Bald Eagles at Big Lake Near Edmonton, Alberta

My blood was boiling with excitement and anticipation. I was mere two days away from my big departure and had almost everything necessary taken care of. There were only a few minor things to still do – things that would ultimately end the “pre-departure preparations” and set me ready to board a plane to Vancouver. I was still physically present in Edmonton, Alberta but my mind was already in Cambodia. Last weekend’s road trip through the Rocky Mountains put me in the right mind set of a dedicated traveller. And that mood kept growing exponentially.

My plane was leaving on Monday early in the morning. I was half way through my last weekend in Edmonton when I found out that Big Lake – large lake North West of Edmonton is home to many pairs of Bald Eagles that nest in tall trees on its west bank during summer months. I knew my life from this point on would be all about exploring amazing corners of this planet so I thought that while I’m still here, maybe I should sit on my bike and ride there with my camera to get some amazing shots of these majestic birds of prey just before I take off for South East Asia.

The premise of this idea seemed very tempting and I was determined to do my best not to pass on this opportunity. I have lived in Edmonton for so many years and I didn’t even know that Bald Eagles can be seen in their natural habitat only few kilometres from the city. It would have been amazing if I got a chance to photograph some of those birds.

The trick was the Big Lake is just as the name suggests – big. I no longer had a car, only my awesome bike. It looked like I would have to cover about 40 kilometres each way in order to get to the west side of the lake. That’s all merely because of the size of the lake. It’s south east corner starts right at the north west end of Edmonton, but the lake spreads on for quite a bit so in order to make it all the way to the west side on a bike, I’d be pedalling for more than two hours. And then I’d have at least two hours to pedal all the way back home so riding itself would eat up a better chunk of the day.

This part itself was making the Bald Eagle spotting adventure difficult to arrange. But the trickiest part was that even if I was able to get there swiftly, I didn’t know where exactly the nests of Bald Eagles were. In order to truly have a nice spotting of Bald Eagle adventure happening, I’d need to dedicate whole unrushed day to the exploration of the forest on the west bank of Big Lake. If I only had a couple of hours, I’d be under pressure, rushing it through the forest to quickly find a nesting place of Bald Eagles which would likely prove contra productive and bring no results.

But that was not it. Sunday was also my last day to ride my bike to Dave’s. I needed to keep my bike with me until the last minute because it was my sole means of transportation. Besides, I would never fit it in the Toyota Corolla I had rented so riding it all the way to Dave’s was the only option. That meant I had to be at home in the afternoon not to keep Dave up waiting for me needlessly. He was doing me hell of a favour already. As tempting as the idea of riding a bicycle to the Big Lake to photograph Bald Eagles seemed, it was just not realistically doable.

Instead, I did last minute shopping, made last minute arrangements with Matthew – apartment’s on site manager to come do an inspection in the evening and left to take my bike to Dave’s as it was an hour long ride across Edmonton. I needed to do some packing as well and find the best way to get to the airport the following so I don’t have to take expensive cabs (Edmonton International Airport is an hour drive away from Inglewoods in NW Edmonton where I lived – it would be a mighty charge if I were to take this route).