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This map shows the approximate location of the Columbia Ice fields (the double-red line is the Icefields Parkway. (Thanks to Wikipedia for this map.)
These next photos were taken from Alberta Highway 93, the Icefields Parkway.
This parkway makes the Columbia icefield one of the most accessible in North America.
It spans a wide plateau between Mount Columbia (13,000 feet) on the west and Mount Athabasca (11,500 feet) on the east.
Canadians consider this to be the most beautiful highway in the world. Its 143 miles travel through two national parks, roughly paralleling the Continental Divide.
Some interesting geologic layers exposed here.
The highest point on the Icefields Parkway is Bow Summit where "the bluest lake in the Rockies" -- Peyto Lake -- divides the Bow and the Mistaya Rivers. Chemicals in the rock flour scraped off the mountains by the glacier accounts for the bright turquoise color. Peyto was an early trapper/guide in the Banff area.
Here's a few pictures of Bow Lake.
These were taken before I learned how to stitch separate pictures together with software to create wide panoramas.
A non-self portrait.
More famous than Bow Lake is Moraine Lake in the Valley of Ten Peaks.
The lake is small (about 0.2 square mile) but is one whose photos are spread throughout the world.
It's at the bottom of a valley well named as The Valley of Ten Peaks. It's about an hour west of Banff and has hiking trails around it -- sometimes closed when the Grizzlies act up.
It's been nicknamed the $20 view since its image once graced the backside of the Candian $20 bill. Americans call it the $18.75 view.
A moraine is the accumulation of rock debris left by a glacier. Many alpine lakes contain such wash.
Previous pictures were taken at ground level. Then we used this hardware to see the ice field and some of its 8 glaciers from above.
The Columbia Ice field runs from Banff, Canada, down to Jasper National Park.
Probably shown (but not labeled) in one of these pictures is the Continental Divide -- which means if you spit in exactly the right spot, your saliva will end up in 3 different oceans: Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic.
This ice field feeds 8 major glaciers.
It gets about 23 feet of snowfall a year.
The ice field also feeds some major rivers including the Columbia -- which eventually separates Washington state from Oregon in its way to the Pacific.
Even the rivers here are blue! Probably from the quartz in the rock flour ground off by the glacier.
The lower levels of the ice field often have thick evergreen forests.
Scientists learned about the icefield after its discovery near the turn of the 20th century. However, studies of tree-rings found in the area show that the glaciers peaked around 1715, then receded only to surge again around 1840. Its been pretty much in retreat since then.
The icefield ranges in depth from about 300 feet to 1200 feet.
It's the largest ice field in the Rockies.
We stopped for lunch in a tiny green spot among the barren glacier
We found this wild animal foraging for food.
Our lunch spot
We were married about two weeks after this picture was taken.
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