This morning I had the fortunate opportunity to fly from Vancouver to Terrace, BC on a clear and crisp October day. The two-hour flight path between YVR and YXT is up the west coast of the Canadian mainland over the Coast Mountains.
After 30 minutes of flying we were crossing the long fjord-like inlets Toba, Bute and Knight, that carve a path between successive mountain ranges along the coast. Each range features a spectacular drop to the the ocean from its glaciated peaks.
I was thinking that with any kind of luck we might fly right past the highest peak in the BC Coast Range, a rarely visible jagged spire with glaciers flowing in multiple directions from its base.
As Bute Inlet came into view, I could see the Homathko River at its head, and as we flew on, it was becoming increasingly likely that we would follow the river to the glaciers at the base of Mt. Waddington.
Wow — within minutes a steep glacier started climbing up and up from the Homathko River until it reached the base of Waddington, granite fingers with an ice coating, reaching to the sky. Amazing, we were flying at 16,000 ft. just above the Waddington summit of 13,000+ ft.
The near (southeast) side of Waddington holds the enormous Tiedemann Glacier, and beyond this point all the way to Terrace, is an almost unbroken series of ice fields and sharp peaks that define the wilderness of the BC northwest.
In the madness and technical focus of my daily work it is easy to forget the breathtaking natural beauty that exists in this part of world. I’m truly thankful that my job requires me to see it all in my visits to the 25 colleges and universities that make up BC’s public higher education system.