Riding Shotgun with Al

Nature Lover:

Some people think sand is really neat; I happen to think ice is pretty cool. If you’re not aware, ice is frozen water and is typically the main component of a glacier. I’m a rather large dork (when it comes to natural sciences), thus my degree in Forestry.

The past couple days I’ve been reading about how almost all the glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park will likely be gone by the year 2020. According to a couple websites, there were 150 glaciers in Glacier National Park back in 1850. Less than two dozen of them remain today and are retreating at alarming rates. The source of the rapid retreat can easily be blamed on global warming. I really don’t want to get into a global warming discussion though. More than anything it saddens me to think how fast these ice dinosaurs are vanishing. It’s my hope my daughter can witness one of nature’s most jaw dropping creations for the rest of her lifetime.

I’ve been on several glaciers in my years outdoors. I’m always awestruck by the impressive size of even the smallest glaciers. It boggles my mind how some glaciers can be 2,000 feet thick and others are in excess of 30 miles long. I told you I wasn’t kidding about this SnObsession of mine. If you’ve never had a chance to see a glacier collapsing into a body of water, do it. It’s one of the most remarkable sights to see icebergs with your own two eyes.


About lessinges

Seattle native, discovering life! I like ice cream, cold cereal, and The Amazing Race.
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29 Responses to Riding Shotgun with Al

  1. I recently watched An Inconvenient Truth and it really blew my mind. I thought of that movie when I read your post.

  2. kirk says:

    I like sand in the desert. I like ice in my cocktails.

  3. Amanda says:

    WOW! I did not know about this Glacier National Park until reading your post. Sounds like a place I’d love to visit. I’m incredibly ignorant about all things snowy/icy so I’m a little confused about why you would want to see a glacier collapse into a body of water. Wouldn’t that mean that it will be gone after that? One less glacier?

  4. big bro says:

    “Calving” bro…that’s what you witnessed in AK when the glacier broke into the water…and watch out for the splash!

  5. sprizee says:

    Thanks. Now I’m going to have “Iceberg! Dead ahead!” in a ridiculous British accent stuck in my head for the next three hours. Oh wait. Or maybe chilly iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing. Mmmmmmm….

  6. churlita says:

    I’ve never seen an iceberg up close. I’d like to though. Maybe my next trip will be to Yellowstone.

  7. Golden says:

    Now I’m cold, thanks.

  8. egan says:

    Essentially Me – it’s truly remarkable what’s happening with our global environment. You can ignore it or you can accept the fact things are changing at a very rapid rate. The movie/book really is eye opening.
    Kirk – that’s a great way to look at this. It’s important to have ice in all my beverages. It’s not important to have sand in my Speedo.
    Amanda – nah, when a glacier crumbles into a body of water, it’s just part of its retreat or “calving” as my brother points out. So if the glacier is 10 miles long, perhaps only the last mile of it empties into a body of water like Portage Lake. Check out the link for a great picture of what I mean. It’s the actual glacier I saw in 1992.
    Big Bro – yep, I’ve heard about the splash. Some tour groups get too close and learn this lesson the hard way. Bear Grylls rules!
    Sprizee – don’t blame me for your Leo Love.
    Churlita – I’m sure there are glaciers in Yellowstone, but I don’t think there are any icebergs though. Sorry to disappoint. Yes, I’ve been researching this feverishly since your comment and can’t find any icebergs in the park. No, I didn’t board a snowmobile and try to find one. Those things are evil and so is talking to yourself on a blog.
    Golden – my bad. Are you one of those “always cold” people?

  9. SM says:

    “If you’re not aware, ice is frozen water…”
    I’m not sure why, but this statement cracks me the hell up.

  10. Pants says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize that. So very sad!
    I need to get myself to Glacier National Park.

  11. emma james says:

    I know calving (that’s the word for when the iceberg breaks off, isn’t it) is a fact of nature, but it makes me very melancoly – bye-bye pretty heap of ice!
    This post makes me very thirsty. Need water. Hope I don’t run out.
    Jealous of your trip. Stuck in lalaland. We’ve got… concrete.

  12. glaciers scare me. h-y-p-e-r-v-e-n-t-i-l-a-t-e. seriously. happy new year

  13. egan says:

    SM – that very quote is actually sort of an inside joke with a couple friends of mine. One of them said “ice is frozen water” and we hounded him mercilessly. I’m known for giving tours of our house and instructing people how they can find ice in the freezer. Awfully kind of me eh?
    Emma James – I sure could use water right about now. J’ai soif. I’m impressed you know the “calving” term, you’re a sharp cookie. Oh, the Concrete Jungle.
    Movin’ Down the Road – why do they scare you? It’s not like they hide in your closet like ET or something. Happy New Year to you!

