Enjoyed wonderful alpenglow on Logan again this morning at 5:30am. One of the benefits of being grounded for our fourth night is being able to see this amazing view again. This time it lasted a lot longer as well, and gave us a chance to shoot some great time lapses.
Weather not looking too promising for a move this morning. Thirty kilometre an hour winds have been steady now for over a day, making the barely freezing temperature seem a lot colder. Am thinking that we may have to wrap up this leg of my trip with an exit if the opportunity presents itself. No use worrying about what I can’t change.
Slowly but surely though a bit of blue starts to break through the clouds. The winds aren’t getting any stronger and they won’t be a problem for landing the plane. So we begin to pack up once again, and try this one more time.
Some relief comes as at last word comes that Donjek will be coming in to relocate us to another part of the ice field. What a relief after the days of hoping! As it’s now Tuesday, and our final out time is Thurs, it’s decided that if did move, then we will have to get out on Wednesday afternoon, to help our odds of getting out on time as any change to our schedule could mess up Thurs.
That would give me one evening and one morning to paint. If the weather closes in again, this will become one expensive short-lived painting trip! In this place of immense spectacular landscapes, I decide to go for it. Who knows when else I will be back here again.
We fly for about a half an hour over more majestic peaks and glaciers, and find ourselves approaching a massive cliff face. Within minutes we have landed just on the other side, the top end of Dusty Glacier. Another wonderland.
Two hours of hauling our sleds up hill bring us close to the huge cliff, which is now positioned on the other side of the arching snow, and Brian finds us a safe spot to set camp a few dozen meters safely this side of the edge. He knows that I am looking for views, and the glimpse that I have caught caused my heart to beat a little faster.
We spend another hour or two setting up camp, which requires some significant digging in the snow to create wind walls for our tents as the pesky winds, especially at this higher elevation, just would not let up. An evening of painting awaits, my last evening of this leg of my month long expedition in Kluane National Park. I grad a few quick winks in the tent before heading out for another long evening that will take me past midnight again.
Brian leads the way, roped back up, as we head back toward the curving edge of the snow. Probing for snow depth and solidity as we go, the view begins to open up dramatically. It’s huge, and it’s breathtaking.
Roaming on the ropes for while I find a vantage point that is exceptional. The Hubbard Glacier below is backed by multi-peaked mountains, but even more impressive is the foreground ridge jutting in from the left side. Combined with the distant horizon, and numerous Nunatuks lining the closer edge of the valley, it has all the makings of a true wild vista.
I feverishly paint as the sun drops, trying to contain such an expansive scene on my little 16” x 12” linen panel. After exhausting myself with the process, and having eeked out a modest start on my painting, I am satisfied that I have come all this way, and have been so blessed to have such an experience.
I figure the evening is now over, and begin to think about packing up, and my warm sleeping bag in the tent. Then Brian points out over the wind “hey, isn’t that a bit of alpenglow down there?”. I look down to see a spot of pink on the lower right side of the cliff. As if a single ray of light was directing a hued shaft there. Rather odd though, as alpenglow normally catches the top of the mountains, not the bottom.
Then before our very eyes, the spot begins to grow. And grow.
For 10-15 minutes, we watch it spread across the cliff face, turning each spot of snow to a vivid orange-pink and creating such a magical atmosphere that I just put my paint brushes down and watch. Adam, Brian and I all just took it in with jaws gaping, ecstatically commenting on this natural phenomenon of beauty, until the last hint of colour fades. We’re in true awe.
Now, with image of large painting racing through my head, I think I’m OK with the idea of leaving the ice fields… for now.