glacier highway


A Look Across the Partially Melting Waters of Bow Lake to Mountains and a Glacier (Banff National Park) by Mark Stevens
Via Flickr:
A look to the southwest while walking around the Simpson’s Num-Ti-Jah Lodge area. The mountainsides and peaks on either side from left to right are Mount Thompson and Mount Jimmy Simpson. Bow Glacier and the Wapta Icefield are towards the image center. By keeping the exposure more to the right, I was able to capture some of the details in the overcast skies above and bring out some richer colors to the setting on an otherwise blah kind of a day.

Things You Only Learn in Alberta

Met a driver from Jasper to Lake Louise, a father of eight named Kendell. He was a dental equipment rep, an exact combination of my parents’ jobs. His grandfather, a last generation of pioneer and a bounty of wood survival skills, used to log in Waterton Lakes National Park. After he’s survived being stalked by cougars & grizzlies, you listen to grandpa.

Listen: cougars attack from behind so you sew what look like eyes to the back of your toque or wear your sunglasses on the back of your head. They’ll flinch if they think you can see them.

Black bears can be intimidated by standing tall and yelling at them, but grizzlies know they are the baddest mothers in the forests and may eat you if they are hungry. This isn’t often, it’s usually a human accidently threatening the beast that leads to carnage. The trick is to stay calm, apologize in a soothing voice and slowly back away. If the thing charges you, just shit your pants and don’t move. Who’s going to eat that?

You can flee from a bear by running downhill but on a flat they can reach 40 km/h at a full run. Black bears climb trees, grizzlies push them over. Imagine being a Cub Scout leader in a tree with five kids clenching the branches and praying to the Great Manitou that the furry tractor assaulting the trunk will lose interest. The grizzly’s name in latin: ursus horribilis. Ha!

I went hiking with Lee and his dogs Dakota & Bow near Johnston Canyon. We trekked through the scar of a forest fire and he pointed out the state of the ravaged trees left standing. The trunks are clad in burnt bark. On bare parts of the wood you can see the tree spiraled itself to death as it sensed approaching fire. Plants suck up all the moisture from the ground with the approach of intense heat, sometimes so fast they turn visibly. If you see the trees start to spin, run. Either it’s haunted by the shape of the spiral or there is a wildfire coming. Luckily the latter are easier to see coming than by the trees’ reaction.

Why wouldn’t you want to live in the Alberta Rockies? Anything else is air-conditioned and the fauna eat garbage. Boooooring.