As my trip nears the end, I set out to do one of the most awe filled adventures yet: a flight to the icefields in Kluane.
As I got closer to my time in Kluane, I started making arrangements for the flight with Icefields Discovery. Weather is tricky at the icefields and it was hard to nail down a time. I was being picky too and wanted morning light since that would be best for photos. As the day approached it was looking more and more like the weather was only going to cooperate in the afternoon… The morning of my flight I emailed the airstrip and was told that the weather was working better than they thought it would, so if I could make it for 10am, there was a flight going out. So I headed for the airstrip by Kluane Lake.
At the airstrip they walked us through the safety stuff including where the surivial gear was stored in case we crashed… Seriously though, the flight was smooth aside from a small bit of turbulence and I never felt nervous at all.
We took off and headed up the Slims River Valley. I got to sit in the front, which worked great for pictures!
The mountains in Kluane are absolutely massive and the flight accentuated that. There was some wonderful fog around the mountains and the weather was perfect!
Looks great, right?
That was just the intro. Next up was the Kaskawulsh Glacier, which is just too big for my absolutely massive adjectives to describe. It’s something like 70 km long and it covers 39,000 square kilometres!
The crazy thing was, there were smaller glaciers feeding into it. Glaciers that in normal situations would be amazing…but they were insignificant in the face of the Kaskawulsh.
It’s interesting to note that even this glacier is receding. At the end of the Kaskawulsh there are 2 river valleys. Historically, a large amount of the melt water flowed down the Slims River Valley into Kluane lake, but a few years ago it receded far enough that the water now goes down the other valley. This has left Kluane Lake without its main water source and it has lost a bunch of water level since I was here last.
So, all this ice…a massive glacier. The icefields are amazing, right?
This is still just getting started.
As we reached the top of the glacier, the icefields spread out before us, blanketed in fresh, untouched snow. The scale was even crazier. The fresh snow makes it seem like such a small scene…but then realize…those are serious mountains among the snow.
These are the worlds largest non-polar icefields. Basically meaning, outside of the north and south poles, this is the most ice in one place in the world. And the flight I went on just dipped into a tiny amount of it. You could fly for hours across these.
One of the draws to this flight is that I got to see Mount Logan, which is the highest mountain in Canada and the second highest in North America. It was hard to take in its size. But considering, we were flying around 9300 feet…and it still towered above us.
Of course there’s more. (I just love building the epicness of these stories)
We landed on the snow below across from Logan. The plane had skis that lowered below the wheels. The landing on the snow was super soft.
We didn’t have much time out on the snow. It felt a bit rushed, but it was a great experience. One I won’t forget. It’s crazy that I went from a decently warm, fall day to this in just 30 minutes. And this ice is here year round.
I snapped a few pics before we had to leave. The flight back was amazing as this time I was on the south side of the plane, so I was staring deep into the icefields.
Back at the airstrip it was warm again and the snow was gone. A smooth landing, and about 1.5 hours after it began, it was over.
It was a bit of a whirlwind. I would have liked it to be a bit slower…so I could take it in better and remember more than just the photos. But it was absolutely amazing. The photos bring me back to that feeling of flying through the air, surrounded by the most spectacular mountains ever.
It’s hard to fully take in these majestic glimpses. Majestic glimpses of a world created by our great God. Glimpses that tell us just how mighty and powerful and creative and beautiful HE is. Glimpses that bring us back for more again and again.
In a way, this is the end of the trip. I still have a couple more things planned, but nothing is going to top this. It’s all downhill from here. The slow return to normal life. But what memories and stories I’m left with. How glorious. I pray that God will use these stories and memories to change who I am and make me more like Him…and that others would be drawn to Him through my stories.
(there will likely still be a few blog entries left before I’m home, but the end is approaching fast)