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The two RV Gypsies and
the Glacier Snowcoach Adventure
Highway 93, Icefield Parkway,
Jasper, Canada
'403.762.6735
August 3, 2015

  • The two RV Gypsies were excited to have the opportunity to be in the Canadian Rockies once again, and this time they decided to tour the Athabasca Glacier in a giant Ice Explorer, called a snowcoach. During this unique 80 minute journey, they learned how glaciers are formed and saw incredible geological features.

    . They even got out of the snowcoach and walked on the 300-metre-thick sheet of ice during a short stop in the middle of the glacier.

The Terra Bus wheeled vehicle is one of the few snowcoach type vehicles currently produced. It is an all-wheel-drive, three axle, off-road bus which is specially constructed for use in Arctic climates by the Canadian specialty vehicle manufacturer Foremost, based in Calgary.

The Terra Bus can transport up to 56 passengers. The vehicle is equipped with six extra-large, low pressure tires - typically filled to 30 pounds per square inch . Length 48.9 feet.

Below: The Athabasca Glacier and the route that the snowcoach undertakes.

The Athabasca Glacier and snowcoach road

warning sign about the excursion

The journey on the Glacier Adventure started at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre where the two RV Gypsies boarded a shuttle and traveled towards the Athabasca Glacier. As the glaciated terrain became more rugged, everyone transferred to the snowcoach. Karen took photos out the side window of the snowcoach.

snowcoach

snowcoaches

looking through the front window of the snowcoach

The Athabasca Glacier

Along the way, the driver shared information about glaciers and ice fields and their impact on our environment. Even the dirt area is actually part of the glacier.

The Athabasca Glacier and snowcoach road

The Athabasca Glacier

The Athabasca Glacier

The Athabasca Glacier

The Athabasca Glacier

The Athabasca Glacier

The Athabasca Glacier

The red arrow in the photo below is pointing to the RV and toad of the two RV Gypsies in the parking lot of the Icefield Centre, as seen from the traveling snowcoach.

The RV of the two RV gypsies

snowcoach

The dots seen on the 'road'
in the photo below are snowcoaches.

Below: One snowcoach in the dust
and one on the 'road' ahead.

The Athabasca Glacier

snowcoach

Below: Alongside the snowcoach path, Karen photographed a small, slow moving river of ice that goes 30 stories deep.

The Athabasca Glacier

The Athabasca Glacier

water on The Athabasca Glacier

water on The Athabasca Glacier

water on The Athabasca Glacier

The Athabasca Glacier

Time for the two RV Gypsies to exit the snowcoach and walk on the glacier.

Lee Duquette on The Athabasca Glacier Lee Duquette and his buddies

The two RV Gypsies head for the water flowing down the bank of the Glacier.

Karen Duquette on The Athabasca Glacier Karen Duquette

Karen did not bring her water bottle with her to refill with the pure glacial water that was flowing by in rivulets, so she decided to cup her hands and get a few sips of the water anyway. She had to be careful not to fall into the crevice while reaching for the water.

Karen Duquette drinking the water Karen Duquette drinking the water

The water tasted great, but almost froze Karen's hand off.

Karen Duquette drinking the water Karen Duquette drinking the water

Below: A close up of the water as it reached the crevice area, and the water on the floor of the glacier.

flowing water on The Athabasca Glacier The Athabasca Glacier

There were people everywhere. Suddenly there was a bit of a commotion because a hole opened up where a lady had stepped and when her friends helped her get her leg out of the hole, her sneaker was still in the hole. So someone reached down into the hole to get the sneaker for her. She dumped the water out of the sneaker and had to wear it again. Bet her foot was frozen for real!

lots of people everywhere digging for a lost sneaker

Lee and the Canadian Flag.

Lee Duquette and the Canadian Flag Lee Duquette and the Canadian Flag

Karen's foot sank into a small hole as she was holding the Canadian flag, but she moved quickly enough not to get trapped in the hole like the other lady did.

Karen Duquette and the Canadian Flag Karen Duquette and the Canadian Flag

Below: Another area with water flowing down into a crevice. This water was flowing faster and wider than the other section.

water on The Athabasca Glacier water on The Athabasca Glacier
Karen Duquette on The Athabasca Glacier Lee Duquette on The Athabasca Glacier

Karen had a harder time reaching for a drink of water this time.

Karen reaching for the water Karen reaching for the water
The Athabasca Glacier
The Athabasca Glacier The Athabasca Glacier
The Athabasca Glacier The Athabasca Glacier
The Athabasca Glacier The Athabasca Glacier
The Athabasca Glacier

Time to get back on the snowcoach.

Karen going back to the snowcoach Karen Duquette entering the snowcoach

Below: View from the side window
of the snowcoach.

Below: One dot on the 'road' ahead
- another snowcoach.

The Athabasca Glacier snowcoaches ahead

Karen stuck the camera out the small opening in the side window to get photos of the snowcoaches.

snowcoaches ahead snowcoaches
The Athabasca Glacier The Athabasca Glacier

Glacier Definition: Glaciers form where more snow falls in the winter than melts each summer. As the snow get thicker and heavier, it compacts into dense glacial ice that slowly flows downhill, like a river of taffy. Water flows to three different oceans from this area, known as a hydrological apex. On the British Columbia side of the icefield, meltwater flows into the Columbia River and eventually into the Pacific Ocean. On the Alberta side, the North Saskatchewan and Athabasca Rivers feed into the Atlantic Ocean and Arctic Ocean, respectively. These rivers provide fresh drinking water for millions of people and are crucial to agriculture and countless ecosystems. That's why their source is protected in a national park.

The Athabasca Glacier The Athabasca Glacier

At the end of this adventure, the two RV Gypsies travelled in their RV to Banff and took a few photos along the way, mostly of Bow Glacier.

Bow Glacier Bow Glacier
Bow Glacier Bow Glacier

A waterfall

Wildlife Crossing Bridge

waterfall Wildlife crossing bridge
look below

please continue on to travel adventures of the two RV Gypsies Please go to the Canada sub-menu for more adventures in Canada