New Year Greetings 2008 – Alaska Glaciers


(click on image for a larger version)

Wishing You,
Your families, and
Future Generations

the Magnificent Joy of Nature’s Bounty
Enjoy it to the Fullest!
Leave it behind for the others!

Have a Wonderful New Year
Take care of the environment!

M&A


Continue reading “New Year Greetings 2008 – Alaska Glaciers”

Oh Alaska: Humpback Whales

In Seward, we took a day-long cruise to the Kenai Fjords. The entire coastal region with multiple bays, tidewater glaciers, and innumerable island and cliffs is part of the National Park System. Click here for a large (5MB) map of Kenai Fjord National Park. It was a perfect day to be out on the water: blue skies and in the mid 70's!

As the captain took us out of the Bay from Seward, the knowledgeable guide pointed out various features in the landscape, the glaciers along the way and the bird species we encountered. He knew exactly where to look for wildlife and guided the boat to nooks and cranies along the bay.

Along the way, we pass Bear Glacier (see map above) and slowly cruise the multiple islands in the Aialik Peninsula. There we saw a huge flock of seabirds on the water. The rich vegetation here attracts schools of fish, which in turn attract the seabirds. Here we saw various types of seagulls, mallards and the endearing puffins. The beautiful puffins, of course need a separate post to do them justice. The guide continued that if there is school of fish, the whales are not far behind. And as if on cue, a mother and calf humpback whale emerged, and caused the birds to take flight.

Here the mother whale is ready to dive. While most of the seabirds have taken flight, the puffins can barely fly a few meters and are still in the waters. These appear black with a white head and colored beaks.

Continue reading “Oh Alaska: Humpback Whales”

New Year Greetings 2005

On Athabasca glacier in Columbia Icefields, Alberta, Canada pic by Arun Shanbhag

Wishing Everyone
A Happy and Fun-filled New Year!

M&A


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.
Pics on Athabasca glacier in Columbia Icefields, Alberta, Canada by Arun Shanbhag
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.
Pics on Athabasca glacier in Columbia Icefields, Alberta, Canada by Arun Shanbhag
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.
Pics on Athabasca glacier in Columbia Icefields, Alberta, Canada by Arun Shanbhag

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!
Pics on Athabasca glacier in Columbia Icefields, Alberta, Canada by Arun Shanbhag

One more.
Pics on Athabasca glacier in Columbia Icefields, Alberta, Canada by Arun Shanbhag


Other Posts from our Calgary Visit:


From our Montreal Visit:

Scenic Drive to the Columbia Icefields

We had rented a car and drove from Calgary to Banff and then continued along the Icefield Parkway. This is a uber scenic drive named after the chain of glaciers and 'icefields' topping the Rockies. At every turn we were awed by spectacular vistas of snow capped peaks and glaciers creeping down! Here are a few pics taken along the drive.


The Fairmont Springs Resort in Banff!
Pics of the Fairmont Spring Resort in Banff, Canada by Arun Shanbhag

Crowfoot glacier. Peyto Lake is one of 100s of turquoise lakes fed of the glaciers.
Pics of the Crowfoot Glacier near Banff, Canada by Arun Shanbhag

Mistaya Canyon
Pics of Mistaya Canyon near Banff, Canada by Arun Shanbhag

Pics of Mistaya Canyon near Banff, Canada by Arun Shanbhag


From our Calgary Visit:


From our Montreal Visit:

Moraine Lake, a few more pics

Picture of Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada by Arun Shanbhag
Continuing my photo tour of Moraine Lake, in Banff National Forest, Alberta, Canada. Another view of Moraine Lake with only a few of the ten surrounding peaks.

On the right, this impressive mountain keeps a watchful eye on the serene lake.
Picture of Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada Arun Shanbhag

Behind me was this 'terminal moraine.' The glacier coming down the hill deposited remnants of rock in a nice pile before receding. Probably from 1000s of years ago. The pile of dead trees in the previous photo were to the left of this pile
Picture of Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada Arun Shanbhag

View from the access road, which closed the day after we returned and becomes a ski trail for the winter.
Picture of Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada Arun Shanbhag

Even the simple evergreen forests of douglas fir, white spruce and pine were breathtaking!
Picture of Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada Arun Shanbhag


From our Calgary Visit:


From our Montreal Visit:

Elements Part III: Water, Wood & Earth (Moraine Lake)

Pics from Moraine Lake Alberta Canada by Arun Shanbhag
In response to Minn’s query, I want to share this confluence of nature's elements.

About ten days ago we were in Banff National Forest, Alberta, Canada. There, nestled amidst ten tall mountain peaks was this crystal clear, azure blue Moraine lake, fed by long receding glaciers. The pile of dead trees have collected over centuries, when a rock slide likely sheared off a side of the mountain and created a wood and gravel pile. The absolutely dry weather, coupled with the ultra freezing temperatures keeps the wood from rotting. As part of the conservation effort, the Park rangers do not disturb anything in the wilderness and let nature take its course. The piles of earth on the left are also from rocky erosions over many centuries.


From our Calgary Visit:


From our Montreal Visit:

Visiting Lake Louise, Canada

I see everyone is enjoying deelight, radhika and basrya's pics. Sorry, I could not reply to your comments or see your related posts. Will catch once I return home on Wed next week.

We are having a blast here in Canada. Lake Louise is spectacular! An emerald lake fed by run-off from several glaciers. Lots of hiking, and ooohs and aaahs over fantastic vistas. We are so tired by the end of the day, we are in bed by 8:00 pm (the time zone difference too!). Today we traveled further north to the Columbia Icefields which feed 32 different glaciers. A special bus with gigantic tires took us about a mile onto the Athabasca glacier. With the constant run-off at one end and the snow falling at the other end, I felt I had stepped onto a living being. Fascination at walking on the glacier in blizzard like conditions was tempered with sadness, knowing/seeing the glaciers recede. In a generation, many of these will have melted away.

Work-related activities from tomorrow. Have a great day!


See our Picture Posts from our Calgary Visit:

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