First, Medicine Lake and her mountain range...
This glorious lake is an anomaly...it isn't really a lake, but rather an area into which the Maligne River backs up and then suddenly...disappears!
In summer, during intensified meltwater runoff from the higher elevation snow on the mountains and from the glaciers in the area, the lake will fill to various levels that change from time to time, depending on the amount of runoff in the Maligne River. Then, as the Maligne River's water level lowers, the water in Medicine Lake drains back into the river. So, what you see is the lake empty at one time and then later on, full of water again...interesting!
'The underground system is very extensive and during the 1970's, researchers used a biodegradable dye to determine the underground river's extent. The dye showed up in many of the lakes and rivers in the area to the point where it became clear that the underground system was one of the most extensive in the world.' ~ Wikipedia
This is an amazing phenomenon...a lake that is filled by a river and then emptied by the same river when the river's water levels are low. Sort of like water being poured back and forth between a cup and a pitcher.
Then, on to Mount Robson...
'Mount Robson Provincial Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, together with the other national and provincial parks that form the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, because of the mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, canyons and limestone caves as well as fossils found here.'
Painting the stunning scenery of Mount Robson from the meadow in front of the Mount Robson Bungalows is heaven on earth. This majestic mountain reaches an altitude of 15,299 ft. and is the highest point in the Canadian Rockies. The north face is heavily glaciated, with 2,600 ft. of solid glacial ice from the summit to Berg Glacier. The Robson Glacier, which is the source of the Robson River, at one time fed 2 oceans.
Mount Robson is an hour's drive from Jasper townsite, so we leave early in the morning to make the most of our time here. The weather this week is stellar...hot, sunny and clear skies. Perfect painting weather!
The only downside for me this afternoon are the very painful black fly and no-see-um bites that I have on my ear and wrist! The swelling, itch and heat in those poor little afflicted areas are causing me quite a lot of discomfort, so I've sought medical attention...Polysporin now makes an antibiotic cream with a local anaesthetic in it. Perfection! It numbs my skin and keeps the infection under control.
Finally, the most magnificent of all...Mount Edith Cavell...
We are close to 7000 ft. altitude and this magnificent mountain peak is so close it feels like I can reach out and touch her. In my feeble attempt to paint this creature, I've distorted my painting completely out of proportion...my full sheet of 300 lb. Arches watercolour paper is wholly filled with nothing other than Edith Cavell's face. No water, no trees, nothing other than the mountain side.
Angel Glacier can be seen in the center of this photo posted above. The glacier has diminished considerably over the last few years. The tail of the ice could once be seen between the two mountains that now frame the remainder of the glacier. Every time I see this, it reminds me that our glaciers are a vanishing resource in this world's frantic race to provide fossil fuels to an ever-increasingly hungry planet. Global warming really exists...here on the side of Mount Edith Cavell, you can see the proof of this effect on our glacial ice.
The water is actually this deep teal and emerald green colour, from the glacial silt deposited in the water day by day.
And, so, another painting week comes to a close, with several magical trips to paint at the foot of some of our country's most treasured natural resources. This has been my seventh workshop with Gregg Johnson, and each time I come here, it is more beautiful than the last time. Maybe it only seems that way, when I am reminded of just how exquisite our western mountain region really is. The crystal clear reflection of Cavell in the lake at her base reminds me of the purity of this area...where pollution has been almost non-exisitent and we have the chance to see Mother Nature at her most beautiful.
"The mountain was named in 1916 for Edith Cavell, an English nurse executed by the Germans during World War I for having helped persons held captive to escape to refuge." ~ Wikipedia