Friday, August 17, 2007

The High Places of the Earth

We spent a few days vacationing in Jasper National Park in Alberta.
The park is celebrating its 100th birthday this year - 2007 ~~!!

Vic and I both prefer the wild outdoors to vacationing in cities. We both love the Rocky Mountains of B.C. and Alberta ---- the places where God walks ! High in the crisp mountain air and with breathtaking scenery it is very easy to feel that you are walking where God sets His feet !!

"For, lo, he that formeth the mountains and createth the wind and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The Lord, The God of hosts is His name." (Amos 4:13)

There were not too many wild flowers still in bloom. In August the mountain weather is already beginning to take on the chill of winter. But there were still a few hardy flowers offering their beauty. It is hard to believe how these delicate flowers survive the harsh conditions of their environment and faithfully bloom year after year.
If God can grow flowers where the best gardener would fail..... why do we so easily doubt His care for us His children??? Will He not provide for us and shelter us from even the most severe conditions of life? "...O ye of little faith!!" (Matt.6:28-30)

Below is Vic on one of his three mountain hikes of the trip. He climbed with Gary, his nephew. Gary and his wife Darlene joined us on our trip -- it was nice to have someone to share our holiday with. Vic and Gary could go hiking and Darlene and I were free to go shopping in Jasper village or read.

As we drove through the mountains, we kept stopping to take pictures but with mountains -- you really have to be there. The glory is just tooo overwhelming for a camera to capture!!
We saw endless variations of divine sculpture in stone, broad brushes of color, snow topped peaks and slopes of green vegetation.
I have posted a few of our mountain photos and hope you can at least get a small sense of their grandeur. Click on the photo to do it some small justice.

The mountain lakes were azure in colour or deep blue under the sky ...all of them beautiful.

A big tourist attraction is the 80 foot high Athabasca Falls. An unexpectedly breathtaking experience. The Athabasca River flows gently along with no evidence of impending crashing of water against stone until it falls over the edge. It has cut a sharp twisting path of stone down to the river bed far below.
Over the years it has changed route and here in the abandoned path man has built stone steps leading down to the river bed where white water rafters begin their ride down river.
When the sun is shining there is a perpetual rainbow where the spray catches the sun's rays.
Another tourist don't-miss-it is the Columbia Icefields that have greatly retreated since 1843, but are still huge. Buses carry hundreds of tourists daily up to the icefields where they transfer from the shuttle bus to a bus designed to drive on ice and they ride up high on the glacier.

Below is a shot Vic took from Mt. Wilcox opposite the Columbia Icefields, looking down on the parking lot at the foot of the glacier. You can make out the tiny toy cars and buses at the bottom of the picture and if you look really close you can see people walking on the glacier itself.
I love wild animals ! And it is always a moment of excitement when Vic or I spot wildlife. We didn't get pictures of all the wild life that we saw in Jasper -- nor did we by any means see all the wild life there is !! We were hoping to see a grizzley bear...but none appeared. We found out when we got home that a huge black bear was playing in our back yard at home while we were away !
We did see lots of mountain sheep!
The two young mountain sheep below took for granted that they had the right of way and stopped traffic in both directions as they sauntered across the highway.
Below is a mother elk and her young calf grazing beside running water.
A couple of mature mountain sheep taking a break from butting heads. I am amazed they don't end up with massive headaches!!

