“Every Winter the glacier grows about 25 meters. By the end of Summer it’s retreated 35 meters. In a few decades there’ll be nothing left but a lake.” So said our tour guide.
Such a loss seems incomprehensible to me. I’m standing on ice that is 50 meters thick. Ice that fell as snow on these mountains before humans ever walked upon this continent. Ice that in some parts of the glacier is 300 meters thick.
… I’m getting ahead of our adventures though. This is how it began.
As Widdercat reached official ‘ancient-hood’, she needed daily care, (or at least ¾ of the way around the clock care – in spite of all the pictures I’ve posted of her just sleeping) needed her routines intact, needed, us here. Which we unreservedly choose to do. After she died we needed to get away for a while, have a real holiday, the kind where one spends several nights, away from home, doing touristy things.
We decided we’d camp (not that sort of camp. The sort that has tents and air mattresses and firewood) our way east until we hit the Columbia Valley, then veer north-east until we bumped into Banff. Stopping at any and all hot springs we could find, because the very afternoon we left our island here, I had an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon to see how much longer I can keep these battered old knees of mine going. (With a very long needle he withdrew 40cc of synovial fluid from my left knee – there’s only supposed to be 2cc’s in there at any given time – and with another equally long needle, inserted copious quantities of cortisone into it)
Then we hit the road!
First campsite – first morning. We woke before dawn and watched the sun crawl down the rocks.
Our first hot spring. The real thing. Rock pools made with rocks, that got progressively cooler as they reached the river. Lussier Hot Springs in Whiteswan Provincial park.
It got too cold for our ‘3 seasons’ camping gear, and my knees weren’t taking it well, so we repacked the car with all the camping gear at the bottom, booked ahead for a motel, and (via some more hot springs at Radium) carried on to Banff and Mrs Widds gondola trip to the top of a mountain!
See that spaceship looking thing in the distance? That’s a kilometer and a total of 1000 stairs, (up and down, both ways) away. I trashed my knees walking it, but the view and the air at 2500 meters above sea level was exhilarating
Thank goodness there was another hot spring back at the base of the mountain!