Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mountain Pass: POTD May 3

Mountain Pass

Driving on Highway 93 (The Icefield's Highway) is a breathtaking experience, especially if you are a landscape photographer, but as a driver you need to keep your eyes on the road. Although most of the highway has smooth wide corners there are a few areas were the road is extremely windy. The windiest section of the road is just before you reach the Athabasca Glacier, if you are coming south from Jasper. This particular section is marked off as a 50KM/H zone, due to the nature of the area.

You could easily drive faster through this section, but doing so could be dangerous for several reasons. During the spring black ice is prevalent along the higher passes of the highway, as day time highs are often around 1ºC/33ºF, even into mid May. If you do hit black ice going too fast and need to stop for some reason, you might find your vehicle crashing into one of the many rock-faces on the side of the road, or going off a steep cliff. Why might you have to stop quickly? The high mountain passes are frequently home to Big Horn Sheep and Mountain goats. Either way, going too fast through steep mountain passes isn't a good idea.

Big Horn Sheep