More young mountain sheep with some babies among them.
What a world of beauty God has created for His creatures..... also makes for lovely photos!!
A baby mountain sheep.....sooo cute !! We could get really close...but not close enough to touch!!
One evening we went out for a little drive to see if we could see more wild life and came across this little coyote, pictured below. We couldn't understand him...but he was calling, howling, barking, for the longest time !! Far in the distance we could hear others answering...but I guess the stand off was that they couldn't decide whether they should join him...or should he go join them !! (smile) If you've never heard a coyote, they have the funniest voice -- sharp, loud and always sounds a little off key!!
We almost didn't get accommodations -- everything was full when we tried booking over two months ago. One place, Jasper House had one cabin left for the week we needed it. We weren't sure where it was but it was right across the street from the campsite Vic's nephew and wife were staying, so it was perfect!! God always does things well !!!
When we stopped to register at the office, the pleasant girl greeted us in an unmistakable Australian accent. In our conversation I learned that Anna ( in photo below) lives in Melbourne, not far for where my friend Carolanne lives in a suburb of Melbourne. Anna's friend from northern Australia was also working at Jasper House as a maid -- she cleaned our cabin. I happened to be there one morning when she knocked on the door to see if we needed room service and when she came in to bring fresh towels for the bathroom she remarked, "Oh, your room always smells so good!!! I'm HUNGRY!"
I had brought my slow cooker along and so during the day the smells of dinner were filling the cabin!
Below is the view from our front door..At night the elk came to enjoy the tasty tenderness of the green lawn grass !! In the morning you had to be careful where you stepped!!!
There were only a few of the cabins that backed onto the Athabasca River. Ours was one of them and below is the view from our eating/sitting area. Mt. Edith Cavel is under the white cloud. It was so lovely sitting by the large open window and listen to the river song.
On our way home we decided to stop for dinner at a place called "Three Valley Gap". We had never stopped before because we were always on our way somewhere when we would pass it. It is a few miles out of Revelstoke, British Columbia. When you are travelling from the coast you come around a curve in the road and there it sits -- a breathtaking sight at the end of a long lake.
We wanted to stretch our legs a little before we sat down for dinner so we spent some time in the gift shop and then walked to the cafe sitting area that overlooked the court yard gardens. There was no one in the coffee shop area except for the couple, pictured below.
As we walked toward the windows to look at the garden, the gentleman asked, "And how are you folks today?" We answered that we were fine and then Vic asked if they were guests in the chateau. The gentleman smiled and said, "No, this is our place."
We stayed and talked to them for quite awhile and learned the history of the amazing successful family business.
The gentleman, Gordon Bell, was a visionary who at the age of 11 made his first investment!!
At the young age of 22 with his young wife Ethel he bought the first seven acres that Three Valley Gap Chateau sits on. He and his wife now have 4 grown children and 12 grandchildren -- who help him run the place. The whole resort is his dream, he designed and built it all, and now manages it with a hands-on style in every area of operation.
The 200 room Chateau includes amazing honeymoon suites including one called The Cave which features total stone construction with hot and cold water flowing down a rock wall into the bathtub.
There is a formal dining room, a coffee shop, a large gift shop, a play area, indoor swimming pool, a lake, boat rides, helicopter rides, a Railway Museum, a Ghost town with many authentic original buildings that were moved to the property, and Gordon is now in the process of building the largest covered round house (rail) in the world.
A wonderful success story of a man born in the depression of 1933 who followed his dreams and made them come true. I asked his wife Ethel who has stuck by him for 53 years, if she ever tired of his dreams. She smiled and shook her head 'no'.
We enjoyed our conversation with this interesting couple !!
We decided we are taking our kids for a holiday to Three Valley Gap next summer !!

We also went to Miette Hotsprings. (I had a picture posted but somehow it disappeared and I can't put it back!! )
On the way there Vic and I were wondering how anyone would have found the springs since they were hidden --as a needle in a haystack -- surrounded by miles and miles and miles of forest. We concluded that it must have been the local natives who knew they were there and told the white man.
At the springs, Vic and Gary and Darlene, went to enjoy the hot pools while I walked around the building to stand at the chain link fence to watch. I'm not a water lover !
I had brought a book but I never got to read it.
Standing at the fence beside me was an older woman named Elsie, with snow white hair and beautiful dark brown eyes. She didn't do water either !! Her husband was in the pool.
And so we started to talk....and didn't stop for almost an hour. She told me fascinating stories!
She was native.....and her grandmother was one of the local natives who lived in the area when the white miners came looking for gold, and learned about the Miette Hotsprings from the natives in the mid 1800's. The miners first carved a rough trail to the springs in 1910.
Elsie's grandmother's name was Adelene McCauley and her story is told in a book called "The Color of Gold".
What were the chances of me meeting her?

We spent wonderful days at Jasper........
I found it relaxing and restful - a time to spend with loved ones, meet new people, enjoy God's creation, and spend quiet time sitting beside the river (tomorrow's post)
All around were signs of God's love and care -- like the photo below where the clouds reflect the light of God's promises that His mercy and faithfulness will be new in the morning !!
Lam. 3:23 "They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness!"


James Janzen said...

Now that's my kind of Holiday! Sounds GREAT! I'm very Happy for you and all your memories. I've always said that nature was the best "church" you could ever go to.

Carolanne said...

What a great holiday! The photos are magnificent and you obviously had a great time together, making new memories and meeting new people.

Aha - you can't escape me even on your vacation, you have to meet an Aussie. LOL :)

I'm thankful you had such a good time. :)

Demara said...

Wow I think that was the longest post ever! Good Job!! \
You HAD a very beautifully God-filled adventure full of GREAT people and you told their stories well.

I love wildlife too and hate water!

So fun, that you were able to see all of those beautiful pictures of God's art!!!

(Praise the Lord that Goomba is now living with his Dad too, permanently!)

Sara said...

I loved reading about your adventures, and looking at those gorgeous photos. So much beauty all around....breathtaking! Thank you for sharing, it brought a note of loveliness into my day here in crowded, hot, noisy Southern California.

ru4real said...

Wow, wow, and wow! That's all I can say.

Wow to those beautiful pics!
Wow to those interesting people!
Wow to the God who created both!