Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Canada
21.09.2011 - 21.09.2011 15 °C
Following a very late night or should I say early morning, we slept through the alarm. Sleep has evaded us ever since we arrived here. We decided to get a light breakfast rather than the $15 per head offered by the International. So booked out, went to Safeways to stock up on fruit and then headed for the Fudgery just so that we have graphic images of what they create.
We headed north towards Lake Louise. Rather than going back on Highway 1, the Trans-Canada, we opted for the drive along the Bow Valley Pathway. Our first stop was at the Johnston Canyon. It offered a 1.2 km trail to a set of falls. This proved to be worth the effort. The canyon was created by glaciers and 8000 years ago, when the Egyptian pyramids were brand new, this canyon was only half as deep as it is now. The Johnston River continues to carve deeper each day. We only went to the lower falls but it was impressive enough seeing the volume of water that runs through. There was a small cave that you could climb through and on the other side, feel the light spray from the waterfall. Not a good day to decide to wear white jeans as there was a fair bit of mud on the floor. On our return to the car we saw another ground squirrel. We were all set to take a photo as it appeared to have a darker colouring than others we have seen, when a very inconsiderate tourist made a noise and scared it away.
Back in the car to our next stop, Moran’s Lookout, a vista made famous by this man when he took a photo for the Trans Canada rail to try to entice people to come to the area. There are some lovely lodges along this drive especially the one closest to Bakers Creek. We arrived in Lake Louise at 1pm and headed straight for Moraine Lake. It was beautiful of course but the sun was not shining in the right place for good photos. The water is a spectacular colour but I don’t think our photos will do it justice. We have the memories though.
Next on our list was the Lake Louise gondola ride. I had planned to be there for the 3pm nature walk. However when we went to buy tickets we were told that we could take the ride up but would have to come straight back down as a grizzly mother and her cubs had been sighted close to the exit and the nature walk was cancelled. This is a great ski area with a chalet on sight – my kind of spot. The ride up was great and not scary as it was just the chair lift used for transporting skiers. The view over the valley was great but photo opportunities were spoiled with not being able to get off, hence cable wires in every photo. We did see a black bear eating below us on the way up.
We went straight to the Deer Lodge for a 4 pm check in. Now I think we will have one regret for the trip and that is not staying at the Lake Louise Chateau. Deer Lodge is right next to it but it could possibly be heritage listed. I described it as rustic. Ross preferred the word ancient. The room is very small and we discovered it had no TV. Also we had difficulty locating the lift as there isn’t one so we had to lug the baggage up three flights of stairs. We may have saved a few hundred dollars but sometimes you do wonder. Breakfast is included.
By this time it was 4.45 so we headed towards the lake but once again, the sun’s position interfered with the photos. My main agenda for Lake Louise was the walk to the teahouse. We didn’t actually know where we had to go but we did find the trail indicator. I also didn’t know that there were 2 teahouses. The other was a 6.6 km trail. Around 5.10 we headed off on the 3.4km walk to Lake Agnes Teahouse. Now once again they neglected to describe the terrain ahead of us and we thought with our advance training of walking the streets of Boondall that 3.4 km was going to done in 30 mins. Try 1 hour 20 minutes. We went up and up and up until we finally arrived at the teahouse. Of course it closed at 5pm so we couldn’t even have a cuppa. I had to stop every few metres to try to catch my breath. I challenge anyone to repeat this feat. On the way up you see glimpses of the beautiful coloured lake through the forest. About two thirds of the way up is Mirror Lake which doesn’t really rate a mention in my book. The next section was even more gruelling as the incline increased but some of the views were magnificent. Lake Agnes itself is worth the effort. The teahouse has been in this location for over 100 years. We were lucky enough to meet with a small Canadian rabbit. It has smaller ears and no tail and it does not hibernate. He tried to burrow into the side of the hill to escape.
The trip back down to the chateau took 45 minutes. We had to walk fast as our dinner reservation was for 7.30. We left the teahouse at 6.45pm. We were only 15 minutes late by the time we changed our shoes - didn’t worry about changing clothes. Dinner was nice. We stuck with steak and also fitted in dessert – rhubarb streusel and berry cheesecake.
The night could be a long one as we can hear next door through the walls and people banging doors etc. Hope Emerald Lake Lodge is of better construction as it is owned by the same company as Deer Lodge. We head for Yoho National Park tomorrow and have a reservation for the Lodge.