Have y’all been enjoying seeing photos from our trip to the Canadian Rocky Mountains? For those who have missed past post, here are all the links:
And now for my next post, our tour of the Athabasca Glacier. This was certainly one of the highlights of our trip.
After spending the day driving along the Icefields Parkway, we stopped at the Glacier View Inn for the night. We dropped our bags off in our room; grabbed our winter jackets,
hats, and gloves; and embarked on our glacier tour. A coach bus took us
partway up the mountain to a transfer station, where we boarded a giant
Ice Explorer, which took us up onto the Athabasca glacier.
The Ice Explorer is a very unique vehicle that is able to climb up extremely steep slopes while gripping the ice. Aside from the one used by the United
States Military up in Alaska, they are all currently being used on the
the hotel, the glacier looks very small, but once you’re up there, you realize just how massive it really is. As deep as the Eiffel Tower is tall, the Athabasca Glacier is approximately 6 km (3.7 miles) long and is receding at a rate of about 5 meters per year.
On the way up, we passed pine trees that are 300-700 years old. The growing season is only 60-90 days, so despite their age, the trees are quite skinny. They aren’t
very tall, either.
When the Ice Explorer completed its climb up the glacier, we were able to hope out and walk around. It was crazy to think just how thick the ice was below us.
Although the park officials were unable to legally prevent visitors from walking outside of the designated area, we were not about to wander off after hearing about the danger of falling into a crevasse (a deep, narrow opening in the ice).
Although it was cold, we took our gloves off and took the opportunity to try some fresh glacier water.
After the glacier excursion, we spent a few minutes on the Glacier Skywalk, a transparent platform jutting out from the edge of a mountain. It was a bit disappointing, as it didn’t actually look out over the glacier but over a valley a few miles away from the glacier. If you’re afraid of heights, you may not enjoy the skywalk, as it hangs 30 meters (98 feet) in mid air.
Check out this video that we made on top of the the glacier: