Global Descent from the Canadian Rockies

On the Summits

Francis and I recently enjoyed one week in the Canadian Rockies, an area of five National Parks (four located in Canada) as well as numerous provincial parks and semi protected multi-use areas. Two of these parks straddle the U.S.-Canadian border in a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

The following photo essay begins in Jasper National Park at the bone chilling Athabasca Glacier, part of the massive Columbia Icefield. Nearby Mount Columbia hovers at 12,294 feet, the 2nd highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. These glacial meltwaters flow to three world oceans – the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic.

Follow this 400 kilometre journey, from the forests, meadows and rugged snow capped peaks of North America’s continental divide, then meandering downwards and eastwards through golden grassy foothills, tumbling out to the apparently infinite windswept prairies.

This is a story of the ages juxtaposed against our contemporary times. Frequent readers may recall my posts about Small is Beautiful. In what comes next, think big – it goes with the terrain.




Summit of Icefields Parkway. Jasper National Park - Bruce Witzel photo

Icefield Parkway Summit


Athabasca Glacier of the Columbia Icefields

Athabasca Glacier


Peyto Lake, Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park - Bruce Witzel photo

Peyto Lake


Highwood Meadows, Kananaskis Country - Bruce Witzel photo

Highwood Meadows in Kananaskis


Icefields Parkway - Francis Guenette photo

  Descending Icefield Parkway


Mountain Sheep - Bruce Witzel photo

Grazing mountain sheep in Banff National Park


Banff National Park Icefields Parkway Oct 27, 2014 - Bruce Witzel photo

Modern Travel


North Saskatchewan River leaving Banff National Park

North Saskatchewan River


Elk in Banff National Park - Bruce Witzel photo

Elk outside the Town of Banff


Trans Canada Highway in Banff National Park Oct 27, 2014 - Bruce witzel photo

On the Trans Canada Highway


Bow River, Banff - Oct 27, 2014 - Francis Guenette photo

Bow River on the outskirts of Banff


wedge-pond-in-kananaskis-country - Francis Guenette photo

Wedge Pond


Kananaskis off Alberta Highway 40

Nearby Kananaskis Country



Grizzly Country


Kananaskis Country, Alberta - Bruce Witzel photo

Outskirts of Kananaskis Village – site of 1988 Winter Olympics and 2002 G-8 Summit


Barrier Lake, Alberta - Bruce Witzel photo

Barrier Lake near Highway 40 Alberta


Highway 40 Alberta - Bruce Witzel photo

Misnomer – Kananaskis Trail (really?)



Highway 40 bridge washout from 2013 Calgary floods - Bruce Witzel photo

Highwood River bridge lost in 2013 Calgary floods


Rebuilding bridge lost to 2013 Calgary Alberta floods - Bruce Witzel photo

Ravaged earth equals high water


Foothills against the Canadian Rockies - Bruce Witzel photo

Foothills of the Canadian Rockies


View west from Alberta Highway 22  - Bruce Witzel photo

View from Highway 22


Near Longview Alberta - Bruce Witzel photo (2)

Heartland Country (homegrown CBC Television Series)


Cowboy Trail off Highway 22 Alberta - Francis Guenette photo

And cowboy trails


Foothills and Canadian Rockies near Highway 22 - Bruce Witzel photo

Home on the Range


 Looking west off Alberta Highway 22 - the cowboy trail - Bruce Witzel photo

Mountains meet foothills where cattle graze (click photo for awesome hi-resolution)


Alberta oil well near Longview - Bruce Witzel photo

… and oil and gas


Alberta oil well and gas pipeline - Bruce Witzel photo

Descent. Or dissent?


Foothills of Alberta - Bruce Witzel photo

Oxbow River


Wind turbine near Pincher Creek Alberta - Bruce Witzel photo

Cheers to Prairie Wind


Near Pincher Creek Alberta - Cowley Ridge Wind Site - Bruce Witzel photo

Tilting at wind mills, or to live the impossible dream.


Cowley Ridge Wind Turbine

For us and the earth. To be or not to be? That is the question.


Whyte Museum of the Rockies


~ from back home on Vancouver Island ~


Love, peace, and harmony, to all



49 thoughts on “Global Descent from the Canadian Rockies

    • Thanks Clarie. You got it! You’re a good sister to the land (and the people) you love, too.

      By the way: the other day I got what you were saying on your blog and it really got me in the gut… I only thought deeper about it afterwards. It is like we’re living in a world that is a cross between Orwells 1984 and Huxleys Brave New World. We’ve got the big brother Homeland Security or CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligience Service) on one hand and the good feely WWWeb pill on the the other. Isn’t life great!! Such a terrible paradox. I feel this too Claire. Not to pull the wool further over our eyes cause there’s so much sham and drudgery…. Anyhow or who or whatever…. A definite love, peace and cheer to you Claire, on this dark night of our soul.

    • Glad you like them, and hope you continue to enjoy. Canada is a beautiful country, I noticed you also liked the Brandt Series: Dawn Awakening. To clarify this series, most of those photos are by a friend of mine Fr.Charles, who is a 92 year old Catholic monk. He’s an amazing person. Peace to you Annececile.

  1. Bruce, these photos are absolutely breathtaking. You and Fran ought to consider expanding your publishing business to include wall calendars and such. Really! I’d buy one.

    • Thank you kindly Gwen. For a few years with my business I published a calender to give to clients. It was a lot of fun. A good idea to expand it into Huckleberry Haven Publishing as well. You could be our first customer. 🙂 Glad you love our photography!

  2. Magnificent, breathtaking beauty! Sad to see even this wilderness has been invaded by frackers – but it’s heartening to see competition from wind-power. Thank you for sharing such awe-inspiring thoughts and art, Bruce.

    • Yes – and it seems paradoxical seeing the direct results of climate change (and oil and gas) in such beauty. The flooding was considered the worst in Alberta’s history and caused an estimated 5 Billion dollars in damage. The perversity in all this is how it actually stimulated the economy. Go figure! It certainly doesn’t figure in the price of gas! I appreciate your noticing the nuances of this post, Carol. I hope your staying well, apart from the university environment. Best regards – Bruce

  3. David and I have traveled through the mountains so many times and have often decided to put our camera away because our pictures never convey the beauty and magnificence of the landscape. Yours do just that. Thank you!

    • Your welcome Louise. It is wonderful to hear from you, though Fran always fill me in. In regards to the images, over the years Fran has had to learn to live with U-turns and longer travel times, although we have practical ground rules. Photography, is so enjoyable to us, as it gives focus and memories. It has the ability to convey a myriad of messages about the world and the times we live in. I’m often amazed at the end of the day of what Fran has photographed because we all have different viewpoints. All the best to you both. The Orkney trip sounded wonderful …. peace and love, Bruce.

      • Thank you so much! I love trains and tracks! I also love the rockies! My Pa lived in Colorado for years so I always enjoy seeing mountain photos! They are stunning! My Pa had Alzheimer’s but he never forgot his love for the mountains! I heard someone say you can take the man out of the mountains but you can never take the mountains out of the man! I love that!

    • So glad you enjoyed it Rosaliene. A sermon from the mount(s) 🙂 This trip was an eye opener, because we left the current flooding in our own area, only to find the consequences of last years massive floods in Southern Alberta. I didn’t yet watch the lecture you sent yesterday on Climate Change, though hopefully this evening. It’s the new terrible reality, and you folks in California get less and less moisture. Houston – we have a problem 😦

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