  14. egan says:

    Pants – I skipped your comment on accident. It really does sadden me to think how a national park with more than 150 glaciers 150 years ago is down to two dozen of them. That’s not a good state of affairs. I know there are cyclical ice “ages” in Earth’s history, but this one isn’t fun.

  15. “It’s not like they hide in your closet like ET or something.”
    You’re just awesome.

  16. Matt says:

    I grew up within a day’s drive of Glacier, and visited there regularly, although my overprotective mother never let us do anything fun like romping on glaciers. I did get a chance to see the Grinnell glacier, though. Very cool. And anyone who has not been to Glacier National Park is seriously missing out.

  17. Cléa says:

    Reading this post and looking at the photo is enough to make me shiver! I couldn’t bare the cold to see glaciers falling into iced water.

  18. Golden says:

    Yes, I’m always cold. I hate it. Sometimes I have to just take a hot shower to get warm. So, I guess all the showers you aren’t taking… I make up for them.
    I’m cold right now.

  19. egan says:

    Essentially Me – well, I sort of get why she’s scared. Glaciers can kills, but when I think of something scary, I picture something that tends to sneak up on you. A glacier isn’t really in the category of fast moving or rarely jumps over candlesticks.
    Matt – in 11 years they will all be gone, eleven years. Two years ago they predicted they persist until 2030 and now they’ve lowered expectations. What’s your mom’s take on snowmobiles in and around Yellowstone?
    Cléa – I know what you mean. The sight of Bondi Beach has me reaching for suntan lotion. Glaciers are cold, but then again… ice is frozen water.
    Golden – thanks for fessing up. You need one of those Amish fireplaces that are all the rage these days. It would be perfect for your new pad.

  20. Golden says:

    I just now figured out/realized what the title of your post referred to. Wow I’m slow.
    Amish fireplaces? I’ll have to google that.

  21. Golden says:

    *Those* are called Amish Fireplaces?! Whatever for? My sister actually has one in her bedroom, but her room is huge. My pad is 850 sq feet of tiny-ness. I suppose I could get one of them, but it would just have to sit in the middle of my living room. Or maybe on the deck.

  22. Eunice says:

    Wow, that sounds cool. I guess I need to get on the glacier train.
    You deleted your FB account?

  23. brandy says:

    You know, I never really appreciated the idea of glaciers until I got to go to the Columbia Icefield on a 4-h fieldtrip. (Yeah, I’m dropping the 4-h mention because I’m cool like that). Anyway, it was absolutely insane to see in person, and sort of depressing, they had markers showing how much hand melted in the last fifty years. Scary stuff indeed.

  24. Maggie says:

    Hi, just stopping back around.
    You know, I’m not really big on the cold stuff. I can stand playing in the snow for awhile but, generally it tires me out. Now, sitting inside and watching it snow – I like that. I’ve never seen a glacier or an iceburg. My life is seriously lacking.

  25. Cheryl says:

    Ice is cool…pardon the pun. We need more of it!

  26. thistle says:

    How have you been enjoying the local evidence of global warming?…we’re flooding and today i stay home from work because of a potential mudslide related evac notice…that frozen water is a little dangerous when it starts to that at record rates…

  27. Matt says:

    My mom can’t stand snow mobiles. Always has. When we would come across the tracks on the road past our house, she would rant about how they tear up the vegetation, pollute the air, and blah, blah, blah. I think I’d be scared to even touch one now for fear that some evilness would envelop me.

  28. egan says:

    Golden – did you think I meant my bodyguard Al or the guy who used to sell shoes for a living?
    Golden – the Amish make crafty things from wood by hand. Watch out for impostors though, you never know who could be posing as an Amish. Our first house was 850 square feet.
    Eunice – damn right you need to get on the glacier train and yep, the Facebook account is gone for now. It will likely reappear, but it’s dormant for now. Sort of like Mt. Rainier.
    Brandy – you’re such a namedropper. 4-h and Columbia, well done on those names. Who is next KC and JM? Seeing a glacier up close and personal is one of my favorite things about nature. It’s just crazy how they can change a landscape. Retreating glaciers make me quite sad.
    Maggie – salut! Based on where you live, I’d like you’d have no choice other than to embrace the snow/cold. We’ve seen some wacky weather here. Sheesh, your life is not lacking one bit. Good to see you!
    Cheryl – puns are fun. Ice is cool, especially when it’s really thick and slow moving. Party.
    Thistle – I hope things are okay for you. I feel bad for anyone located near a river in our state and/or your province. We got hammered the past three weeks. Remember how quite the weather was up until mid December?
    Matt – I really like your mom. I mean it. Can she be our Secretary of the Interior and protect our National Parks?

  29. Felisa says:

    I’ve never seen a glacier collapsing into a body of water but what fascinates me more than the idea of seeing actual glaciers is studying the beautiful land formations left when glaciers recede (yeah, I’m a dork too). The bluffs at Discovery Park are my favorite.
    However, this post does make me want to see some glaciers before they all disappear!

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