Canada: Going Back Home

OK, OK, you're probably sick of hearing about my trip to Canada by now, but I promise, this will be my last Canada post for a while.
The last bit of my trip was both depressing and exciting: Depressing because the freedom of my solo flight was coming to an end, and exciting because I was getting closer to meeting up with and being able to share my experiences with my best friend. I was at Peyto Lake hiking up above the tree line to catch the first bit of light on the mountains when it hit me, I was on the tail end of my trip and it was actually going to end. During the past few days I had lost track of time, living in a sort of virtual reality. My life consisted of sunrise, hike, nap, hike, sunset, edit, sleep, and it seemed I would be doing it forever.
Peyto Lake, Icefields Parkway, Canada
Remnants of Athabasca Glacier, Icefields Parkway, Canada

I made my way through the Icefields and into Jasper stopping at places like Athabasca Glacier and Athabasca Falls. The once amazing Athabasca Glacier is quickly receding and will be all but gone in the next few decades. All along the trail there are signs marking where the "toe" of the glacier sat in past years. It was startling to realize how far it has receded in just my lifetime.

Mountain Peaks Near the Athabasca Glacier, Icefields Parkway, Canada
Photographing the Athabasca Glacier, Icefields Parkway, Canada

 

Inuksuk Overlooking the Athabasca Glacier, Icefields Parkway, Canada
The Athabasca Glacier in 2000, Icefields Parkway, Canada
Elk in the Athabasca River, Jasper National Park, Canada

 

I sat at my campground picnic table, showered, sipping natural evergreen mint tea, listening to wild elk calls, and I couldn't help but think how lucky and blessed I was to be able to have such an awesome opportunity to come to the Canadian wilderness and experience such beauty. I thought back on my first day and how I was a bit unsettled as if I had just been dropped off in the middle of nowhere and had to find my way out...OK, maybe I was. My confidence grew as I orientated myself and became more and more focused on my photography. By the end of the trip I felt like I knew the ins and outs of the area: Where to sleep without being disturbed, what to keep an eye out for while hiking, and how the light would fall in certain locations.
Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park, Canada

 

Athabasca Falls Detail, Jasper National Park, Canada

 

The Highest Peak in the Canadian Rockies, Mt. Robson, British Columbia, Canada

After meeting up, my friend and I made our way back down past the border and into Glacier National Park. If we had known it was going to be so smoky we may have stayed longer in the Canadian parks. The pine beetle and fire laden trees just added to the apocalyptic scene. It took a bit of venturing off to find the beauty, but it was still there to be found. Glacier will definitely be on the list of places to come back, hopefully in better conditions, and fully enjoy the park's beauty.

Running Eagle Falls, Glacier National Park

 

Hidden Lake Nature Trail Sunrise, Glacier National Park

 

Hidden Lake Nature Trail Sunrise 2, Glacier National Park
McDonald Falls Detail, Glacier National Park

I couldn't have hoped for a better first time in Canada. It was a fantastic opportunity and I hope to have several more just like it. I've got a feeling I will be back in Canada sooner rather than later...

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