Thursday, August 14, 2008

Canadian Rockies - Lake Louise, AB

We reluctantly left Jasper and headed south on the Icefields Parkway for Lake Louise. As we drove south the scenery remained spectacular and the temperature rose. (Our trip down the Parkway is covered in a separate post-dated 8/15/08.)

We camped 2 nights at the Lake Louise Trailer Park. As we checked in, the ranger warned us about the bears and the electric fence. It seems that an electrified fence surrounds the tenting area in this park. This is to protect the tenters from the bears.

Resident Bear Removes Stone Shield from Front of Toad

Our campsite had electricity so Kathy was able to watch some of the Olympics. It is interesting seeing the athletes compete in a part of China that we have visited.

Lake Louise was known to the native people of the area as “ Lake of the Little Fishes”. It was given its present name in 1884. It honors Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the sixth child of Queen Victoria.

Lake Louise is much smaller than Jasper and on our first drive to survey the area we could not find the village. That is because there isn’t one. The “village” is one small mall where the visitor center is located.

The visitor center was very well done. We enjoyed two videos. One was about the park, while the other had to do with the geological process of mountain building. The mountain building video was so well done that we are hopeing to buy it for the grandchildren.

Lake Louise Visitors Center

Inside the Lake Louise Visitors Center

For supper Keith decided to try Laggan’s Bakery and Deli. This was a mistake. Keith ordered a chicken pie and cheese roll. He was served a beef pie and vegetable roll, neither very good. Kathy ordered a Ruben sandwich. It was on the smallish side, and made with ham. We rate this establishment at ¾ COWS (well, after all, the food didn’t poison us).

The next day we set out early to visit Lake Louise. To reach the lake you must go by Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, which is located on the lake. The chateau was built about a hundred years ago by the railroad, to attract passenger business. It was, and remains, quite elegant, and quite expensive, at two to six hundred fifty a night. There is ample free parking, and there is public access to the lake in front of the Chateau.

The Post Card View of Lake Louise

Chateau Lake Louise

Lake Louise springs from Victoria Glacier whose melt water carries the silt and rock flour that give the lake the opaque turquoise color common to most of the area’s water.
Lake Louise’s waters are too cold for swimming but ideal for canoeing so Kathy decided that Keith should rent a canoe, and paddle her around the lake. We enjoyed a pleasant interlude, at $45 for the half-hour.

Paddling About the Pond

Our next stop was Moraine Lake, which is about 10 miles from Lake Louise. The road to the lake offered spectacular views, and the lake was every bit as beautiful as Lake Louise, with fewer people. In the winter the access road is closed to auto traffic and used by snowmobiles. Canoes at Moraine Lake were only $40 for a full hour, but we did not rent one.

Stone Monolith Seen on the Road to Moraine Lake

Ski Trails Across the Valley

Moraine Lake
A Happy Camper Spotted at Moraine Lake

We enjoyed a very pleasant lunch of onion soup and Ruben sandwiches (3COWS) at the Moraine Lake Chateau, while sitting at a table that overlooked the lake. The onion soup was unusual, being made with a milk base. A chipmunk joined our table briefly, but did not eat with us. On our way back to the parking lot, we passed a large, rugged hill that was being used as a climbing wall by the more athletic tourists.

An Extra Guest at the Table

A young, Athletic Tourist Climbs the Rocks

Rock Climbing Becomes a Family Activity

Our next stop is Banff, where we have reserved an electric site for three nights. Kathy is glad to have the electricity, so she can watch the Olympics on our new flat panel TV.

No comments: