I love visiting Rockies in summer! Just the fact that one can explore without layers of clothes to keep one warm is so appealing. No need to worry about road conditions and closures, no need for heavy winter gear. There are things, of course, one needs to prepare for such a trip. Bug spray, sun screen, lots of water, snacks and a jacket or a sweater - we are visiting mountains, after all, are a must. Good pair of shoes and a bear spray are a good idea as well, especially when one thinks about hiking. But all in all, it is so much easier to plan and travel during the hot months of summer. This year's weather didn't disappoint at all. It was nice, sunny and warm and, as I said in my previous post ( Summer Travel - Alberta Travel Photography ), we were lucky to have mostly (there was some haze in the morning but it has cleared up later that day) haze - free skies. We have managed to visit our most favorite spots, including a Jasper Skytram ride to the top of Whistlers Mountain. From way up there is a great view into the valley below. That view allowed us to see the scope of the damage the pine beetle infestation has caused to the forests in Jasper NP. The browns you see on the pictures are dead pine trees, covering vast area. We were told that average age of pine trees in nature is 60 to 80 years and that fires allow for renewal of forests and that young trees have much better defense mechanisms than the old ones. These trees down in the valley were more than 200 years old and had no way of protecting themselves from pests. Combine this with relatively warm winters (not cold enough to eradicate the beetles) and we see how much damage was done to the forests.. No wonder there was a strict fire band in the mountains. The dead dry trees would burn explosively quick.
But, enough of that. Let's see what memories I've brought back from that lovely August day in jasper National Park.