Sunday, September 21, 2014

Water, water everywhere and a lot of it is frozen...

One of the highlights of our trip was visiting some amazing waterfalls, huge gorges carved out of the mountains.

Our first stop was Sunwapta Falls:

Apparently the odd person climbs the fence for a closer shot,
often to disastrous results.  Darwin is alive and well.

Yup that's Barry and I up there on that bridge!

On the way to the falls, we passed a herd of mountain goats.  The things about Jasper National Park is there is wildlife everywhere, and every tourist stops on a dime at the side of the road and jumps out for a photo.  (I, friends, would be one such tourist, though I stayed in the car when we saw the wolf!)

As a Capricorn, this was quite a delight for me, given our lack of mountain goats here in Eastern Canada.

There were some jokes about my excitement at seeing them because I am a Capricorn, but because I AM a Capricorn, I sloughed them off; slow and steady wins the race, my friends.  Onwards and upwards!

After the goats we headed to see the Athabasca Falls.

The Athabasca river flows through Jasper and I would say that the word Athabasca conjures up quintessentially Canadian images.  Every kid in elementary school learns about the mighty Athabasca in Social Studies.

look at the colour of that water!

The picture does not do justice to the milky blue of it!

We left Jasper the next morning, after sad goodbyes (it is always sad to say goodbye to my niece and nephew especially as they change so much between visits and are so wonderful!) and a rip-roaring good meal with my brother and his wife at a fabulous little Jasper bistro, Syrahs.

We were en route to Lake Louise, but first, I needed to cross something off my bucket list, a dream first kindled in a Canadian geography textbook in the early 1970s.

1960's Canadian geography textbook
I don't think this was the actual book, but it was probably close...

My friends, I was going to the Columbia Icefields.

Lake Louise, Alberta Columbia Icefield Vintage Travel Poster Reprint (c.1933) - Eurographics Inc.

I was finally going to walk on a glacier!

Ever since I saw the first photos as a social studies student in Mrs. Garnett's grade 5 social studies class, I was obsessed with someday getting on one.  And this is the one to get on.

While the Athabasca glacier has been slowly receding since 1843, the ice fields are amazing.

Five glaciers come together on these ice fields and the effect is awe-inspiring.


On the way to Jasper, we had popped into the visitor's center across the highway to take a picture of the snow buses that were on the glacier.

Those buses are 5 km away

But now we were back.  We bought our tickets and hopped onto two buses to take us on the half hour trip onto the actual glacier.

We couldn't have picked a better day.  The day before had been stormy and snowy.  This day, we were rewarded with a gorgeous sunny day.

The picture below was taken standing on the glacier itself, which is the depth of the Eiffel Tower, looking up to the "steps" of the main glacier.

You sort of have the feeling you are in Frozen, and in my white fleece, I was channeling this fellow:

File:Olaf (2).jpg


The visitors centre is in the distance, where I took the very first picture above.
You can see how high and far away we are.

The glacier is now melting at an unprecedented rate.

I doubt my grandchildren will have the same opportunity to do what Barry and I did, though I sure hope so.

This melting will have devastating impacts on the water supplies of North America and I was reminded again, standing in this majestic place, how important it is to fight for the environment.  Since we currently have a canadian federal government who does anything BUT fight for the environment, it is time to get busy in advance of next year's federal election.

I am so happy I got to visit the ice fields and I highly recommend it!

Only one last piece on the vacation is coming up - living the high life in Lake Louise!

Have a great Sunday and stay safe out there!!! xoxo wendy


  1. Wowee, look at all that snow, my neighbours did this trip this year and utterly loved it.
    It's hot here, I know, utterly shocking, I have been basking all day in shorts and a white trash crop top.

    1. It is lovely here today as well. No crop tops for me, I leave them now to daughter's generation!

  2. Such magnificent views...what an amazing adventure you had, Wendy! How nice to be able to scratch something off of your bucket list, too. You are seriously cracking me up with your Frozen reference, and now I will have that song stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

  3. It's absolutely terrifying to see the rate at which the ice fields are receding. I first visited in 1983 and am utterly shocked at the difference now. It's wonderful that you went and are now drawing attention to the issue with your stunning pics.

    1. It's interesting though; I talked to some from the area and they said it wasn't that bad the last few years. The glaciers are all amazing, but I couldn't help but thinking of the big chunk that fell off mount edith cavell...

  4. Time to elect MrBP as PM! Ignoring this issue until it's too late isn't going to work out very well for us, but that's the way it's going.
    Loving the pics of you and Barry! What a stunning part of the world, I have to get there. Beautiful country we live in isn't it?

    1. Never! You'd never see him! He's too nice for that! You really do have to go.

  5. Oh that looks just amazing!
    The government here is in climate change denial too, they're shockers.

    1. I hope the climate change marches this weekend are just the beginning. We have an election in our province today and my vote definitely took the climate into account!

  6. Wow that is a phenomenal place to visit, I can't imagine a glacier up close like that. The landscape is stunning.

  7. Hi Wendy, I am so glad you got to see the Columbia Icefields. When I was a kid growing up in Alberta, my parents took us to see it and I will never forget the experience. I can tell from the photos how much the glacier has retreated, it is a shadow of what it used to be. When I visited Banff a couple summers ago, I was shocked to see that there little to no snow cover on the mountains - it used to be the case that snow would be visible on the mountains year round. The climate is changing and it is upsetting to me that governments and politicians refuse to recognize it.

    Looking forward to your Lake Louise report! One of my favourite places in the world!!

    1. It's funny - there was tons of snow while we were there - it had snowed twice and all the mountains were snow-capped.

  8. As a fellow Capricorn I understand about the mountain goat.

    Our government does nothing for the environment either

    1. Smr - as Caps, we must plot the downfall of these idiotic govs!

  9. What a wonderful trip you had. To go to a glacier in summer...good for you. I also hope to tred on one some day soon. I am infatuated with Glacier National Park. We all are called to be shepherd'so of this earth.

    1. I would be curious to visit Glacier National Park to see how it compares - we saw dozens of glaciers and all were spectacular! You are so right about the shepherds!

  10. Love the caption on your first photo - made me laugh a lot. The Darwin awards online are one of my favourite thing to read when I need a good laugh!!
    Such a beautiful country - even though it is 30 years since I was in Canada, and I was just a child, I can still remember it well. I'm very sad to hear about the glacier melting so quickly. Hopefully all this beauty will be there for my grandchildren to see too.

  11. Just beautiful! I've walked on Icelandic glaciers and was struck by how much "dirt" there was in them; this, unfortunately, absorbs the solar heat even more and contributes to melting. Those glaciers look very clean!

    1. There is a lot of frozen dirt on the edges, but the middle part is all ice and snow.


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