Canada 38, 8th September 2006

There's about 200 Km of this stuff. It just goes on and on. Mountains to the left of you, mountains to the right of you.

A few photos cannot do it justice.

Ah. But on the way there's an icefield, a glacier. That's the tongue of a glacier, above.

I took a walk over a glacier. This is a photo of the top of the glacier, in the summer. There's a stream of melt water running through the centre of this photo. You can just make it out. There is about 300 metres (1000 ft) depth of ice under here.

Of course, you do not just amble up the glacier. There are crevices around. As the glacier slowly moves downhill - at around a metre per week - it can pass over humps in the valley bottom. This causes the glacier to crack, as it bends over the hump, and these cracks, or crevices, can be hidden, under a weak bridge over the top.

Since 2000 three people have fallen into these cracks. All three died, they could not be rescued before the cold got them.

So I took the tourist route to the glacier.

You can also walk up to the melting front of the glacier. The people in the distance have been on a guided walking tour. The winding bit towards the right is a stream of melt water.

Just another photo.

These are Rocky Mountain sheep. They were just by the road. One guy I spoke to reckoned it was part of their contract with the Park services, to sit by the road.

There were waterfalls.

 

(Yes Tom, it's the same one, different view)

And more big horn sheep, keeping up with their contract.

Seems it not just sheep. Here's an elk near the road. Me, I was safe in my van. I don't fancy taking on those antlers. In case you are interested, these antlers are shed each year, and then grow again.

I had passed through Jasper, pausing only to pick up emails - first time for 2 days - and to take a quick visit to the visitor information centre, followed by a drive around the town.

I stopped by at a park campsite, $14, and while using some blocks to level the van got a big splinter stuck in my finger. I've got a needle so could clear it but the pliers from my toolbox were not really good enough to catch it. Fortunately some neighbours to my campsite had tweezers so I was able to make the extraction..

I headed in the direction of Edmonton. I wandered around a short trail round an abandoned coal mine then in Hinton managed to find the Forestry Museum. I know there's not many people manage that to start with, it's well hidden, then you have to get the key from the training centre office. The last entry in the guest book was four days ago...........

I saw I sign off the highway to a campsite so went to look. It was a nice place, next to a lake, and only $5. It was early, but I stayed.

I read the informations about the site. Campfire wood was free. Wow! I've noticed that campfires are an apparently essential part of north American camping, there are people selling campfire wood everywhere, campsites all have fireplaces. I've never bothered to light a fire, I've got my gas cooker. I did inherit a fire once, from some friendly people when I climbed high over McBride, the place with the panorama photo. The steak I cooked then over that fire was really good.

So since the wood was free, included, whatever, I lit a fire, and cooked lamb chops, potatoes in foil, and onion in foil. Ah! Delicious.

Best regards

David Barker
On the road in Canada

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