2004 - JASPER, Alberta
WHISTLERS MOUNTAIN (not to be confused with Whistler Mountain in B.C.) in Jasper National Park, Alberta, CANADA.
While in Jasper, you can take the tramway (gondola) ride up the slope of Whistler`s mountain (3243 feet, or 973 metres) right to the upper station observatory deck and lookout. Once at the top, you can hang around the observatory chalet, stroll the boardwalk, or - if you are feeling particularly adventurous - hike the summit trail which leads beyond the boardwalk perimeters.
A note of caution though: the weather can change quite dramatically this high up in the mountains, and you can literally find yourself completely disoriented as a cloud of mist and fog can suddenly swirl up out of nowhere and completely obscure everything within 10 feet of view - including the trail ahead and behind you.
On this particular day it was cloudy and heavily overcast, but we decided to chance it anyways. During several stops to catch my breath, I watched in amazement as a huge cumulous would roll up the side of the mountain and completely envelope us in a cloud of mist. It was nerve-wracking and exhilarating at the same time.
You are - quite literally - on top of the clouds. Simply put, it is breathtaking (literally and figuratively!).
The wind picked up and the rain started to pour, so we decided to backtrack it as fast as fast as we could. Soaking, and a little weather beaten, it was nice to warm up with a cup of hot cocoa inside the observatory deck cafeteria.
I snapped the pic you see here, just as the sun was breaking through the clouds, and shining on the valley of Jasper below. It was truly a magical moment.
DATE: August 21, 2004