On my day off I hiked up a big piece of ice

I posted on the WoW blog that I was switching my priorities to this blog. Now I have to deliver.

So for you visual types, I present to you: What I did with my weekend off.

Last weekend I had a birthday (yay birthday!) and two consecutive days off work (and the two days before that were really short so it was almost like 4 days off work, which, when you’re me, is a BIG DEAL). My buddy Andre from Toronto whom I met in Newfoundland and who now lives in Northern BC came to visit, so I dragged him and his phone camera to Jasper Park.

@darthregis from Twitter suggested we check out the Columbia Icefield.

We were lucky and got a beautiful warm day.

See, no jacket. Also notice the lack of rain. (And do not notice the lack of haircut, k thx.)

It gets much colder on the icefield, but it’s ok because scaling a big icy thing (I can’t say big icy mountain since we didn’t attempt to climb the actual ice mountains) keeps you warm. There are busses that will take you up and onto the top part of the ice, but the trips were rediculously expensive (70$ per person for a ride up the Icefield? WTF?) and you probably get more out of your adventure if you hike up the field yourself anyway.

I made it to the top were the view is pretty, but unfortunately, I fail and didn’t bring my own camera. So instead of the nice view from the top, you get a nice view of the top.

I believe I’m that tiny figure at the far distance.

Here and there, on the field, there are small chasms formed by water running under the ice. There are signs pretty much everywhere telling you to stay off the icefield because you can’t tell where the ice is too thin to support our weight. The signs reinforce the fact that if a chasm opens under you, you’re probably not going to be rescued in time. Obviously, everyone ignores said signs.

You don’t notice chasms much on the way up, but you can see them much clearer on the way down. While none of them seemed overly deep, that water is COLD. I can see how it would suck to fall in. I made my way down very carefully.

The chasm in the photo above has become a river, but yeah, openings like these form all over the Icefield.

After our little hike, we head across highway to the Icefield Centre to use the inhouse (as opposed to the outhouse, which was really lacking on the icefield side of the highway) and get a few last snapshots of the mountains of ice.

And that’s what I did with my day off!

If you do find yourself exploring the Rockies one day, the Columbia Icefield is definitely worth the trip. It’s a tiny bit north of the midway point between Banff and Jasper and a round trip hike takes a bit over an hour. And if you stay away from the overpriced busses, it’s free (assuming you’ve already bought your park pass). Just another demonstration of Mother Nature’s generosity.

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