Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Walking on a Glacier


On a third trip to the Columbia Glacier, Terry and I decided to go to the lodge at the base of the Glacier to sign up for a Glacier Adventure. Brewster, the company that runs these glacier adventures has been taking tourists onto the ice since before the area was made into a National Park. Inside the lodge was chaos as busloads of tourists purchased tickets for several adventure packages. Several miles up the road, a large glass overhang was built on the edge of an overlook which gave tourists a panoramic view while seeming to be standing on air above a steep drop. Terry and I didn't see the point of that view when there are amazing views and vistas anywhere you look.

The $55 Glacier Adventure involved a bus ride from the lodge across the highway to another parking lot at the base of the Ice. Here, everyone switched over to the huge Ice Rover which had immense tires worthy of a monster truck. Actually the tire were much larger than any monster trucks tires. This rover moved very slowly going uphill or downhill. The drive to get onto the ice field was perhaps half an hour. We drove to a spot on the ice that had been mechanically leveled. There we were allowed to get out and take photos for about 5 minutes. You heard me right, we were given just 5 minutes to take a few photos and then pile back on the bus.

The leveled ice filed clearing was perhaps 50 yards square. The edges of the field had the piles of blue shaved ice in 5 foot high piles. Walking on the ice field unsupervised is advisable since there are deep hidden caves and chasms that can kill an inexperienced hiker. Terry said she spotted several hikers wandering across the ice field as we were being driven back to the lodge. Guided hikes could be arranged with guides. Terry had hiked to the base of the glacier twice, so I'm sure she would have liked to climb up and wander across the expansive ice field. We both agreed that the Brewster adventure tour wasn't worth the money but it did get us up on the ice field for a quick glance around.

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