Kind of like that special deal on the Ronco Electric Food Dehydrator that’s only available for the next 30 minutes, or the McRib sandwich, there are certain things in life that you need to take advantage of while they’re still around. And glaciers, regardless of your thoughts as to why they are disappearing, are definitely on that list.
The good news, though: you don’t need to be an expert climber to hike a glacier. You just need a pair of decent Rockports, and this list of the best glacier hikes you should do before they melt into the ocean and put Miami under water.
Just because this is one of the few glaciers in the world that you hike above and lookdown on, don't think you’re even close to being better than it is. The 14-mile, 900m-deep field of ice (the longest in the Alps) weighs an estimated 27 billion tons and looks almost like a giant frozen freeway running through the middle of the mountains. Fortunately, the Swiss aren’t as big on terrible reality TV as we are, and Ice Road Truckers: Switzerland isn’t slated for production any time soon.
For the novice glacier hiker who, for whatever reason, has decided to travel all the way to Iceland for an easy hike, your best bet is Solheimajokull. On this relatively low-impact trail, you'll spend a few hours moseying through ice sculptures, water cauldrons, and rock formations caused by the glacier’s movement over millions of years. It doesn’t take much skill or any specialized equipment, nor does it involve challenging an active volcano like some other Icelandic hikes.
Sure, Pakistan may not top the 2015 list of safe tourism destinations, but if you’re willing to ignore the political issues, then this hike might be the best thing you can do in the entire country. The 100-plus-mile trek can take 10-12 days and will bring you right up to the base of K2, where a 37m river of ice flows through the base of the Himalayas.
Franz Josef Glacier
Westland Tai Poutini National Park, New Zealand
This glacier on New Zealand’s west coast is, like, the most hipster glacier in the world: while the other glaciers think it’s cool to start melting and getting smaller, this one is actually doing the opposite and listening to vinyl records... sorry, it's growing. It’s also only 7.5 miles from the Tasman Sea and cozies right up near tropical forests. In fact, it's one of the few places in the world where you can experience tropical fauna while staring at ice caps overhead.