I can only imagine what it must feel like to work for the National Geographic and visit remote places like the North or South Poles. The summer of 2016 gave me the opportunity to experience what might be close to what the NG field crews get to feel and see. Fortunately the Columbia Icefields is neither remote nor difficult to reach.
The Canadian Rockies offer a variety of experiences available to people of all ages and abilities. You can enjoy the town of Banff and the magnificent hotels in the morning and hike to the toe of a glacier in the afternoon. This is done with a car and a hiking stick.
My most memorable moment of this trip is when I hiked to the toe of Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Icefields. Gray clouds were hanging low and moving fast. It was cold and windy with sleet stinging my face. I said to myself, “This is what it feels like to work for the National Geographic!” It was totally awesome and I loved every minute.
Getting to the Columbia Icefields is not difficult, just take Hwy 93 west from Banff in Alberta for about 2.5 hours. The trailhead is directly across from the Icefields Visitors Center which you can’t miss because it’s the only thing out there. Driving along the Icefields Parkway can take longer than you might expect with all the scenic stops offered along the way.