Field Memories

Happy Valentine’s Day!

One of the things the peer reviewers said about my book was that they wanted to see some pictures of the places and events I describe. So I’ve spent the last two weeks going through old photos (slides and prints – yes, that old!) and trying to select the ones that best illustrate my field experiences, and that will look okay in black and white. I thought I’d share some here, as a preview of what’s to come in the book.

This is me at Lake Louise when I was a baby. My Oma is pushing the stroller, and my sister is in the green jacket.

This is me learning to cross-country ski. I’m not sure how it worked with basically just flat pieces of plastic on my feet. And notice I’ve left my poles behind me. My dad skiied a lot and I wanted to do it to. Of course he was a lot faster than I was!

This was my first real research project, done in summer 1998. I was working at Hilda Glacier just across the border between Banff and Jasper National Parks, studying hydrology.

This was my second big research project – three summers in the Arctic studying glacier hydrology. We got used to travelling in helicopters…

…and in Twin Otter airplanes. Out pilots were excellent-one chopper pilot flew us around under a heavy cloud deck and had to navigate by following the mountain slopes along the glacier.

This is one of our camps in the Arctic, at John Evans Glacier. With the glacier in the background, you can see the main cooktent in the foreground, with food in tubs around it. To the right is the mast of the shortwave radio. And farther right is one of our sleeping tents. This was taken in mid-June–in a few weeks the snow had melted away and we were camped on gravel.

This picture is a big deal for me, because it shows me standing on top of the nunatak (unglaciated peak poking through the ice) in the centre of the glacier. I had so many knee problems in the field that I never thought I’d make it to the top of the nunatak, so when I finally did I had to strike my explorer pose.

This photo was taken from our secondary camp, on the rock next to the glacier. It shows two of us climbing up the side of the ice en route to the proglacial camp. From this angle it looks daunting and steep, but somehow we got used to it.

In between fieldwork we had some great hikes in the Rockies – here I am at Jimmy Simpson’s old cabin in Wilcox Pass area.

Me at my weather station in the north Coast Mountains of BC, at Andrei Glacier in summer 2006. I did a summer project measuring local weather around the glacier and linking it to regional weather patterns.

I worked on the Fraser Plateau in winter 2006-08, west of Prince George, looking at the impacts of mountain pine beetle kill on forest snow. Here our new puppy, Jasper, and our older dog, Tsuga, are helping me dig a snow pit. They were good buddies.

Working in the Southern Rockies, near Coleman, Alberta, was beautiful. The charred forest stood out starkly against the snowy backdrop of Mt Coulthard.

We travelled by ATV to reach our Southern Rockies sites-here I’m with one of my students as we scout out sites for her MSc research.

After the Southern Rockies project I didn’t go into the field much anymore. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked outdoors doing anything other than gardening. It’s sad–and tells me something about how much has been taken away from my by my illness. We just started going back to the Rockies in 2022, which was great even though it had its challenges.

Here we are with our dog Tsilah, another faithful companion in the outdoors.

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