So like your average cretin, I wasn't really that bothered about visiting the Athabasca Glacier.
The only ice I was interested in by that point was the ice cream I'd be getting towards the end of the trip at the Ben & Jerry's factory (I think Michele genuinely, genuinely considered breaking up with me over this fact - genuinely).
However by the end of the day, I was left thoroughly impressed - and there are about 1,000,000 photos coming your way to prove it!
We rocked up in our nice warm little van and stepped outside into a positively glacial atmosphere (geddit?!)
We got ourselves wrapped up as best as we could, heeding warnings that it was only gonna get colder as we climbed the glacier.
Unfortunately, we had optimistically packed for summer. I mean, it was basically August by that point, you don't really expect to have to take a ski jacket! Luckily, the company that took us on a guided walk across the glacier had all the right equipment to lend us an extra few layers!
Although the glacier is slowly sliding down from the ginormous Columbia Icefield (which is giantly huge and something I'd really love to see from the warmth and safety of a helicopter), it's also receding due to global warming.
Then it was crampon versus hiking boot wrestling time and away we went!
Our guide hacked away at the grimy outer layer of the ice and revealed fresh, baby blue ice below. He passed us each a piece of crystal ice to look at.
Scientists come to analyse the ice at different depths - as air bubbles were trapped in the ice during the glacier's formation, you can tell a lot about the atmosphere of past centuries (and even millenia) by taking the ice back to the labs for analysis!
Now back to those ice holes you could fall down and die that I alluded to beforehand.
If the fall doesn't kill you, you'll freeze in the barely-thawed waters before the emergency teams can get you out. The message of the day was: DON'T GO ANYWHERE NEAR THEM.
We were told to tread only where our guide trod in case we stepped on some fresher snow disguising a weak ledge in the ice. It was absolutely terrifying, especially when we peered over the edge (held securely by our guide) and watched the meltwater hurtle past the aqua into the midnight blue and beyond into total darkness.
Obviously I began to wonder if those nightmares had been a premonition of my own demise out on that glacier (it wasn't, I'm still alive!)
We were living life on the edge, you could say...
A cold wind nipped down the mountain pass and curled its way through our thermal layers. Even with a hat on and two hoods pulled up around my hat, my ears were still freezing cold.
Snows had fallen there recently, making some spots even more treacherous than usual. Whilst the ice has been compacted over the years, the snow is much weaker and can form unstable bridges across ice wells and pits. One step in the wrong place and you'd be plunged down to an early, icy grave.
You can see the difference between the ice (blue) and snow (white) in the photo above.
On the way back, we came across this oddly placed heap of mud:
We took our crampons off and tried to learn to walk on solid ground again.
And as for me - did the walk change my mind about the glacier? Let's just say that suddenly, that Ben & Jerrys visit didn't seem quite as momentous after all!