Winter is Coming

We headed out for our last RV trip of the year in mid-September, bound for the Canadian Rocky Mountains – specifically, Jasper National Park in Alberta Province. Jasper National Park was founded in 1907 and named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, together with the other Canadian national parks of the Rockies: Banff; Yoho; and, Kootenay.

The town of Jasper is almost exactly 500 miles from our home in Bellingham, Washington, potentially a one-day drive, but we decided to break the trip in two, driving Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway, to Hope, British Columbia, then taking the Yellowhead Highway from there, stopping overnight in Clearwater before finishing the drive the next day (the Yellowhead Highway is an inter-province highway; in British Columbia it’s BC Highway 5 and in Alberta, National Highway 16).

Our first order of business after getting settled in at Whistler’s Campground was to visit the Park Service Visitor Center in Jasper to get information on the trails. Lucky thing, too: one of the trails that Dale had identified for us to hike was the Path of the Glacier Trail at Mt. Edith Cavell which, unbeknownst to us, was closing the very next day. We were able to get a permit for the trail from the Park Service the next morning, Monday, and we then drove south and up into the mountains to the trailhead, elevation 5,650 feet. The trail starts at the end moraine of Cavell Glacier and non-hikers can walk a level, slightly ascending path up the moraine to Cavell Lake with a view of Angel Glacier above it:

Little more than a hundred years ago, the whole area in the photo, above, was covered by the Covell Glacier, but as it retreated, it created Covell Lake and stranded part of its mass hanging above, which is now Angel Glacier (top right). The hiking trail leaves the lake, scrambles over the moraine rockfield (you can see part of it in the photo, above, bottom left) and ascends with fantastic views of Mt. Edith Cavell and Angel Glacier (see the angel spreading her wings in the photo, below?):

There were very few hikers on the trail, most people contenting themselves with the easy walk to the lake and back to the parking area. We took the hiking trail up, leaving the moraine and tennis-shoe-clad tourists behind, crossing meadows and forest on our way up…

…and as we walked, it started to snow.

And snow some more.

And snow even more!

It was a regular winter wonderland.

We even built a snowman at the top!

Since the snow wasn’t letting up, we turned around at 7,00 feet. On the way back down, we heard a loud cracking sound across the lake and saw an avalanche in progress falling down Mt. Edith Covell; it’s there in the center of this photo:

Not a very long hike, 4.3 miles with an elevation gain of 1,350 feet, but a good one for our first outing in the Canadian Rockies.

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