Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Tuesday, July 13th: Banff national park

We set off early and headed towards Banff. The journey was tough, as it was often raining and there was lots of road construction along the way. We arrived in Golden around 12, had some lunch and stocked up for Banff.

We arrived in Banff around 3PM and checked in at Lake Louise. This is one of the main campgrounds in Banff. The campground was surrounded with electric wire to deter bears, but was quite a professional setup. The weather continued to be cold and wet, so we stocked up the tent with warm bedding ! Despite the weather we donned our rain gear and took a trip into Lake Louise village. We went to the visitor center for maps and hiking recommendations. We headed to one of the local restaurants and dined on the Canadian tradition of Poutine: french fries with Cheese Kurd and gravy...delicious but salty. We went back to the campsite, relaxed and prepared
the evening meal.....Because the bears are so prevalent in this (and later) campgrounds, all our food had to be stored in the car of bear-proof lodges/contained in the grounds. After dinner we headed for the amphitheater for the park's nightly program. The subject: 125 years of national parks. It was silly but somewhat educational.

The next day, the weather was much improved, so we headed for our first destination: Lake Louise. What a sight! The lake's color was somewhat similar to Milk of Magnesia...a very cloudy green/Turquoise. We took the upward trail(11Km round trip) towards Lake Agnes and did a good hike up to Mirror lake, Lake Agnes and the seriously vertical Big Beehive. There was a little teashop located halfway up the hike! Stunning views and lakes surrounded us! The trail was quiet enough (you tend to lose most tourists a few meters past the start of any trail but there were many people on the summit of the Beehive. On the way up, we saw a Marmot, a cute animal that seems to be the beaver for cold places. We headed down and ate lunch at Mirror lake, then headed down to Lake Louise around 1:15. The hike was approx 11KM!

Too many people were around Lake Louise so we headed to Lake Moraine. More tourists there and barely a parking space. Despite this, we walked around the lake - another beautiful turquoise lake. We took a drive towards Jasper/ Columbia Ice fields and stopped at several scenic turnoffs along the way...The views took in glaciers
and more alpine lakes. We did one final hike of the day around Bow summit/Peyta Lake , and although tired, the view was worth it! We went back to the campsite, and with the much-improved weather, we decided to have a campfire, some local salmon for dinner and a few brews! Bliss!