Saturday, September 4, 2010

Of Weather and Other Practicalities………..

Weather is a preoccupation, especially when you are living so close to it……but it is a topic that seems to be on everyone’s mind around here. The weather, we have been told, has been unusual. (Actually, we are getting tired of hearing that.)

In Alaska, everyone was talking about the unusually wet and cool summer – it set a record for raining 30 plus days in a row……most of the time that we were in Alaska, we dealt with misty, foggy, if not out right rainy weather.

At Jasper, we had nice days…..we were actually lucky that it had snowed a bit on the Athabasca glacier the night before our glacier walk. It made the footing better. The next night, it snowed enough to put a good layer on the ground (the glacier would have been ankle deep in snow).


At Glacier, we are at the tail end of the season, with a “winter weather advisory” for the higher elevations. All the literature says that mountain weather is “variable” and that it could rain or snow any day of the year. So far, we have had low temps in the low 40’s and one day’s high up to 60 degrees, the next day, we had a bit of sleet while we were hiking! Variable! But the outlook for the end of the week is warmer and drier.

So…what does all this weather mean for us? Try as we might to ignore it, the rain and cloudy skies seem to dampen our spirits. We are just not as inclined to stop for that “overlook” when you know that the view is obscured by the clouds….and hard not to feel a bit “gypped”. Hiking in a light mist is OK, but it is difficult to get started, and difficult to convince oneself to sit on a wet log or rock and enjoy the ‘view’ or to have a nice picnic lunch. On the days when the sun has shone, we are almost giddy…..




I took this picture just because I liked the way the sun shone on the wet rocks.

…. and we realize that we really do enjoy the hiking and camping out……it is just the weather that has been getting us down a bit.

The temperatures have been consistently cool – lows in the low 40’s (occasionally the upper 30’s) and the highs in the mid 50’s, and breezy. This means that most days, you never really get warm. Our little camper quickly cools to the outside temps – we are (and for the most part have been) camping without electricity.  A note on that – so far, our experience has been that you have to choose- site or services. The RV parks have all the services, but little in the way of a nice site, and they are quite a bit more expensive, and may be filled up. The National Parks, or Canada’s Provincial parks have not had electricity, and all parks have limited generator hours (usually 2 hours in the morning, and 2 hours in the evening).

We deal with the cold by bundling up – layers of clothes to “rearrange”, gloves and hats, jackets, rain jackets, and rain pants when needed. DSC01973

We have been sleeping warm enough – once you warm up your spot in bed – under a quilt and comforter. But, getting up in a cold camper takes motivation….usually a cup of coffee and the propane ‘buddy heater’. The bathrooms are unheated and may only have cold water faucets, so one does not “linger”. We have taken an attitude of “to heck with energy conservation, we just want to get warm”… we run the propane heater any time we are in the camper, switching to the electric heater during the coveted generator hours.

This cool weather puts me in the mind for Thanksgiving (actually the snow made me think of x-mas) and it makes me a bit homesick. I picture the cabin and the wood stove, and cozy blankets, and family. I can almost smell gingerbread or apple crisp. And being a bit homesick, I notice the lack of communication services. It is tough to stay in touch like I'd like. Phone reception seems impossible to get, and internet is sporadically available - sometimes I "pirate" the internet from RV parks or gas stations or hotels by parking nearby (it they don't password protect their Wi-Fi). Other times, the local libraries might have internet.The other day, I just really wanted to check email and send a note, so we paid $3 / 15 min  for internet use! The up-side, they had good home made pie.   : )

But by far, the things that we have seen and the experiences that we have been having….have been worth the “inconveniences”.DSC01971


They just remind us, that if you want to have an “overlook,” you have to climb the hill……….


I am writing this post, sitting at Glacier Park Lodge in front of the lobby fireplace. We had a reservation for last night (Aug. 31st). Occasional breaks from the “camper life” have really helped. We have another couple of Lodge stays planned- Sept. 3rd at Many Glacier Hotel, and Sept 9th at Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn.


We are making the most of this rainy day, doing laundry, catching up on my blogs, and other “inside” things. Thursday, we have a day of hiking planned – rain or shine…….though the forecast looks promising…..    : )

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