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SOUTHWESTERN ALBERTA Three guys, two vehicles and a dog visit southwestern Alberta in the last days of autumn

The fall colours were at peak and the weather reports were favourable. All we had to do was go.

From left to right: my neighbour Bernd (the pop-up camper's owner), his cousin Moritz (who's a med student visiting from Germany), Frito, Trevor the dog, and the un-named pop top Nissan. Here, we enjoy an al fresco lunch in the foothills of the Rockies, just south of Pincher Creek, Alberta. This little pickup/popup combination is the first RV I've seen that can compare with a Sprinter van for flexibility and comfort. Frito's fridge, stove and furniture served us well when we didn't want to raise the pop up roof on the Nissan.

I stopped to chat with a rancher who was working on his fencing. `Your timing is perfect`, he said. ``Once that wind gets up again, these leaves will all be gone in a few hours``.

I guess that`s why they call them ``leaves``.

These cattle had it made. A clear, fast running, icy cold mountain stream. Who could ask for better drinking water?

This little guy saw me, but didn't see me as much of a threat, I guess. He watched me photographing for a while, and then he just ambled away.

This is natural gas country. We had to share these roads with various industrial vehicles. Only fair, I guess, since they built the roads in the first place. It's dry. There's been no significant rain in these parts for months.

"Open Range", say the signs. Cattle rule. Don't fence me in.

A clear stream offers my new polarizing filter a challenge. The area's complex geology results in multi-coloured rocks everywhere.

Looking east, away from the mountains, the prairie stretches out forever.

Moritz goes for a run in the cool morning air.. Our two days in the foothills were perfectly timed. A few days later, most of the leaves were gone and an early fall snow had begun to change the landscape to white.

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