A breathtaking glacier

A breathtaking glacier

“Jobs fill your pockets, adventures fill your soul”.

I am a passionate traveller and have visited many countries. In June 2019, I visited Canada along with my family. We visited one of the most beautiful provinces of Canada — Alberta. It was 4 hour flight to Calgary from Toronto. Soon after we landed in Calgary we headed for Banff region in the midst of Canadian Rockies.

The landscape was breathtaking. This region is also known for beautiful lakes like Moraine lake, Minnewanka lake, lake louise etc.

The small town of Banff itself is very beautiful and is a famous tourist destination. Beautiful hotels, multicousine restaurants, souvenir shops are situated everywhere in the town. The public transportation is free in the town.

Next day we decided to head the most visited places in the north — Athabasca Glacier which is situated at about 187 km from Banff. It is a massive ice field which is one of the six principal ‘toes’ of the Columbia Icefield, located in the Canadian Rockies.

Easily accessible, it is the most visited glacier in North America. The leading edge of the glacier is within easy walking distance; however, travel onto the glacier is not recommended unless one is properly equipped. Hidden crevasses have led to deaths of several unprepared tourists.

The ice field information centre stands across from the glacier. It is used as a lodge and for ticket sales for sightseeing on the glacier. Tourist centre and restaurant facilities are also on the site. Standard buses transport tourists to the glacier edge, where they board specially designed snow coaches for transport over the steep grades, snow and ice part way up the glacier.

These are 300 horsepower buses especially meant for driving over snow or ice. These are massive busses with 6 monster tyres and the tyre pressure is reduced to half so that they do not slip on ice/snow.

The glacier is approximately 6 km long, covers an area of 6 sq kms, and is measured to be between 400 to 1000 ft thick.

Due to the global warming, The glacier currently loses depth at a rate of about 5 metres per year and has receded more than 1.5 km and lost over half of its volume in the past 125 years. After spending around 5 hours on the glacier we headed to Columbia Icefield sky walk.

This is a cliff-edge walkway where giant glaciers perch above and the spectacular Sunwapta Valley spreads out below. The Columbia Icefield Skywalk experience features waterfalls, wildlife, fossils and more on an exciting 1-km walkway that leads to a platform where glass is all that separates you from a 918-ft (280 m) drop. The walk is presented in an interpretive storytelling format that will connect you to the natural world in a deep and meaningful way.

This was life time experience for all of us.

Samarjeet Singh Dhillon, Class VI, Yadavindra Public School (YPS), Mohali

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