I had such an epic day! I’ve been imagining this for several years now. The return to the Salmon Glacier, and exploring the old mining roads beyond. It’s for days like this that I bought a Jeep!
I woke up to the sound of rain on the tent. I’m starting to wonder if it rains every morning in Stewart. The previous day had been a bust. I drove out to the glacier, and couldn’t see a thing because of fog. I even waited for 4 hours…and it didn’t change. It was rainy, but I was hoping it would clear that spectacular pictures would follow….they didn’t.
The weather forecast didn’t have a lot of hope. Rain, rain, rain…for the rest of the week. It was raining when I arrived, and it would be raining when I left. 6 years ago, it was raining as well. Does it ever not rain in Stewart? I have tons of rain days in my schedule, but to wait a whole week just for one thing? That seemed like a bit much. I held out a small hope that the weather might not be as forecast…the locals told me it was often wrong.
As I renewed my campsite for another day, I began to contemplate the idea that I might not get to see the glacier on this trip. That would be a bit of a blow. The Salmon Glacier is one of the most tremendous things one can see in Canada. I was praying about it a lot: do I wait, do I move on? As I went to sleep, I was strangely at peace with whatever was going to happen, whether I would see it or not. God’s plan would be best.
And boy was it ever!
…Back to waking up to the rain. I emerged from the tent and it was so foggy, I couldn’t see the mountains at all. Here I was hoping for a clear day, and it was thicker than ever. I spent a couple hours reading, and then out of nowhere, the sun pierced through the fog! Soon, a small patch of blue sky! The mountains were still covered in fog, but I was excited…I loaded up and set out to drive the road to the glacier!
It was still a little foggy, but it was quickly becoming an epic fog. The road up to the glacier is quite the road itself. There are a few viewpoints and it basically clings to the side of the mountain, with a long way down to the valley.
I arrived at the glacier and it was free of fog! There were still some clouds clearing, but this was otherwise the clearest I’ve ever seen it! It’s a very hard place to properly photograph. The sight is so utterly massive, that it’s very hard to grasp its scale, even in person…that’s the weird part of the experience. When I see mountains, I’m generally blown away by my experience of their huge size. This is so completely other…so incomprehensible that unless you seek to understand it, you just might go away with a small view of this tremendous sight. I feel like our human understanding of God can sometimes be the same way.
I sat there for an hour. People came and went…most gone within ten minutes…missing the true wonder of what they saw. I had to go eventually too. Part of what I had really looked forward to was the road beyond the glacier. Most people stop at the viewpoint, but the road goes on for another 20 km to an old mine…and past several other, more normal, glaciers. I love back roads, and I love mountains. This was set to be amazing.
There are some old mines, which are blocked off, and then there’s this tunnel. Apparently it was put in for driving through because in the winter, the next portion of the road would get completely snowed in and the miners couldn’t get to the mine. I’m not sure how long it was, but I could see a tiny light at the far, far end, and I did pass the opposite end further down the road. (there’s rubble piled in the way so you can’t actually drive through it)
On the far side of the tunnel, I stopped to check it out, and there was freezing cold air coming out of it. It turns out there’s ice in here, and it was cold like a freezer when I stepped in. There was also the odd patch of pack snow along the side of the road.
The Berendon Glacier was another awesome sight, nearing the end of the road. The Salmon Glacier has it completely beat from a size perspective, but I kind of like the epicness of Berendon. This is definitely a sight that few see. I love that I was on a rough, dusty, back road when I saw this.
My journey eventually ended at a washout that I wasn’t comfortable driving through…but it was such an epic day..I was full. I was later told that the valley that I ended in is known as Happy Valley, and I have to agree.
As I headed for home, my windshield was once again filled with the glory of the Salmon Glacier. So I simply had to stop and spend another half an hour contemplating it’s immense presence…and thinking about a God that is completely other when compared even with this wonder.
And to think, I was worried about rain…
If you weren’t aware, the Salmon Glacier is just outside of Stewart, BC, which I wrote about in my last entry. This was my third day in Stewart. This is such a special town, so of course to say goodbye, I think I’ll be having breakfast at the Toastworks again…and maybe it will be raining…just like old times.