Monday, 14 October 2013

Banff and Lake Louise

Banff and Lake Louise

Leaving Calgary, we decided to head to Banff to the Tunnel Mountain RV Village. But first we needed to weigh the truck, both front and rear axles, the trailer axle and tongue weight. So we headed to Okotoks, which we thought would be the least busy of the scales we had found. Weighing the truck and trailer axles were no problem and fairly quick. But there were big rigs waiting to weigh, and we thought getting the tongue weight meant unhitching the trailer, so we kept letting them weigh in. Finally we went to a smaller weigh station on the side of the highway. John worked out that we did not have to actually unhitch, as long as none of the wheels were on the scale, just the jack. It worked, we had the tongue weight. All weights were well within the acceptable limits for the truck, so we were soon on our way. The drive up to Banff was quite different from that of two weeks ago; there was now snow on the mountain tops, and there was no delay due to construction. However, it was no longer “shorts” weather. It was quite cool and blustery at times.
Bike Path beside the highway from Canmore to Banff

Mountains from Car Window

We checked in,
drove around and chose a site where we could see Mount Rundle out the Dining area windows.

Mount Rundle from The Dining Room

Mount Rundle

Two thirds of the RV full-hook-up section was closed as they were repaving and re-grading the sites. RV’s are parked parallel to the road, but off-set, so one looks at the divide between the trailers below and across the road.

The next day, we walked down to Banff, so I could find a warm hat! After we had walked up one side of the main shopping area and down the other, stopping only for a hot latte, we took the Roam bus back to the Campsite- $2 fare, but $1 for Seniors. Banff is a pretty town, but we found it very touristy. There are, however, some lovely restaurants and coffee houses. 
There was a whole little villaga of interesting townhouses

Main Street in Banff one way,...

And looking the other way.

We decided to have take-out Pizza from the Bear Lounge, downstairs from the Bison Restaurant. The food was so good, we went back another day for lunch. 
Saturday we drove up to Lake Louise. We decided to take hwy1A, rather than the main highway.
Castle Mountain, best seen from the 1A hwy
Castle Mountain explained...
The mountains to the south of Castle Mountain

In memory of those from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, many of Ukrainian origin who were imprisoned  during WWI at the Castle Mountain Camp

This weekend was the second in the annual trek for Albertans to view the larches. It is so popular that there is a parking lot about 5k away from Lake Louise, and a shuttle bus running to the start of the trail.
This is what they saw- Larches on the sides of the mountains
The village of Lake Louise is quite small, but the Information Center is excellent. We had to figure out how to get to the Fairmount Chateau Lake Louise as we wanted to hike to the Tea House on Lake Agnes.
The Chateau
 Lake Louise is a brilliant turquoise, calm and serene. It was a beautiful, but cool day and there were lots of little red rental canoes on the lake.

Lake Louise -we managed to take a picture between groups of canoes...

We started, what was supposed to be an “easy walk through the forest” on a “moderately-rated” trail. Well, the trail was well-marked, wide and easy to walk. BUT it went UP all the way, non-stop, constant climbing for 3.4km.The view, however, were spectacular.
The trail went up and up
Glimpse of Lake Louise from the trail

The view across the valley

About 2/3 of the way up, I sent John on ahead, because I really did not think I could make it to the top. I was going slower and slower, and my knee and hip hurt more and more. I thought I was fairly fit, but several months of no gym exercise was beginning to tell! However, I continued up at my own pace, getting encouragement from those coming down. About ¾ of the way up I took a break to enjoy the beautiful, tranquil Mirror Lake.  Then I DID get to the top, just in time to enjoy a cup of John’s almost hot tea and the last of his apple crumble beside Lake Agnes. We sat for about half an hour enjoying the view,
Lahe Agnes

and began the trek down. It was a much easier walk, but still hard on the knees!

We couldn’t leave Banff without seeing the Fairmount Banff Springs Hotel. So we drove up. My calves were rather sore, and each time we got out of the car, it took quite a few steps to begin to work out the kinks! The Hotel is beautiful, elegant, opulent, and classic. We wandered the downstairs halls and into the shops. One shop sold women’s apparel -sweaters, jackets, scarves, gloves- all made from musk ox wool. The owner is Peruvian, and bought from the Innuit the wool that the musk ox shed, and sent it to Peru to have it woven. Another shop had every imaginable type of fossil, geodes, and beautiful crystals of all sizes collected from all over the world. We walked behind the hotel, down several flights of steep stairs, along a wooded path to the Bow Falls. There were 3 or 4 busloads of tourists, and quite a few cars. But the wide river and beautiful Falls were worth the walk.
The Bow Falls

The Bow Falls from the top Lookout

The Bow River flowing south

The next leg of our journey is over the Kicking Horse Mountain Pass to Kelowna and into the Okanagan Valley.

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