segment of track, I thought it looked pretty good, even if it was westbound. As we stood there trying to say goodbye, he showed us a photo in the book that he had made from close to the spot where we were standing. It was indeed a nice scene--winter morning with fresh snow on the trees, an eastbound train, bright red engines, uniform cars following behind.

 

After a while longer, we said our goodbyes to George Brybycin. His 55th book is titled The Legendary Rockies. He said he was going to do one more photo book (he rarely makes any money on them he said, and I'm not surprised, because it is so hard to sell photo books anymore. It's a shame, because this is a beautiful book), then write his memoir, and then he was going to die. Let's just hope it isn't too soon.

 

The next morning, we drove back out to Morant's Curve, again hoping for an eastbound train. The early morning light was fantastic. After about an hour, we moved on, trainless.

 

Early Morning CurveEarly Morning CurveMorant's Curve

 


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