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Alberta, Jasper National Park: The Athabasca Glacier

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To be perfectly honest before my last trip to Western Canada (Alberta & British Columbia), I had never felt snow or ice in the summer. I had never experienced my ears freezing-off in almost the middle of July. When I arrived in Revelstoke, British Columbia and saw all the snowy mountain peaks, I decided I wanted to get to the snowy/icy parts of at least one mountain ... I wanted to feel the winter in the summer - so to speak.

I knew nothing about glaciers or ice fields. My two other friends and I, only knew that the bears are bigger in Alberta and B.C (than the ones in Ontario of course). I did have a faint memory of a town called Jasper. Someone had imprinted it in my mind years ago - I have no idea who or when. Thus, I wanted to see the town of Jasper, Alberta and it just happened that to go there from Revelstoke, British Columbia, we ended-up driving by the Athabaska Glacier.

That was my chance of not only seeing some iced mountain peaks but actually taking a walk on a glacier in the middle of the summer. So we all went for a walk. It was quite the experience. I remember walking fairly high-up on the glacier and the wind was so cold that I had to put-up the hood of my jacket. I rarely do that, even in the winter but up there, it was cold!

I loved it though. I drank water from the melting glacier when I got thirsty; my buddies and I goofed around for a while, not really believing our surroundings and then, we made the trip down the glacier which I must say, it was tougher to do on the way down than on the way up. If you slip while going down, there is a good chance you will not stop until the bottom ... that would be a little painful in my opinion. I think there were ice shoes being rented or sold at the bottom of the glacier but those were not for us. We (or better say I) like the tough(er) road, usually.

For whoever thinks that there might be an opportunity to visit Jasper National Park, I encourage you to do so without any restrictions. One can go with a regular car, RVs, motorcycles, bicycles ... hitch-hike (it's pretty safe in my opinion - I often pick-up hitch-hikers), etc. Camping is also great and cheap. My friends and I camped there for the night, in the National Park not the glacier. Everything was superb and we got free wood!! That would never happen in Ontario ... wood is expensive here, even when you're in the middle of the forest.

(For those who were curious, I stand in the middle.)

Comments

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on November 15, 2020:

It is a gem of a place, Mrs. Woods. Quite remote as well so, You can truly experience wilderness. Also a tad cold - bring good clothing if You ever make a trip up there.

Thank You for the visit and comment. Best of luck!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 15, 2020:

Thanks for sharing all of those photos and telling us about your experiences of walking on that glacier. I have never been to Jasper National Park but would love to visit there someday.

Mr. Happy (author) from Toronto, Canada on November 15, 2020:

Haha, I so do love my camping and hiking, Mr. Manatita. You can domesticate a wolf but only partially. It will always run-off back to the forest from time to time.

Why would You be weary of drinking water from a glacier? I'm still alive. Haha!!

Canada is really amazing. I climbed this glacier with my buddies because I wanted to experience freezing cold in the middle of July. Well, I did it. : )

Thank You very much for the visit - cheers!

manatita44 from london on November 15, 2020:

You do love your hiking and camping. Canada has some real beauty spots for that. I'll be weary about drinking water from a glacier.

Is that your dog-face in the snow? Western Canada is truly awesome!

Cloverleaf from Calgary, AB, Canada on August 04, 2011:

It's quite an awesome feeling, walking on that glacier! Good walking shoes are an absolute must. You've inspired me to do the Icefield Parkway tour again. I hope you get to come back to Alberta for another visit soon.

Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on July 27, 2011:

The Wolfman Jack has finally revealed himself! The one in the middle. It reminds me of one of my favourite songs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DohRa9lsx0Q

This is another spectacular hub because the photos are truly amazing. I love the images you have conjured up here especially the one of drinking water from a glacier.

This is definitely going to be another stop on a trip I will take someday.

BTW I also like the idea put forward by Immartin of soaking in the hot springs and then plunging into the glacial fed pool.

You should be writing for a travel company because you really do make me want to go.

Thank you for sharing this and it sounds like you had great fun. For some reason I had imagined you on your own in the wilderness away from all humans and their influence. Have a great day.

lmmartin from Alberta and Florida on July 26, 2011:

I hope you went and soaked in the Mynette Hot Springs (the hottest natural springs in North America) after your hike. When you've had enough of the heat, you can jump into the glacial fed plunge pool to cool off. If you're heart keeps beating, you're in good shape.

Isn't Jasper just the greatest place? Not all built up like Banff but full of fun places.

Thanks for showing me pictures of home. Lynda

Tom rubenoff from United States on July 26, 2011:

I've never seen a glacier. Your article makes me want to go. Thank you!

amillar from Scotland, UK on July 26, 2011:

No wonder you look so fit.

k9charlee on July 26, 2011:

Beautiful pictures - I've been to Jasper National Park and it's amazing. The drive from Banff on the Icefields Parkway is one of my favorites.

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