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The weather didn't look good this morning, but it couldn't get any worse than yesterday's. To sum up, we were chased off a hillside at 7200' by a driving snowstorm! We retreated to a hot springs, where we got more cold rain and sleet, but this wasn't so bad.
Our goal for today was to hike to Verdant Pass, starting at beautiful Lake Cavell, which sits at the base of monolithic Mt. Edith Cavell, or just "Edith" to the locals. Round trip, the hike was 14 miles and entailed an elevation climb of something like 2000 feet. The weather was sort of featureless. Totally socked in, but not in an interesting way, like with brooding fog or dark thunderstorms.
We walked along the rim of a river valley, actually descending a bit. The trail goes around the north side of Edith. The trail to the pass is almost hidden, but I somehow found it without trouble. At that point, we climbed for a long time through a very verdant forest. About 1000 feet into it, the forest thins out a bit, turning to scrub pine. At this point, Kim spotted a bull moose grazing in the trees, watching us closely, seemingly unamused. What a sight! I'll never stop for wildlife along a road, but I love seeing animals in the wilderness like this.
After a very steep section, the trail basically tops out around 8000 feet, and you begin to see Verdant Meadows in its enormity. We lunched near the south end of the meadow, but I think the guidebook suggested that we continue out onto a ridge. Neither one of us were very interested, I don't think.
As we got back to the car, the weather started clearing out,
giving great views of Edith and Lake Cavell, and especially
down the Athabasca River Valley, toward Jasper. A nice hike,
but a bit long for the reward...
Department of Geophysics