The Athabasca Glacier in the Canadian Rockies ©Solange Hando
Located in the Jasper National Park and part of the Columbia Icefield, this is one of the world's most accessible glaciers, a comfortable day trip from Jasper (105 km) but also feasible from Lake Louise or Banff (195 km).
Up there, at 2000 metres, it's likely to be cold and the weather can change in minutes from dazzling sunshine to the odd snow shower. Take warm clothes and suitable shoes.
The Skywalk, Athabasca ©Solange Hando
The Athabasca is a popular attraction so if you plan to take part in the 'double adventure', available in season, book well in advance, especially if you want to request specific times.
The Skywalk is a good start, taking you on a semi-circular glass walkway suspended, it seems, between heaven and earth. Below you is the vertiginous drop of the Sunwapta Valley where pine trees cling tenaciously to barren soil, and towering above you, snow-capped mountains reaching over 3000 metres.
Ice and Snow, Columbia Icefield, Jasper National Park ©Solange Hando
Take time to relax in the visitors' centre, browse the exhibitions and enjoy the stunning views then head down to the glacier for an exciting ride on the ice to the very edge of no man's land.
The Athabasca is six km long and up to 300 metres deep but despite some seven metres of fresh snow annually, this 10,000 year old natural wonder recedes by an alarming five metres a year, as you will see in places from the accumulation of rubble and rocks.
Like some sort of giant from a fiction film, the Ice Explorer takes you down a very steep slope then across the ice until you reach the out of bounds limit. Rocky peaks, snowy tops all around and ahead of you, the pristine ice field laced with hidden crevasses.
Sometimes you might hear a rumble in the distance and witness an avalanche tumbling down towards you. It may send shivers down your spine but on a guided tour, you are in good hands.
Then before the Explorer turns round, you can step out and walk on the ice, long enough to take a few photos, touch the snow and feel the vibes as clouds pile on the horizon above the stillness of this vast natural world.