Alberta Bound~Tanya Hanson


I know some of you out there are Tired of Snow but…we never get winter here in coastal central California. I had to go to the Canadian Rockies to find some. Exploring the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park, Alberta, last fall was well beyond amazing.


And therefore, you get a geology lesson today.

The glacier is part of the Columbia Icefield, the largest body of sub-polar ice in North America and the last remnant of a massive swathe of ice that once coated western Canada’s mountains. A wide, elevated plateau, the icefield is perfectly placed to catch most of the moisture from passing Pacific winds. Most of this moisture falls as snow, up to 23 feet of snow per year.

The summer season is so short that unmelted snow accumulates year after year and compresses into ice. These huge patches of ice flow outward toward gaps in the mountains surrounding the icefield, creating the huge “tongues” of ice we call glaciers.

The Athabasca glacier, at elevation 8,900 feet, is one of six “toes” of the icefield. The most visited glacier in North America due to its proximity to Banff and Jasper, this slow-moving river of ice flows down three three giant bedrocks steps.


In this picture, check out the little red circle I made. Those teensie black specks on the ice are actually the enormous coaches we rode in to visit the Athabasca.


The pic below above is another view of the snow coaches on the glacier. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And here are my husband and I getting ready to go~

Us with snow coach CROP TO USE

Due to warming climate, the Athabasca has been continuously melting for the last 125 years. It’s lost half its volume and receded almost one mile.  Every day, the Athabasca moves down the icefield several centimeters, or about one inch.

Well, hard to believe it’s warming! We drove up the icefield on Brewster Ice Explorers, massive vehicles designed especially for glacial travel. The tires are almost five feet high. Temp was 30 degrees, the wild wind chill a bazillion below. But what a day.

Me on Athabasca CROP TO USE


Our guide filled our empty water bottles with pristine, blue glacial-melt. Water like none other in this world. In fact, meltwater from the icefield flows to the Pacific, The Atlantic, and via Hudson Bay, the Arctic!



The blue tint to the glacier, indeed most of the rivers and lakes we saw, is due to “rock flour”–fine particles of bedrock ground up by glacial action. (I’ll show these surreal-colored bodies of water another time.) In the pic above, that’s a footprint.

Blue glacier CROP TO USE


Slippery beyond slippery. Indeed, crevasses have claimed unwary tourists and we were warned to Beware. Oh, a crevice is a narrow split in a rock or cliff; a crevasse is a deep fissure in a glacier.

But beautiful beyond beautiful.

The Athabasca, called an “outlet valley glacier,” is more than 3 ½ miles long, 2 1/2 square miles in area and, measured in various places, between three hundred and nearly a thousand feet thick. (In researching all these measurements, I had to convert from Canada’s metrics to ours LOL.)

Of course we had to get these mini toy Explorers for our grandsons.

Toy ice explorer

Anyway, our day on the Athabasca Glacier was a day of days. And…my birthday to boot.

The hottie young Aussie who drove our Explorer and helped us on and off it, had this to say to my hubby with a saucy grin: “Whatcha gonna do to top THIS for her  birthday next year, mate?”


One of the coolest (literally) memories I will ever have! What’s the most amazing “winter” place you’ve ever seen?

And who knows how I came up with the TITLE for this blog?

And since your my captive audience today, here’s another peek at Claiming His Heart, my latest:

Caught between a noose and a cave-in, Tulsa Sanderson must do anything possible to prove his brother’s innocence…even if it means marrying a gold miner’s daughter he just met. He needs every nugget and flake he can pull from her worn-out claim, but he sure doesn’t need a wife. Save his brother and he’ll be back on the Texas cattle trails. God, and trusting Him, are things of the past. 

