Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 9 - Afternoon - Jasper Mt Edith Cavell

Mount Edith Cavell.

We met our guide Dieter in the lobby with me dressed like a Michelin man with 2 pairs of tights, pair of jeans, camisole, thermal, long sleeve fitted shirt, 2 fleece jumpers, my pink insulated vest, my bro in law jacket, gloves, beanie.  I was walking like a Michelin man.  It was so cold..  It was almost ready to snow according to Frank and Dieter.  We headed out of Jasper and up to the mountain it was very windy going up. Dieter filled us in on the local history as he drove us up the mountain and also the amazing landscape that we were starting to see.  The snow covered trees and glimpses through the snow covered trees to the snow-capped mountains it was truly amazing.  
Mt Edith Cavell Lake
We stopped a little short of our final destination just near the youth hostel to see the lake which is fed from the glacier.  Yes there is a youth hostel up there.  In the middle of nowhere 40 mins from town.  We got out and it was so rocky in the landscape and sooo cold.  Dieter made sure all of us had gloves on because he estimated that we would see snow fall on us while we were walking and it dipping towards -1 and below. 
The snow capped Trees 
I did okay for the first little bit even with Dieter playing tricks onto Frank in trying to flick back trees and get him with snow. That was funny. We got filled in on Edith Cavell and her sacrifice for the war effort which we had heard the day before on the river. As we walked up the hill it was getting tough going and ending up falling to the back of the pack because I was really struggling for breath as we climbed the hill.  It was one time I really should have my asthma puffers on me but completely forgot about me and altitude in the excitement and preparation of going. 
Our first view
It was beautiful and was able to take a moment to enjoy it. The beautiful snow on the rocks and the rivers that were flowing from the glacier and the mountains. Nerina and I took the time and walked up to the top of the hill with the reminder from Dieter that it was going to be worth the walk and we would see why in a couple of minutes. 
Getting closer
Sure enough … it was simply breath taking and amazing. To see the size of the ice glacier chunks even with the clouds hanging low was truly amazing.  I was kind of glad that Nerina and Fran were there and had the same reaction as me of WOW that I wasn’t the only one affected by the site.  
The Glacier
I got some photos on the way down as I tried not to slip walking over the rocks. Yes Carmel I can hear you giggling at me now on that one. 

video
It was however taking a while to get my breath back because of the altitude but it was amazing and getting to touch an ice chunk.  The blue in the ice was so cool and I took some photos and video of the experience. It was simply amazing.  

The other side of the Glacier
I couldn’t get enough of it and just wanted more and more.  But we only had about 15mins before we had to head back.  I wanted to go to the ice caves but we were told no because of the possible danger to the falling ice in the caves.  It started to snow as we were getting ready to head back.  Me and snow on rocks it is never a good combination – and no Carmel I didn’t fall on my arse.  I just took it slow and took a while to catch up to the others. 
Snow!!!!
As we walked back the snow was starting to come down heavy and I mean heavy.  It was really cool but then I made the silly mistake of looking to the sky.  I got snow in my contacts… won’t do that again.  It was so cool.  The silence in the air, the soft sound, and the peacefulness that snow had created around us was truly memorable.  I loved it and was so excited to feel the snow falling on me.  When it fell on your skin it felt just like raindrop but it stuck to your skin differently.  I just wanted to stay there and enjoy it but it was getting colder and colder.  And dieter wanted us out of the weather before it turned feral.  The creeks and the leaves covered in snow was sooo cool. Tania and I took photos of each other enjoying the snow falling … It really was a unique experience for us both even though she was from New Zealand. 
Snow capped trees.. Couldn't quite capture the icicle because of the wind
By the time we got back to the bus we had been away for almost 2 hours I couldn’t believe it because it really had not felt like it.  We all got back on the bus and headed back into town and seeing the snow fall around us was amazing. Truly amazing…  
Looks like a Eucalypt Tree covered in Snow
Brian brought up on the bus that we were celebrating my 10 year younger day. According to the legend that I was supposed to be 10 years younger today because I drank the glacier water at Columbia Icefields.  Brian or Jeff I can’t remember who made the comment it must feel great to be 16 again.  I went WTF?  They all thought I was in my twenties – thanks boys you won a friend for life with that thought pattern.  Then I revealed how old I really was and their faces were pretty priceless and funny.  I always find that weird how young people really think I am are. Although that is a testament to my inner child. 
Michelin Woman with 7 layers and snow falling around me
We arrived back into town to it freezing cold and getting really windy.  It would be so cool if it snowed in town that night.  Spoke to mum and dad and then Tania and I headed across to the posh restaurant at the hotel next door and enjoyed a nice dinner together.  It was sooo yummy and the waiter was very yummy as well. Since Tania wanted to go bed I went to the lobby and did some insurance company emailing and then downloaded the pictures from today and they turned out well.  I got to show a few of them from our group since they were all coming back from embers.  Got to wish the happy couple Robin and Christine… Happy 40th Wedding anniversary and Pete took them off to get them drunk haha.  I think most of the group stayed close to the hotel due to how cold it was that night.  This was a truly amazing day and wish I could live it all over again and by far my best experience on both trips.  I can’t recommend the Edith Cavell walk enough to everyone. Because I had done my research before I left I knew which optionals I wanted to do and a lot of the other tour members hadn’t realised it was a glacier walk because it was listed in the book as a glacier nature walk.  But it pays to be a geek sometimes.  J

Headed off to bed to some small flurries coming down …  fingers crossed for a dump over night so we could awake to a winter wonderland.  

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