A Happy and Fun-filled New Year!
Walking on the Athabasca glacier, with the A-A cirque glacier in the background, was the high point of our Canada trip in October. The Columbia Icefield is the largest (200 sq Km) of the upland snow fields high up in the mountains. The Athabasca glacier is one of several glaciers which “flow” off the Columbia Icefield at about 15-20 m/year. The winds racing from atop the Icefield (behind me), bring snow and gusty, bitterly cold winds. Because of the winds, M and I are hanging onto each other tightly, in the pic above.
Tourists gathered in front of the SnoCoaches on the glacier. Notice how tiny they look in front of the monstrous SnoCoach.
We were only permitted to walk on a 'groomed' part of the glacier. The normal glacier surface is 'turbulent' due to tumbling of ice-chunks as this frozen river flows downstream. The trapped air and meandering light give it an iridescent blue glow. After numerous attempts, a brief glimmer of sun and a very low angle of the pic permitted me to capture this color.
For a sense of the size of this glacier note the humongous tour buses parked in front of the glacier’s toe, which appear as little specks. The glacier is receding; about a century ago the toe was at the edge of the road. What part of global warming don’t people understand? Our SnoCoach had traversed just beyond the horizon on this glacier where the ice is believed to be more than 100 meters thick.
The access road along the lateral moraine. The trees though tiny (about 2-3 feet tall) are about 50 years old. Thats because of the ultra-short growing season (2-3 weeks/year) the bitterly cold winds and snow even in the middle of summer. This is also technically in the tree-less alpine region. Notice how the trees appear to be drawn along the road. I think the minimal – but significant – heat from the tour buses is sufficient to give a boost to the surrounding trees. Another sign of global warming!
Other Posts from our Calgary Visit:
- Breakfast In Calgary
- Lake Moraine, Canada
- Elements: Moraine Lake
- Scenic Drive to Columbia Ice fields & Banff
From our Montreal Visit:
- Montreal: A walking city
- Breakfast in Montreal
- From Montreal: Bouquets of Joy
- Be Mine
- Montreal: Mont Royal and the city