I know I am very fortunate, and there a times like now, and days like today, and moments like the one I experienced this morning, when a sense of the extraordinary is so overwhelming that I do not know whether to laugh or cry out aloud in happiness when I am out there all my myself.
I woke up a little earlier than the others this morning and went for a walk. There was nobody around. The feeling was very different from that of the previous afternoon when there were crowds all over the place. You could even hear the water flowing in the distance from the glacier. After dropping by the pond in front of the hotel, I discovered the Forefield Trail and ventured off towards the Athabasca glacier before the others were up. The sun was rising behind me, the early birds were all atwitter, and off in the distance was the massive glacier and the mountain peaks. It was glorious!The following pictures are from the Forefield trail.I joined the others for breakfast after the walk. Then it was time to get ready to depart. I saw Ben outside our hotel window getting the bikes ready for the day’s ride.Today we crossed over from Jasper National Park to Banff National Park as we went over the Sunwapta pass. This is the second highest pass that we will cross during the ride, and it is at about 2035 feet.We stopped for hike at Parker Ridge. We crossed over the mountain ridge to the other side to see the Saskatchewan Glacier. It was a pretty steep climb.We found this chap beside the trail, taking in all the tourist traffic going by.You could see the support vehicle at the bottom of the mountain as we returned from the hike.Then came another challenging section of the ride. This one was a little scary, but we all came through in good shape. We were essentially speeding down a mountainside on a road that was not in the best of shape, a road that was also lacking a good shoulder, or even a shoulder in some parts. We were riding besides other motor vehicles on the road. It was bone rattling ride at high speeds. Ben had a stop for us at the halfway point, where he instructed me on how better to hold on to the bicycle handle so that I could take the rough road without wobbling too much. One of our riders hit a speed of 70 kmph coming down, a personal best for her. I was just a little slower. 🙂 The picture below shows a very short section of that descent.And then we were riding the rest of way to our destination for the evening on the flats beside the North Saskatchewan River. This river flows into the Hudson Bay. The Columbia Icefield is a source for rivers that flow into the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans.
We were riding beside a wall of rock for a certain distance.After a certain while, the river disappeared behind some trees and woods. There was less things to stop for, and the rest of the ride became more about the sheer enjoyment of the experience of riding. Folks were speeding along all the way to our destination, which was a place called The Crossing Resort. It was located at a spot just before our road, the Icefield Parkway, crosses the North Saskatchewan river. Here is a picture of our digs for the night.These are some views from the resort.After dinner we drove to the Mistaya Canyon where we could take a hike to a spot where the Mistaya river goes over a waterfall. The Mistaya river feeds the North Saskatchewan river.That evening a few of us stood outside our rooms hoping to see some colors in the sky at sunset. The show was a little disappointing.We are halfway through the ride at this point!
I am a big fan of bridges, and I admit that I have taken too many pictures of them. I think that some of the bigger ones, especially the suspension bridges, are marvels of engineering design. The fact that we have figured out ways to use the laws of physics to construct these gigantic, and often beautiful and majestic, structures to leap across wide open spaces and voids in such a seemingly effortless manner (a perception that is deceptive) is remarkable. The manner in which the roadways hang in the air, suspended from cables attached to elegant piers that rise from the ground or the water into the air to tower over the bridges themselves, is amazing. And many of us take these structures for granted while using them in our everyday lives, with not an appreciation or understanding of, or interest in, the ingenuity that went into their construction.
But having said all that, I would like to take a different tack for this week’s challenge. I will just focus on some more down-to-earth “bridge” encounters from our recent trip to New England. These are simpler bridge stories from the other end of the spectrum. The physics involved is quite simple in many cases. These pictures will show that as far as the simple act of walking or hiking is involved, there are many basic ways that are used to bridge obstacles that may appear in front of you. In some cases, even the simple rocks found in nature will offer you a bridge!
The following pictures are from the Camden State Park in Maine.This is from a hike up Gorham mountain on Mt. Desert Island in Maine.These bridges are a few of the many on a trail in the Flume Gorge area in New Hampshire.This bridge carries a trail across the Winooski River in Montpelier, VT.Bridges, in many different forms, are an essential part of our lives today.
- Soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.
In an expanded spirit of the theme, I have picked some pictures that may fit the theme in more ways than one. These are all old pictures. The situations that some of them represent can never be repeated. Some of the others took place just because I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and this happened by chance, and it may never happen again. They all have to do with memories.
The pictures below were taken in 2005 and 2006 respectively. One had to be there at the right time of the year, at the right moment in time of the day, and on a day with the right conditions, to be able to see these. The conditions along the C&O canal where these pictures were taken have also changed since the time I took them, so that these conditions may never be duplicated. It was an evanescent moment in time that one could have said was a figment of my imagination if I did not have the pictures to show.The following picture is from 2009. It was humid on that particular morning, and this caused the mist to rise from the railing on the bridge at Broad Run Trunk on the towpath. I had never seen this before, and perhaps I will never see it again. I just happened to be there at the right time.And then there is this series of pictures taken in 2009 of the train that appears out of the mist on a cool morning and then quickly vanishes from sight, as if it had never been there in the first place. Nobody else was there to see it. It was like that tree falling in the woods. It was an evanescent experience that is only remembered today because of the pictures.The following picture is from 2005. The broken-down building below used to be the Pennyfield Inn, and it used to be next to Pennyfield Lock. The building was built in 1879 and was finally demolished in 2009. It is now replaced with an open space that feels like it has always been there. (The building actually has an historical context in that President Grover Cleveland used to stay here during his fishing expeditions to this area.) The Pennyfield Inn is now just a memory. It existed for only a fleeting moment in time in the grand scale of history, and now has disappeared. This picture from 2005 illustrates the evanescence of the life experience. One of the kids in this picture has just finished high school, the second is in college, and we just celebrated the college graduation of the third. The circumstances of the old picture below are now but a distant memory.Here are other submissions to the challenge.