Adventure Caravans / tours by RV to Alaska and the Canadian Rockies in 2008
Adventure Caravans / tours by RV to Alaska and the Canadian Rockies in 2008
Day 7 - Canmore to the Columbia Ice Field
We had another typical evening and morning in Canmore. Rain at night and low hanging clouds as we left the campground. On the road we were once more treated to an amazing vista at each turn of the road.
This is "Crow Foot Glacier". When it was first discovered, it had three claws and reminded them of a crow's foot. Since then, the lower claw has melted. This is a close-up picture of the Crow Foot glacier.
This is a panoramic picture of Bow Lake. Notice the color of the water. It is a very light turquoise which is created from the rock flour ground up by the movement of the glaciers.
Every corner we turned was another view more magnificent then the previous.
This is Bridal Vail Falls. Just another beautiful view.
Tonight we are staying in a parking lot at the Columbia Ice Field Visitor's Center. Even without any facilities, it is a wonderful place to stay. What an extraordinary view of the Athabasca glacier in the background. Here is a closer view of the glacier. Notice the small horizontal dots along the glacier? They are the snow coaches we'll be taking to view the glacier up close.
In 1884, the glacier was where the visitor's center is located today. It is now over a mile away and receding more each year.
What we could not see was the Columbia Ice Field itself. It feeds all the glaciers we've been seeing. This is a diorama of the ice field. The Athabasca glacier is the one represented in the center of the picture. We all were scheduled to take a snow coach trip on the glacier at 3:00; so here we are patiently waiting for our bus.
We were transferred to a snow coach and driven up onto the glacier. Yes, it was chilly up there and we were all dressed appropriately. This is what a snow coach looks like. The wheels are 5 ft tall and carry 15 lbs of pressure.
We were told to stay on one side of a little river of water that was flowing across the glacier. Crevasses are laced throughout the glacier and we were strongly warned not to walk out on uncharted parts of the glacier. The water coming off the glacier is very pure. Here Susan holds up some ice crystals she took from the stream bed.
Jill Baumann is reaching down into the little stream bed to gather some ice. The bottom of the little stream was pure ice and was a beautiful blue color. Susan Shallbetter is showing the height of the tires; she is exactly 5 feet tall.
There were two smaller glaciers on the side of Athabasca mountain, just above the main glacier. This is a close up picture of Hanging glacier. And this is Cirque glacier.
This is a snow coach used in the 40's made by Bombardier Company, who later became famous making snowmobiles. In the 50's they took a regular bus and mounted it on tracks. It was very rough riding and since the windows did not open, it got hot in the Summer. They referred to it as "Shake and Bake".
Coming back up the 35 degree incline to the snow coach drop off point. Wheee!! After we returned, we had a "heavy appetizers" get together. It was more like a pot luck dinner. Yummy; right Carol?!!
After eating, we had a short driver's update from Phil & Spence Schaff . Did I mention is was cold? No, don't look at Loren, our resident eskimo, look at how the rest of us are dressed.
The time is now about 9:00 PM and Susan and I are coming down from our walk to the base of the glacier. You can just make out the campers in the parking lot and the visitor center toward the top of the picture. This shows how the glacier scrapes away at the rock as it moves across them.

Just a little note: It is now 10:00 PM, the sun has not yet set and we are not even close to Alaska yet.
Day 8

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