*notcot in nature , 10:32

Athabasca Glacier + Skywalk- 02.21.15

glacier0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

If there’s one thing that can truly make you feel small, it’s a visit to the Athabasca Glacier at the tip of the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park. While pictures are beautiful, i haven’t found that they even remotely do it justice… they mostly end up very white. It is so large, that unless you zoom way out and the people are tiny specs, you can’t even see most of it in frame. The glacier covers an area of nearly 2.5 sq miles and can be up to 1000 ft thick. Regardless of whether you are there in winter or summer, you have to climb up on it to see how incredibly LARGE it is. When you see the signs of where it USED to reach as you walk up the trails… you quickly realize that this monstrous glacier may not be here for many future generations to see. In the past 125 years, it has receded nearly a mile, and lost over half its volume! Every year it recedes another 16ft or so.

To my surprise, this is really a summer stop to do the full Columbia Icefield Glacier tour and to walk out on the Glacier Skywalk. In the winter, you can still walk out to the Athabasca Glacier on your own though, and its certainly far quieter than tour bus season when we first went by in Sept. Beautiful to see it in both seasons - its so different! Take a peek at the pictures of Sept vs Feb on the next page!

Skywalk as seen yesterday (Feb 21)… glacier1.jpg

… Skywalk as we saw it last trip (Sept 12) glacier2.jpg

The glaciers definitely seem more beautiful to me in winter - the shadows and the whiteness… wow! glacier3.jpg

You can even see those bright blue icy areas on the bottom right and middle left. glacier4.jpg

In September, it looked like summer from a far, but was pretty chilly when you drove/walked up to it! glacier5.jpg

For perspective - here’s a look from a great Earth Sciences Canada PDFglacier11.jpg

Bucky got his first tastes of Glacier water on that last trip, and i’m pretty sure he’s spoiled for life. glacier6.jpg

For a sense of scale, there are Bucky and Shawn checking out the very edge… glacier7.jpg

… and looking back down the trail towards the parking lot. See how tiny the people are? glacier8.jpg

Best signage! glacier9.jpg

And i can only imagine this is a big part of why it isn’t nearly as open in the winter… glacier10.jpg

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1 Notes

While I agree the Athabasca Lookout is a beautiful view, it is also a blight on the National Park system of Canada. The Canadian Government and the Parks Service stole a stunning view from the Canadian public and tourists from around the world and gave it to a private company. This view was, until recently, FREE…and now is the sole property of Brewsters Buslines. Canadian taxpayers fund the Parks and Brewsters reaps the rewards. The Canadain Government and Parks Canada should be ashamed!

----- JonO 23.02.15 07:54

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