Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Columbia Icefields Overwhelm in the Jasper National Park

Terry and I stopped at the expansive Columbia Ice fields twice to take in the view. The first time it was rather cold and overcast. Terry decided she wanted to hike to the base of the glacier. I was content to stay near the parking lot and paint the view. As I sketched, the mountains became shrouded in clouds. When the sun disappeared, the temperature plummeted. When it started to rain, I ran to a lean to that was a shelter for some maps of the area. The rain made it hard to complete the watercolor, so I put my supplies away and put on my rain gear. Then I waited in the shelter trying to avoid the cold winds.

Terry seemed to be gone forever. I started to worry that she might have wandered off the trail and gotten lost. There was no cell phone reception, so I couldn't call or text. It turns out that it is a much longer hike to the foot of the glacier than Terry expected. When she did get there, she asked a family with a car if they could drive her back to our car. She played the Disney animator card to get the family excited to meet the artist. It worked and the tourists asked me all about the films I had worked on and then they asked for an autograph.  I was just thankful that Terry was alright. The weather changes quickly at these high altitudes and Terry wasn't really ready for the sudden ice cold rains.

On our second visit we parked at the lot much closer to the receding edge of the glacier. Once again, Terry went off to hike while I did a second sketch of the ice field. Markers on the drive out show how the glacier has receded since the turn of the century.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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