A chilled Gimlet for me, just before dinner last night...
What a glorious day we had today! After painting in the studio in the morning, we went back into the Maligne Lake area, about an hour from Jasper, and we were given complimentary passes for the boat cruise to Spirit Island. Not everyone took advantage of this opportunity...we have a few artists who are not used to the brisk autumn weather here, so they opted for a photo op and then back inside their heated cars!
Spirit Island is one of the most photographed locations in Canada's national parks system. It's interesting how it was discovered...a photographer took a few photos on a canoe trip a few decades ago and his wife entered a photo of Spirit Island in a Kodak contest. The photo won and then Kodak came calling!
They asked for a name for the photos and the photographer said it represented the spirit of the Canadian Rockies to him...so Spirit Island is the name. The prize for the winner of the contest was to have the winning photo splattered on a huge wall in New York's Central Station, I believe. That started the notoriety of this delicately balanced ecosystem in the belly of the mountains surrounding Jasper.
The wake of the boat going out to the island...
We have been given special permission to stay on the island and paint for the afternoon...usually, the boat cruises stop at the dock, allowing visitors a 10 minutes photo op and a potty break, and then they are shuffled back onto the boat for the 40 minute return trip along the lake through some of the most pristine wilderness in the Rockies.
This area cannot be seen from anything other than a boat or canoe...no roads in to the area at all. I hope they keep it this way. The glaciers high up in the mountains are receding every year, and at a speed that is shocking. Each time I take this trip, there is more mountaintop and less glacier. I don't think there is any way that this craziness can be stopped...man seems to be hell-bent on fossil-fueling this world. One day, there will be no glaciers visible, and soon after that, I suspect, no glaciers in existence in this area of my country. It makes me feel very sad. This will change the way of life for the mountain sheep, the darling white wooly mountain goats, our grizzly and brown bears, cougars, wolves, foxes, coyotes, elk, moose...so many species will have their existence forever changed.
So, every trip into this glacial basin is a gift for me, and this day is no exception. We spend a few hours painting on the shore, talking with the boatloads of tourists who come to the island by boat cruise every hour and then it is time to pack up our painting gear, put on our backpacks and leave, for another year.
Later, after a shower and a nap, a group of us go to the restaurant at the lodge and celebrate our lovely day with champagne and a stellar meal. Then, to bed...morning class starts early here in the Rockies and I am bone-tired after the long day at high altitude in these mountains.