Hanson_Claiming_His_Heart_Web (3)

Charlotte Amalie lost her heart, her virtue, and her money to the last mysterious outsider in the valley. Faith? That’s wavered, too, after too many family tragedies. But she has no choice but to wed the handsome Tull. He bears terrible family secrets that need to be kept behind closed doors. Although she’s eager to leave the valley to find a new life for herself and medical treatments for her wounded brother, her unwanted marriage douses her plans, yet stirs up hope and love for Tull…and begins to fortify her weakened faith.

Can the two of them find a future–and faith–together even with their haunted pasts? 

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35 thoughts on “Alberta Bound~Tanya Hanson”

  1. WOW! I’ve been to Banff & Jasper National Parks in July. Gorgeous scenery. Lake Louise was so pretty with the huge resort. We also went to Olympic & Glacier on the way home. I remember hiking around in shorts and a swim suit top through snow on some of the higher elevation trails. We had no fear! I remember the beauty of the Hurricane Ridge Glacier in Olympic National Park.

    Craziest winter event. When we were first married we went to Northern Wisconsin’s Cable/Hayward area in January to ski at Telemark. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate. It was -60* with the wind chill! We were worried our car wouldn’t start. People routinely plug in their cars overnight up there. It was pretty!

  2. Beautiful pictures! It sure looks awfully cold though. Bet you had a great time. I’m sure you’ll remember that birthday for years to come. I think I’ve had enough snow and frigid temperatures this winter. Believe I’ll stay in Texas. Next year pick somewhere warm like the Bahamas! 🙂

  3. Hi Laurie, so good to see you here today! Wow, -60. I can’t even imagine. We did also visit Jasper, had lunch outdoors at the Banff Fairmont–it was about 45–oh, Alberta is so gorgeous. We had the time of our lives. Thanks for sharing your winter adventure with me.

  4. hi Linda, I know, all y’all in Texas sure had a siege this year! We finally got our first “winter storm” in three years last weekend, which meant some wonderful rain. I hope we get more.

    Yeah, it was sure a dreamy birthday. So good to see you here, my filly sister. xox

  5. Tanya, those pix are gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing your icy adventure! I’d love to drink water straight from a glacier melt like you did – how awesome! Such a cool birthday celebration my sweet!! xo M.

  6. Hi Marianne, I was thinking of you Michigan-ites when I wrote about being tired of snow LOL. But ice and snow was sooo exciting for us. Wow. And a great start to my new year of life. That water, sigh, it was something. Hard to explain…water IS water. I’m sure it was the emotion and the ambiance. Thanks so much, my dear friend, for commenting today. I so appreciate you. xoxo

  7. Beautiful! I’ve been to the glaciers in Patagonia. Thankfully, they’re stable, both receding and growing. Really amazing process. You got up close and personal, something we weren’t able to do. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Hi Linda, oh, Alaska is definitely on the bucket list, but I think we’re gonna go back to Alberta next year with Hubs’ sister and our brother in law…riding the Mountaineer train. It was so spectacular, I still miss it! Thanks so much for posting today.

  9. Hi Sherri, my filly sister, indeed, it was once in a lifetime! On my birthday made it even more special.

    Tanya, my Pelican sister, I know you’ve traveled all over. So happy you could stop by. I just loved my Athabasca day!

    Thanks to you both for commenting today.

  10. hi Kristy, howdy! We also visited Glacier Park in Montana on this trip, whre the glaciers are receeding terribly. The guide said if you don’t get there now, they’ll be gone in 20 years. The old pictures from the past kinda show he’s right. Oh well, the earth doesn’t stay still, that’s for sure. It truly was incredible, getting that up close and personal!

    Thanks, my friend, for posting today. I am so enjoying your Into the Land of the Shadows.

  11. Hi Colleen, I hadn’t lived in snow until my college days and grew to missing it…after Canada, we went to Val, Colorado for a week and had tons of snow. Sighing. Driving through Rocky Mountain national park was like the Christmas card ever! Thanks so much for posting today.

  12. 23 feet? Gulp! How utterly breathtaking, Tanya, and what a thrill to experience! When we lived in FL, our Christmas break every year was spent traveling to see snow, our fake tree and presents packed along with our suitcases and sleds. Such fun memories!

