Wednesday, October 29, 2008
So here we are on the Athabaska Glacier, disembarked from our custom-made Terrabus. Of the 23 Terrabuses in the world, 22 of them take folks out on the ice The 23rd is at McMurdo in Antarctica, and its name is "Ivan the Terrabus."
That's your Antarctic humor for the day.
As you can see from the second photo, the Athabaska comes down in three huge frozen waves before forming a long ice river that stretches down into the valley.
Let me tell you, life on a glacier is cold. And slippery. There was a forty-knot wind pouring down the glacier, threatening to blow us all the way to Banff. I was the hardiest of our group, running on and off the bus either to warm up or take pictures, and even with frequent warming stops on the bus I couldn't take more than 20 of our allotted 25 minutes.
The glacier has been in retreat ever since 1860, and loses on average about 30 feet each year. Except that the loss has doubled since 2000, as a result of climate change.
Glaciers. See 'em while you still can.