The Road to Mt. Edith Cavell

July 28 , 2008

We headed out early from our B&B for breakfast south of Jasper. Just crossing the railroad, we saw a caribou cross the road and go into the woods. A short distance further along, we saw this coyote loping beside the road. We had already observed that it was the full molting season, and this coyote had tufts of hair all over him.

The coyote was not alarmed by the presence of our car, but kept moving along the roadside and then off on a side road. We followed, along with another car. They were a couple from Victoria who, like us, had not seen a coyote in this area and also wanted a picture.

Finally, the coyote had enough of this game and crossed in front of us and disappeared into the woods. We enjoyed watching him, but I imagined that the coyote was just a bit annoyed that we had interrupted his search for breakfast.

We had a nice breakfast at the Jasper House. We have been making a practice of eating breakfast out, and this place had a buffet breakfast starting at 7am. We mostly had breakfast with folks who where getting on one of the big tour buses right after breakfast and heading out after spending the night there.

We make it a habit to try to find outstanding breakfast locations! In the above image, shot from Whistlers Mountain two days ago, you can find the location of the Jasper House. Take the road out from Jasper near the bottom of the image and follow it until it draws alongside the Athabasca River. Then just before you get to the right edge of the image, you can see a tiny collection of buildings - that's where we ate breakfast this morning and the next!

After breakfast we headed up Hwy 93A and then onto the narrower paved road toward Mt. Edith Cavell. It climbed with switchbacks and was rough, but gave some nice views of mountains and fast mountain streams tumbling over big rocks.

This was my favorite of the mountain streams we encountered. This is my ideal of a rushing mountain stream, tumbling over rocks and foaming with the turbulence. You can see hints of its glacial origin in the pastel blue that comes from suspended "rock flour" from the glacier action.

I had been looking for a good example of the wild primrose that is Alberta's official flower. I don't think I'm going to find a finer example than this bloom found alongside the Mt. Edith Cavell road. It was still early in the morning and it had dew and the remains of overnight showers.

A common roadside sight was a large expanse of the white puffy plants interspersed with the bright Indian paintbrush plants.

As we climbed higher into the mountains on the switchbacks, we began to get views of rushing streams down in the valleys and glaciers above.

We stopped at the overlooks and met interesting folks there. We talked to another physicist from New Zealand who had come to Edmonton for a different meeting, and a Korean family from Missouri who were touring the area. We were begining to get views of ice and snow high on the mountains. We were almost by ourselves on the road at first, but as we made photo stops, there was a growing stream of cars and excursion vans coming by, so that was confirmation of what we had read about this being one of the favorite destinations around Jasper.

The beauty of the settings from the overlooks was breathtaking. The lush trees close by and in the distant forests gave a mural-like setting for the distant mountains.

We were beginning to get views of hanging glaciers up high on the mountains and into the clouds.

The glaciers are rugged cliffs of ice clinging to the rock of the mountainsides.

The ice shows lots of structure in the form of cracks and fissures, and you can begin to see the characteristic blue color from the scattering of the light in the ice.

To Mt. Edith Cavell

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