. . . and what a beautiful weekend it was!
Tim and I took off to Miette for our anniversary. This trip has become something of a tradition with us. This is year 3. The weather was gorgeous and the hot springs just the thing we needed to soak our cares away.
We got in around 7:30 Friday night and immediately headed up to the hot springs. We sat and relaxed til they kicked everyone out at 9. Then we went back and I made us a late snack. We sat outside enjoying the cool mountain air and had a glass of wine (me) and a beer (him). Lovely.
Saturday we slept in a bit then had a hearty breakfast I cooked in a hurry. Then, we packed up a light lunch and headed off to Mount Edith Cavell and the Angel Wings Glacier. We took a short trip down to Lake Edith where I took a few pictures of the lake and some fungi. A very beautiful spot. Have driven by there numerous times, am glad we took the time to explore it.
Up at the parking lot I was surprised to see a crowded lot. Apparently many others had the same idea we did to enjoy what could be the last nice weekend in the mountains. We donned our hiking boots, I slung my camera over my neck and Tim packed along his book, some writing paper and a bottle of water. I told him he wouldn’t have an opportunity to read or make notes, but he insisted. (Didn’t turn a page or scribble one single note — hah!)
We decided to just to the glacier loop trail, rather than try going up to the meadows. Good thing. The way we dawdled along we’d have been up there in the dark. We had a great time scrabbling over rock and getting close to the glacier pond’s edge. Very beautiful, but very cold. Then we decided to head up to the ice cave, which is hollowed out at the toe of what used to be the tail end of the angel’s body. Over time the glacier has separated so that now the wings hover far above the ‘body’ or toe.
It’s quite spectacular to get up close to the cave and I had wanted to get some interior shots, but when we heard cracking and rocks falling inside we thought we’d better get the hell out of there. Others actually went inside, but I think that’s tempting fate just a little too much. Adventurous I am, fool-hardy I am not.
We spent a lovely afternoon there at the glacier, taking pictures, talking, just hanging out together. We don’t often get to do that. Yes, we spend lots of time together, but never just relaxing time. Later, when we meandered back down to the parking lot, we drove a short distance to where there were some picnic tables in a stream bed. It was very chilly, but a lovely spot. We opened our cooler and had a hearty meal of ham sausage, cheese bread and raw veggies. All washed down with a nice cold beer. I could have sat there until the sun went down, but we had plans to go soak our weary feet in the hot springs again.
This morning, we were up at 5:30 because I wanted to see if I could get some mountain sunrise shots. This is when I discovered I’d forgotten my tripod. Doh! Decided to go anyway. So off we set in the pitch dark to find the spot I’d pegged as being a good bet for some morning pictures. We got there about 6 a.m. only to find a camper parked on the side. Well, tough, I said. It’s a free country and they shouldn’t be there, anyway.
We marvelled at the beauty of the sky and the unbelievable multitude of stars overhead. With all the light pollution in and around Edmonton, we never get to see the kind of sky we saw this morning. Gradually, very gradually the horizon began to lighten. I was beginning to despair that, in the mountains, sunrise would not be the glorious spectacle that it is on the prairie, and to some degree, I was right. But, when the sky began to turn pink and the opposing mountains to glow warm in the emerging sun’s fiery light, I smiled deeply and was glad I was there to see it.
It’s an embarrassing admission on my part to say that in all the years I’ve been going to the mountains I have never once been up early enough to see the sun rise. Isn’t that sad? But, then, I think, at least I’ve made the effort now. And, now that I’ve seen how glorious it is, I will be sure to do it again.
By the time I got my few shots of Ashlar Ridge (most of them blurry) Tim and I were thoroughly chilled. He had wrapped himself in a blanket and was standing behind me trying to keep me as warm as he could. I had thin gloves on to keep my fingers from freezing, but, by the time I had decided it wasn’t going to get any better I was shivering through and through. We hopped in the car and cranked up the heat. We had been up and out for two hours. Tim turned the car back towards the resort. As we drove along I noticed through the trees that the sky had turned to fire. I pointed out a small pull out on the east side of the road and Tim obliged.
This is where I took the really distinct shots of the sunrise. Again, cursing myself for forgetting the tripod, I stood and shot until my knees were knocking. Then, back to the car, back to the resort, back to our room and a warm bed. We had to throw on extra blankets and we huddled together as though we’d never be warm again, but eventually, we fell back asleep.
Awake again at 9:30 we packed up our belongings, loaded the car and then went for breakfast in the small restaurant attached to the resort. This resort was built in 1938, and you can tell that not much has changed since it was first established. It is not ‘fancy’, definitely not 5 star, but it is extremely popular. Many of the guests who come at the time of year Tim and I have chosen to come have been coming to the Miette Resort for over 20 years. Some, I believe, much longer than that.
It is a homey, friendly, clean and well-kept little place. The hot springs are a mere 3-minute walk from the door of your room, and, best of all, it’s quiet. There are no stores, no streets, no traffic — nothing but fresh air and trees and sky and mountains. We’ve already planned our trip for next year. Only next year, if the weather is good, we’re going up on the motorcycle. That will be truly wonderful.
The trip home was a quiet ride. It’s always tough to leave a fantasy and go back to the reality of home and work. But we enjoyed the beautiful scenery, the golds of the poplars and aspens, the near-black of the pines interspersed throughout. The highway was busy — everyone heading home after what was probably their last camping trip or their weekend in the Rockies.
There is one particular mountain that I love to look at as we leave the park. I don’t know the name of it, but it is an amazing formation. And I always marvel that at one time what I am looking up at in wonder and awe was the bottom of an ocean floor. In a way that I can’t explain that knowledge always puts life in to perspective for me. What we have in this life is truly beautiful, truly blessed. And I am grateful.