Saturday, September 9, 2017

Athabasca Glacier


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:

Canadian Rockies Day 1
Canadian Rockies Day 2
Canadian Rockies Day 3
Canadian Rockies Day 4
      Lake Louise
      Moraine Lake 
Canadian Rockies Day 5
      Icefields Parkway Part 1

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 Athabasca Glacier.


From 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:

22 comments:

  1. Athabasca Glacier looks like such an amazing experience! (I think I keep on saying variations that about your Canadian Rockies trip 😂) What was it like riding in the Ice Explorer?

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    1. Riding the Ice Explorer was very neat. It was high up off the ground, so the view was great. The Ice Explorers move pretty slowly. Near the start of the trip, you go up a very steep incline, which was a bit frightening, but other than that, the ride was great.

      Ellie

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  2. Anonymous9/09/2017

    I have found aspects of the Glacier visit disappointing as well. Eileen

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  3. Anonymous9/09/2017

    Very interesting! I could of never walked on the skywalk, it gave me the willies just looking at the picture. surely looks like a trip your never forget...Jane

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    1. I just tried not to think about it. Lol.

      Ellie

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  4. Anonymous9/10/2017

    I've really enjoyed your photos, they are some of the most beautiful I have seen. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. That's very kind of you to say. Glad you're enjoying them. :)

      Ellie

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  5. Peters fam9/10/2017

    Yes! Totally enjoying the posts on your trip! Hope you carry on to the end!...That ice explorer would scare me a bit though. It didn't slip on the ice some? I have the willies about sliding on ice. I slid down a long hill in the vehicle on black ice towards a river at the bottom several years ago. Had my 2 little girls along too. I prayed soooo hard! And lo and behold before I hit the bridge at the bottom my back tire slid around and hit a pile of hay beside the road and my vehicle stopped. My heart was beating so hard...anyway I know God heard my cry and answered my prayer!

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    1. Hi Peters fam,

      The Ice Explorer didn't slip on the ice. It moved quite slowly and had huge tires for traction. The only freaky part was going up a steep incline.

      Wow, that sounds very frightening! Praise God that you're okay. What a great example of a mama's strong faith for your girls.

      Ellie

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  6. Anonymous9/11/2017

    Your trip has inspired me to plan a trip next summerTNto Canada

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  7. Anonymous9/11/2017

    Thank you for sharing these photos of trip.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

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  8. Shela G9/11/2017

    What a grand adventure y'all had in Canada!! Thank you for sharing the amazing pictures.

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    1. It's my pleasure! I have a couple more days worth of photos to share, but they will be coming to an end soon.

      Ellie

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  9. Anonymous9/11/2017

    You do amazing photography, Elli! Thank you for sharing. We were there years ago but the glass skywalk hadn't been built. Do you happen to have any information as to when it was built? Also, is the glacier progressing or regressing? Thanks for your photos and sharing your trip. Barb

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    1. What a kind thing to say, Barb. Thank you! I believe the Skywalk was built in 2014. And unfortunately the glacier is disappearing. :( What else did you visit on your trip years ago?

      Ellie

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  10. Anonymous9/11/2017

    This was a good story and good pictures. Thank you it is interesting the t"hings there are to see and do.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it. :)

      Ellie

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  11. Anonymous9/12/2017

    Thank you for telling us about your trip. It sounded like you two had a lot of fun. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself.

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    1. It's my pleasure. We had a ton of fun on our trip.

      Ellie

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  12. Anonymous9/20/2017

    It looks like you guys had an amazing trip. Are you planing on having any children?

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    1. Yep, we hope to have children one day. :)

      Ellie

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