Wait, can I walk on the Athabasca Glaciers?

When I think of the Canadian Rockies, the things that instantly come to my mind are glacier-covered mountains, colossal pure white glaciers, waterfalls, turquoise blue rivers and lakes. The one thing that I never dreamt of was, walking on the glaciers!

“What? Can I actually walk to the toe of the glaciers?” I was talking to myself when I saw a board that read that one can walk to the Athabasca Glaciers.

I’ve only seen those mighty, white, mysterious glaciers from faraway. An opportunity to walk to the toe of the glacier? Yes of course, I’ll take it any day! We parked the car and started walking uphill at a brisk pace. As the chilly winds brushed us, goose bumps started appearing on our skin. The weather had been so howling hot all morning that I could have fried an egg on the sidewalk. I gracefully welcomed and enjoyed the nippy winds on the way to the Athabasca Glaciers.

Walking to the toe of the Athabasca Glaciers
Walking to the toe of the Athabasca Glaciers
Here's the toe of the Athabasca Glaciers, which have retreated over the years
Here’s the toe of the Athabasca Glaciers, which have retreated over the years

A glacial stream separated us from the glaciers. Due to the perils of glacial crevasses, it is advised not to cross the stream and touch the glaciers. However, I also learned that there are glacier adventure tours that will take you on gigantic ice explorers to the glaciers, and you have the chance to walk on them.

We came back another day, to do just that – walk on the Athabasca Glaciers!

The wheels of the ice explorers were as tall as me! As these ice explorers drove on the glaciers, we saw glacial mountains on either sides of the bus, ice falls on the verge of melting into pure water and the gorgeous Athabasca Glaciers right in front of us!

On the way to the Athabasca Glaciers.. Notice the ice falls?
On the way to the Athabasca Glaciers.. Notice the ice falls?
Notice the size of the Ice Explorer wheels!
Notice the size of the Ice Explorer wheels!
Inside the Ice Explorer
Inside the Ice Explorer

Initially, I was a bit scared walking on the glaciers. But then got used to it and started enjoying. I balled up the snow and threw them high above.

Find the little glacial melts and drink the pure water flowing down. Fill up your water bottles with the glacial water – it’s drinkable!

You can drink the glacial water, you know
You can drink the glacial water, you know

Admire the ponderosity of the pure-white glaciers; I felt so teeny-tiny standing there amidst them!

While returning, be on the lookout for Mount Snowdome (the triple continental divide or the hydrological apex), the water from here flows into three oceans – Pacific, Arctic and the Antarctic.

Mount Snowdome
Mount Snowdome

Notice the mile-markers that indicate the glacier’s retreat over the past two centuries. In 1840, the glaciers were all the way till the parking lot. Over the years they have retreated and it is predicted that at the current rate at which the glacier recedes, the glacier will very soon be replaced with a lake and a forest. That wouldn’t be cool, would it? Downsides of development?

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