Volcanologist plans tour of Canada’s valley of fire and ice

Join vulcanologist Cathie Hickson for a guided bus and walking tour of the volcanic history of southern Wells Gray Park on Sept. 1

  • Aug. 26, 2012 7:00 a.m.

Cathie Hickson wears a hard hat and carries an ice axe as she explores the mountains of British Columbia

Join vulcanologist Cathie Hickson for a guided bus and walking tour of the world-class volcanic history of southern Wells Gray Park.

The tour will take place on Saturday, Sept. 1. Local participants will gather at the Infocenter at 11 a.m. to meet the bus from Kamloops. The fee of $45 (from Clearwater or $75 from Kamloops) will cover the cost of the bus, a bag lunch, and a dinner at the Upper Clearwater Hall. Stops will include Spahats Falls, the Clearwater Overlook, Canyonlands Trail, the Mushbowl and Helmcken Falls, finishing at the Upper Clearwater Community Hall. Following a buffet dinner, the vulcanologist will give an illustrated talk that should end at 7:30.

Hickson is the only geologist to witness the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens up close and live to tell the tale. Since then she has had a brilliant career studying volcanoes worldwide.

“I am thrilled to kick off Wells Gray World Heritage Year,” she said. “The Clearwater Valley is an amazing place which I was lucky to explore as a student, unraveling some of its volcanic secrets. Sharing this incredible story of fire and ice with others is always a joy. I have a spectacular day planned!”

Formerly with the Geological Survey of Canada, Hickson now works on creating clean renewable electric energy from volcanic heat inside the Earth’s crust.

“Managing geothermal exploration in six countries keeps Cathie on the go,” said Wells Gray World Heritage Year co-organizer Trevor Goward, “so we’re very lucky to have her for this kick-off event.”

The trip will include short walks and sturdy footware is recommended, as is appropriate clothing such as rain gear.


Hickson’s tour kicks off Wells Gray World Heritage Year: a yearlong series of no-cost tours, hikes, field courses, lectures, and children’s events hosted by Thompson Rivers University and Trevor Goward’s Edgewood Blue. Wells Gray World Heritage Year celebrates the opening of the Wells Gray TRU Wilderness Centre in 2013 and promotes learning and research in Wells Gray Provincial Park. It runs from September 2012 through October 2013.



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