For those who have been following my blog, you know how I relentlessly research and plan for every aspect of a trip – before during and after. After many many years of travel, this is still my modus operandi; however I have learned that all these preparations go only so far – real life has its own trajectory and one can’t possibly pin it down. For those unknown “events” that happen I have my WTDGAP (When Things Don’t Go As Planned) stories – you’ll see one at the end of the Canadian Rockies posts.
However, to my joy one worry I had turned out to be completely meritless. As you will recall, I have been pouring over weather reports and wind contour maps due to concerns about the countless wildfires that have ravaged Canada, thinking that the beauty I had heard and read so much about would be effected. Turns out I did not need to worry. Yes, there was haze and smoke at times but they actually added to the ethereal quality of the landscapes – I hope some of my photos will show you how – like these:
When the skies cleared, the vistas were spectacular – like the photo at the top of thus post – or this one – the iconic image of Lake Louise at dawn:
Before my stories begin , let me provide a little background: The Canadian Rockies are a part of the 3000 mile mountain range that stretches in a straight line from the US Mountain States of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico . The Canadian Rockies cover the Provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.
The Rockies formed 80 million to 55 million years ago when a number of plates began sliding underneath the North American Plate. Over the years, further tectonic activity and erosion by glaciers have sculpted the Rockies into stunning peaks and valleys. Glacier silt or “flour” enhanced the lakes created by glacier melt, creating bodies of water in vivid hues of turquoise and emerald.
What is glacial flour? Also known as glacial silt, glacial flour is the sediment from finely ground rock and gravel particles produced during glacial erosion. The composition is made of up clay and silt (difference in two depends on total diameter),
Or, when there is a great deal of clay, a milky water is produced:
Due to wide variances in environmental factors there is no single ecosystem in the Canadian Rocky Mountain Range – which explains the vast differences in weather predictions I tried to nail down prior to and during this trip. Clothing layers proved most useful.
Our journey will take us through a number of National Parks within the Alberta Province. which has a rich history that dates back thousands of years, with Indigenous (now called First Nations) people being the first to call the area home., arriving around 8,000 B.C.
European exploration began in the late 1700s and the fur trade was the primary economic activity until the late 1800s.. On September 1, 1905, Alberta became a province of Canada and today it is known for its thriving oil and gas industry, which has contributed to the province’s economic growth.
I mention this that despite fossil fuels being so important, no less critical is the health of the province’s incredible natural resources of vast forests, fertile prairies, glacial lakes, waterfalls and glorious mountains is fiercely protected.
Here is where our journey lies:
Next week I will start the story of our journey in detail – and wait until you see the beauties we met along the way, like this little fellow: