Spring has already come and gone, and as summer arrived here in the Northern Hemisphere, we started our camping season a couple of weeks ago with a nice trip to Mt. Robson Provincial Park in British Columbia. We planned to see a few new places, and as I had acquired some new pieces of gear over the winter, I was excited to go back to the mountains and photograph again.
We met up with Diego and Juliana in Jasper, and from there, drove the remaining 90 Km to Mt. Robson together. This 450 Km trip is not bad, as we are used to driving to Jasper, even during the winter. Once in BC, the road changes almost immediately, and it feels as smooth as if we were driving on a carpet.
Just after we got into Jasper National Park, we saw a large group of Big Horn Sheep that was very interested in checking the cars on the road. This little calf was very curious, but her mother was very protective. The speed limit in the Park is normally 90 Km/h but in the areas where these animals are commonly found, it is reduced to 70 Km/h.
A little later, as we approached the town of Jasper, I noticed this train coming down the railroad and saw an opportunity. I had to be quick if I wanted to capture it. As I managed to get a good angle and snag this shot, the conductor noticed how happy I was and even waved at me after. All of a sudden I had this feeling the trip was going to be very productive. (Note the distance I kept from the railway as I photographed the train – more on that later.)
You’ll want to click this thumbnail to see the full size image. ;)
After joining with the rest of the group, we decided to keep going, and set up camp before it got too dark. On Saturday, we hiked the first 9 Km of the Berg Lake Trail, but sadly our plans did not include an overnight sleep there. After enjoying Kinney Lake and nearby views, we decided to go back. We figured that 18 Km to start the season was good enough and the intermittent rain was starting to get a little annoying.
On Sunday, we start the drive back home, but not before a few stops: the first of which being the Overlander Falls.
Our second stop included the short Dorothy Lake Trail. The trailhead is just 11 Km west of the town of Jasper and there’s a rail crossing near the start:
Just a short distance away, I clicked our companions on a footbridge as they crossed the Miette River:
The hike to Dorothy Lake is a comfortable one, although not without a few ups and downs. Plenty of little flowers made it very enjoyable, specially the ubiquitous Alberta Rose:
The arrival at Dorothy Lake presented quite a beautiful view, however the mosquitoes did not let us stay for long. On the way back, when we passed by Vril Lake I noticed the clouds had moved and snapped a beautiful view of the Indian Ridge and Muhigan Mountain. The reflection on the lake was simply magical.
As we finished the trail, there was a train passing and I got my second locomotive of the weekend, this time MUCH closer.
Note: I know as much as the next guy that railways are very attractive to photographers. I also know that frequently, in Canada and in the US, photographers are sued for trespassing and for putting their clients, their friends and themselves at risk on railways. In 2012, in Canada alone, 78 people died in accidents at railway crossings and trespassing. So here is my advice: be VERY careful, because judging the speed of an incoming train can be quite hard sometimes. Trains sometimes extend laterally up to a meter beyond the rails. And NEVER walk on a train bridge, unless you are ready to jump in the water (or dirt) below.
As we resumed our drive back home, there was still time for more surprises: I saw my first Grizzly Bear. It was a little far from the road, but still photographable. It wore a radio collar, which resembled a tie or leash. Yet, this majestic animal, did not appear to be anyone’s pet. You better stay away from it.
Finally, we saw an elk on the side of the road and after I came back home I thought I would have some fun playing with Photoshop. I don’t usually make composites, so it’s quite tricky for me to get the perfect blend. The two pictures that form this image were taken seven months apart.
The elk was our last animal but not the last image: on the road to Edmonton we noticed a wonderful sunset behind us, and had to pull over to photograph it.
It had indeed been a very productive trip.