We’re just wrapping up a week of work in the Willmore Wilderness. What a stunning place! We were both humbled by the scale and remoteness of this landscape. For most of the past week we’ve been doing some work in the northwestern corner of the park along Sheep Creek in an area characterized by wide river valleys, forested wetlands, and large alpine meadows (key grizzly habitat).
There are very few signs of direct human activity here, but lots of other wildlife. We found this impressive caribou antler:
Even in August, it’s very green. We found out why: rain, low hanging clouds, and winds gusting over 80 km/ hour kept us grounded for much of the week. Luckily we had a comfy camp to come back to at the Grand Cache tanker base. When we did get out for a solid day of field work, we sat out a snow squall just below this peak:
It was beautiful and peaceful. (And chilly! We were glad for our layers and sil tarp). It also gave us a chance to reflect on just how challenging it must have been for the original surveyors to work through this landscape without a map. Even now access is tricky. The weather passed and work went on.
We were glad to have lots of company for our time in the Willmore. Eric Higgs was able to stay for our first several days, and we were all joined by former crew leader Mandy Annand and ecologists Jake Fisher and Matthew Weatley, who are involved in an up-and-coming project to quantify the landscape change evident in these images. We had a great (quite windy) day out! Later in the week Bruce Mayor and Bill Ting, with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, were able to join us for a fun and productive field day. They brought better weather and a thermos of tea. So it was a great week of guests!
We did manage to get quite a lot of photos done over our 2 or 3 days of good conditions in the Willmore, but didn’t make it to several more technical stations that require sunny days and high clouds.
Stuart and I have now moved down to the Entrance fire base to do some work along the North Jasper Boundary. Yesterday we re-visited three scenic stations right along the park border originally surveyed in 1927. Here’s a heli-shot looking west taken near our third station:
In the background you can see Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Rockies. We’re headed to Mt. Robson Provincial Park next and weather permitting we’ll be repeating some photos that look right up at it.