Monday, 27 July 2015

I'm back

Athabasca Glacier, Columbia Icefield
I think that next year, if I feel the urge to take a vacation, it will be to one of those places
where the closest thing to a life and death decision is whether to go down to the restaurant or phone for room service. I am finding some irony in the fact that British Columbia's wildfires were a concern in getting to the Upper Fraser but not so much for where we were going as it is a rather damp area with low fire risk, yet it was the part of the journey with the highest fire risk that resulted in having to turn back. There was no fire but hours of rain over a 150k stretch of highway and with low nighttime temperatures. This was just what the province needed, but it was not so good for campers. First no campfires were permitted, now the problem would be to get one started at all.

What really did it, though, was that the storage box Monte built onto the top of his 4WD, was not waterproof. I did not know about that until the rain started. With a wet sleeping bag and clothes, I had no choice but to call off the trip and turn back. Only fools allow enthusiasm to get in the way of safety issues.

A pleasant surprise was that coydog Tristan traveled very well. He seemed not to trust people as much as he did at home and would not let anyone get too close. He knew he was in unfamiliar country that must have had different smells, and he was taking no chances. He would be the perfect companion for a long distance trucker.

Just before the rain started, I took the above photograph at North America's most famous Glacier, the Athabasca Glacier. The glaciers are definitely shrinking. There was another good view down the road, but it was blocked with screens so you could not see it unless you paid for the bus tour that took you behind the screens.


  1. Welcome back John! I was at the Athabasca Glacier in 2006, went on one of the bus tours onto the glacier. It looks to have made a significant retreat in the 8 years since.Although the climate may be changing, I'm not convinced on THE cause, if indeed there is a single cause. After all we've had several ice ages where the ice has advanced and retreated without human intervention. It's about time we took the attitude of "we live sensibly and cope with the situation" (as do animals and plants) life will still go on, but may change. We have no requirement that while on this earth we must maintain the status quo.
    Best wishes

  2. Thanks Trefor. I can remember that on the old road through the Kananaskis about 45 years ago you could see quite a number of small glaciers along the Great Divide that I think are no longer there. The old view was at a much higher elevation than the new road so I'm not sure. Alberta seems to be getting wetter, but it might be less snow, more rain. A tornado touched down in Priddis, SW of Calgary, the other day. I was coming home with groceries when that storm was going by just to the west. People used to say Calgary was too close to the mountains to get tornadoes. So much for that idea!

  3. Welcome back John, presumably you are well refreshed? Now, if you really want a larf, go take a look at the Commissar's's superb! He's at his best!


    John Howland

    1. Thanks, John, "refreshed" might be an overstatement, though.



  4. Hi John, sorry the trip did not turn out as planned. Envy you living where you do. Beautiful country.

    1. Thanks Dick, Bad weather and equipment failure comes with the territory. The country on the way there consists of places where they like tourist money; places where they are not so keen on newcomers, and places where there are virtually no people anyway.