Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ice Bear

A visit to the Rockies would not be complete without a trip to the Icefields!
This is the Athabasca Glacier - which flows out of the Columbia Icefield (which is just over the horizon). The glacier has been getting a lot smaller as time goes on.
This is where the toe of the glacier was in 1908... that is over 100 years ago - it's gone back quite a ways!
Sandy had been told that ice and snow and glaciers reflect a lot of light... so he cam prepared with sunglasses... but so far there is no snow or ice nearby!
We are going to have to hike a bit if we want to get to the toe of the glacier! It is just over that hump in the background...
Along the way Sandy gets distracted by some beary pretty flowers! These ones are called Alpine Fireweeds.
They are beary pink and look beary cute!
"Are we there yet"? Nope... this is only where the glacier was in 1982... 30 years ago! Still no sign of it... we are going to have to hike farther.
There it is! There's the toe of the glacier... except... this is as far as we can go. There is a cable fence that says it is dangerous to go farther because there is a glacial run-off stream cutting right across the front of the glacier - which means you can't even get close to it and touch the ice. Mama was here in 2007 and it was still approachable then... so it has retreated even since then.
Another danger with glaciers is crevasses - big cracks in the ice - which can be covered by drifted snow - but if you walk on the snow, you'll crash through. Good thing we can't get at the ice... a certain little bear tends to run before he looks!
So Sandy has to content himself with examining some features left behind by the glacier... These scrapes in the bedrock are called glacial-striations. The bottom of the glacier picks up stones and basically turns into giant sandpaper - scraping the underlying bedrock.
Well, enough of that... here are some more pretty flowers. These are the red Indian Paintbrush... maybe Sandy should send some to Beanie so he can paint something?
And these are just regular - run-of-the-mill fireweed - but they looked so pretty.
Yay... that is Sandy's trip to the glacier. Maybe one day he will go to a glacier that he can actually touch... we'll have to see how that works out!


  1. Thanks Hammie! I hope you still get to go on adventures and take lots of pictures... despite school starting tomorrow!

  2. Beary nice pictures! Beautiful flowers too. Wish it was safe enough for you to have your photo taken standing on the glacier's toe. That would have been cool.

  3. Gorgeous photos Sandy! You have the perfect outfit for hiking in colder weather. But we think we'll wait a while before we starting thinking about ice and snow, hehe.

  4. @Buttons - Thanks! Always important to be safe... particularly for a little bear!

    @Jerry & Ben - Thanks guys! It is getting cool here and... leaves are turning yellow! Is it already September?