    Just curious…what does hubby have in mind for this year’s birthday? lol

  13. What a great trip. Some of our East Coast friends would tell you you could have gone back there and seen something similar. But this is Canada! What a wonderful opportunity to see this glacier before it all melts away. Great pictures, too. I was surprised that it was only 8000 feet. My son lives at 9500 feet. (He got snow for the first time in a couple of months just a few days ago!)

  14. Love your pictures and information on this natural treasure. I have to admit the Beck-Tuckers tend toward the beach vacations even though we live in So. Cal. But, this past Christmas we ventured to Lake Arrowhead and there was enough snow on the ground for the little guy to hurl a snowball or two.

  15. Tanya, what a wonderful birthday present that must have been! I’m sure it was an experience you will never forget. Hubby and I are not winter people. In fact, I think we could live on a tropical island and be perfectly content not to see snow again. So I don’t have a favorite cool winter place I’ve ever been. :((( But I’m so glad you had a great time visiting the glacier. You are so lucky to be able to travel so much. That’s wonderful–you’ve seen some very cool (no pun intended) places!

    I want to say again how much I love Claiming His Heart. Your characters are always so realistic. I love the chemistry between Charmlee and Tulsa so much. And I’m looking forward to the sequels you have planned for us in the near future!


  16. Hi Tanya – Brrrr, I’m not a cold weather person, but Wow, those are some awesome pictures! Looks like you had a great time and I love the replica of the red coach!!!

  17. I have been to that glacier! in 2006 we took the Canadian Rockies trip and loved every day of it.

    I’d say the coolest winter trip we took lately was to Whistler, BC. loved it.

    I love Canada in general. Great country to visit. I’m glad we’re so close.

  18. Tanya- I’ve been to a couple glaciers. The enormity and power of such natural beauty is almost overwhelming. I was so moved by the experience, I included it in my second book. How the gradual shift in glacial ice can carve out the earth just by its mere weight and force. Cool experience.

    Kaitlyn Stone

  19. Happy Birthday Tanya! How lovely for you and your husband what an amazing vacation you both were able to experience! I love stories when hero and heroine realize they love each other. Happy writing! Jenny

  20. What a wonderful birthday adventure, Tanya. Your pictures are amazing. Great information, too. I understand all the glaciers around the world are melting and shrinking. Seas are rising. That’s kind of scary. We’re there any polar bears there?
    Terrific blog.

  21. Howdy Dora, my dear friend. Sooo thrilled to see you here…and as for my next birthday…I plan on being in Asheville, North Carolina!!!!!!! Love you!!!

  22. Glad you had such a wonderful trip. We were out West last June/July and went to Glacier National Park, among other places. We would have loved to gross over to Banff and Jasper, but we had our grandson with us and he didn’t have the identification necessary.
    I grew up in the Adirondack Mountains of northern NY and it is beautiful country, no matter what the time of year.We lived on a hill with a view of Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains of VT, and the White Mountains of NH. They are lovely any time of the year, but I really enjoyed looking at them when they were covered with snow and the lower levels were still snow free.

    Tanya, you will love Asheville. It is one of my favorite towns. We live about 60 miles away, over the mountain in Tennessee’s oldest town, and spend a lot of time there. Our daughter and her family live just outside Asheville and she and her husband work at the 2 colleges there. Great places to eat, fun shops, a hippy atmosphere, and of course the Biltmore Estate. Going at Christmas when the house is decorated is a delight.

  23. That is a totally cool trip. The earth has some amazing sights. Our family visited Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks last summer, and those are beautiful. I was reluctant to go, but I’m now glad I did.

  24. Beautiful pictures and wonderful narration making me want to go there!
    We live in an amazing winter area or it used to be. We used to have snowdrifts higher than the house. Travel meant driving on a one track road with snow waaaay above the vehicle. Have not had a winter like that for several years!

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