I recently visited Banff, the national park with the cutest name in the world. Even though the main town is surrounded by mountains with names such as Sulphur Mountain, it is as far away from Mordor as one could imagine.
The area was first settled in 1880, as railway workers discovered hot springs near Sulphur Mountain. Fast forward to present day, and the area is one of the most popular destinations in Canada.
The Rocky Mountains in itself is a very impressive mountain range, reaching all the way from northern British Columbia down to New Mexico. The name is taken from their appearance as first described by a French explorer in 1752. The particular parts of the range in the Banff area are known as the Canadian Rockies.
The only way to get up to the Athabasca Glacier is by large snow coaches. Supposedly there are only 20 of them in the world. I walked on the glacier and pondered that it’s about 250 meters of ice below me, almost the height of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. At the other side of the brim is the Columbia Icefield, the largest in the Rocky Mountains.
Sadly the glacier is disappearing. It is currently withdrawing about five meters every year and the glacier has lost half of its volume in the last century due to global heating.
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