Icefields Parkway and Jasper Alberta

After leaving BC we and headed to Canmore, Alberta staying at the Spring Creek RV Park for three days. Early Monday morning we left at 6:30am to drive to the Columbia Icefields about 2 1/2 hour drive from Canmore. The whole way there it rained really hard and we were afraid that we wouldn’t be able to see the Icefields, however, when we arrived at 9am the sun came out and we went on the 9:30 tour in the Athabasca Glacier snow coach. A snow coach is a specialized vehicle, designed to operate over snow or ice, it weighs 33 tons, top speed is 25 mph but only 18 mph on the Athabasca Glacier, and it can transport 56 passengers, with six extra-large, low pressure tires. The Columbia Icefield is the largest ice field in the Rocky Mts of North America, astride the Continental Divide, it is about 125 sq mi in area, 330 ft to 1,198 ft in depth and receives up to 280 in of snowfall per year. The ice fields feeds 8 major glaciers, we could see 5 of them, North Face, Andromeda, Dome and Athabasca Glacier, which is the one we drove up onto in the snow coach. This glacier is approximately 3.7 mi long, covers an area of 2.3 sq mi and is measured to be 300-980 ft thick. However, it recedes at a rate of about 16 ft per year, when I was here in the 60’s it was massive compared to what I am standing upon today. We were excited to be able to see and experience the thrill of the glacier, without a mass of humanity. Continue reading