Chris and I had our two-year anniversary this month (?!?!?!). Since we both already own too much stuff, we celebrated with a road trip. Last year for our first anniversary, we drove to Tofino on Vancouver Island. Some family members had given us money to use for just such a trip. With a little extra dough in our pockets, we felt free to splurge in ways we wouldn’t normally. For example, we took a boat tour to a hot spring on an island (previously raved about here). On paper, it sounded exactly like the expensive tourist traps I shy away from, but I was wrong. It remains one of my favorite and most talked about vacation experiences to date. With this in mind, I decided to plan a big-ticket experience that I would normally skip for our trip to Jasper.
Enter the Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure! The idea of actually driving out onto the Athabasca Glacier was so enticing. However, the reality of the “adventure” was, uh, meh. In the first place, 500 million people had the same idea as me that day (my mistake for having an anniversary on Monday of the August long weekend). Chris and I both feel harried in large crowds. Plus, that meant that we were nowhere near alone on the glacier. We failed at getting a picture of the two of us without a stranger in it. Not happening. Then, there was the weather – far too windy. Also, I stepped in glacier water up to my knee right off the bus. I do not blame anyone or anything besides bad luck, but having one ice-cold leg did not help me enjoy the rest of the day. On the way back down the glacier, our tour guide explained the extensive ecological and structural damage the buses cause. Great. Plus, Jasper is absolutely silly with glaciers. If you didn’t risk your life enough times this winter walking on ice (I, for one, had my fill), you might enjoy it. Otherwise, I’d say skip it and just look at the many wonderful glaciers from the highway or hiking trail! Rent a boat on Maligne Lake if you want a special occasion excursion. For me, it was a learning experience. I will continue evangelizing the merits of Remote Passages Marine Excursions and I will add in the disappointments of Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure.