I really enjoy visiting the Athabasca Glacier and I’ve been there many times. Located between Lake Louise and Jasper on the Icefield Parkway it is easily viewable from the road and there is a great hike to the toe of the glacier so that you can reach out and touch it.
Long and white, the glacier pours out between the mountains and can look very different each time you visit depending upon the season and time of day you are there. I’ve been to the glacier on days when it’s sunny, cloudy, raining and snowing and the photographs I get there are as different as the weather.
As everyone knows, weather plays a big part of photography. Here at the Athabasca Glacier weather can change quickly as you can see in the photo. On this day it was bright and sunny when my friend and I started to hike out to the toe. All of a sudden this storm rose up and over the glacier. I took this photo and then we raced back to the car. That storm was traveling surprisingly fast! In minutes we were engulfed in a blizzard that left us with minimal visibility, a reminder that Mother Nature is always in control.
If you haven’t been to the Athabasca Glacier you need to go. Not only because National Geographic Traveler magazine identified the entire Banff-Jasper route as one of their 20 “Drives of a Lifetime” but also because the Athabasca Glacier is disappearing. Parks Canada reports that because of a warming climate, the glacier is melting and over the last 125 years has retreated more than 1.5 kms. With the glacier melting 2-3 meters per year and climate change the way it is you better get your kids out to see it while they can.