We stopped at the Columbia Ice Fields and walked up to the toe of the Athabasca Glacier. This tongue of ice is a kilometer wide and six kilometers long. The rock surfaces have been scratched by the ice pushing rock debris into them as the glacier flowed.
Markers show how the glacier has receded more than 1.5 kilometers in the past 125 years. The effects of global warming are evident as the ice seems to be receding more quickly than before.
At the toe there is a small area were you can step onto this ancient ice and walk on the glacier. Signs warn not to venture farther as crevasses can be hidden anywhere. In fact, there is a sign telling a tragic tale of a young boy who fell into a crevasse and perished before park rangers could rescue him. However, despite the warnings, some reckless individuals venture far out unto the ice taking their children with them.
There is something magical about seeing land that until recently has been covered by ice for thousands of years.
[tags]Columbia Ice Fields, glacier, global warming, Athabasca Glacier[/tags]