John & Anne Wiley

2012/09/18

Turning Home

Even though our flight from Hinton to Valemount was toward the south, it didn’t feel like we’d really turned toward home until the next day when we flew to Creston. That’s because Edmonton to Valemount was roughly following the main route toward the west coast of Canada. Now, after back-tracking a few miles to Jasper, we were roughly following the main route from there to the U.S. border a couple of miles past Creston in the South. On this day we’d retrace much of the route we took from Spokane to Jasper eight days earlier. A few minutes after takeoff we saw Mt. Robson peek around a corner on our way to Jasper.

2476 Peeking Peak

2476 Peeking Peak

As you can see, his wig-topped head was in the clouds so we were glad to have climbed up for our closer look when it was uncharacteristically clear. Heading back along our route from Edmonton felt like more detour and sightseeing. But in a few minutes we would enter the valley of wonders that enchant the route from Jasper on our first real miles toward home.

2491 Cloud Hat

2491 Cloud Hat

Our old pal Robson looked almost as if he were doffing a hat made of fluffy cloud, to bid us farewell as we passed by yet again. He looked all the more grand from here, seen in a glance at his full height. Still, it was much more fun and awe-inspiring to buzz around his head as we’d done. 🙂

2530 Dead & Dying

2530 Dead & Dying

Somehow we were even more struck on this day than when we flew the valley before, by an ominous feeling of Death. Vast swaths of forest were either dead or dying from beetle infestations brought on by global warming. It no longer gets cold enough here to kill the beetles in winter, so they thrive on the helpless trees that had adapted to live in a colder climate. On the bare peaks above them, the glaciers had already died leaving behind only bare stones rising as markers to the dead trees at their feet. We talked about it some in somber tones, and often we just surveyed this enormous graveyard in silence.

2546 Ribbon of Life

2546 Ribbon of Life

Even amid the destruction there is breathtaking beauty of course, and some sights like this roaring cascade that bring life to the eye and to their surroundings. So many places like this we watched sliding beneath Tripp’s stout wings, far from the highway and clearly unseen by many people other than passing aviators.

2553 Rushing Torrent

2553 Rushing Torrent

This water rushing down the mountain promises life for the valleys below, and refreshed our energy. So many more scenic places would nurture our souls on this passage. I’ll share more in the next post…

 

 

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