After another most excellent breakfast at Bow Valley Grill in the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel1, Rick and I wandered around Banff – taking a stroll down Banff Avenue to do some people watching, grab a coffee from Evelyn’s, and enjoy the crisp mountain air that had descended on the town. It was a casual saunter with no particular goal in mind, other than to enjoy ourselves before packing, boarding our bus, and making our way to Lake Louise. More specifically, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
The bus ride was fantastic, as it provided me the opportunity to see more of the mountains and natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies. I was mentioning to Rick that it had been well over a decade since I had been to Lake Louise, and the last time was in the winter. As such, I was stoked to be making the trek in the remaining days of summer.
At some point during the ride Rick pointed out Mount Temple that sat directly in front of us. Compared to the nearby mountain summits, Mount Temple clearly stood out. We both smiled knowing that tomorrow we’d be making the climb to the summit2, which towers 1788 feet (545 metres) above Cascade Mountain – a total of 11624 feet (3543 metres) above sea level. Since Lake Louise is a mere 5449 feet (1661 metres) above sea level, we’re aiming for a rather epic elevation gain tomorrow.
Anyway, as the bus pulled into the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel, I was awestruck by the amount of snow still covering the peaks of the nearby Mount Victoria. I was also blown away by the natural beauty that lay before me; the mountains, the glaciers, the water, the forests. Words and pictures can’t begin to do it justice.
Following check-in and visiting our ridiculously awesome room, we headed to the boathouse to begin one of our in-between-mountain-summitting adventures. Today that adventure was to spent about an hour and a half canoeing Lake Louise3. Awesome!
We met our guide Bruce, and our seven fellow paddlers – who hailed from Washington and Texas – and quickly jumped into the canoe. Well technically first we were equipped with life jackets and paddles, and then we had to learn how to paddle properly. But after that we jumped into the canoe, ready to conquer the lake – or at least enjoy her beauty while floating on top.
Rick and I were seated near the rear of the canoe – close to the guide and the Canadian flag. Having all been properly seated we were off – cutting the waters along the shore so that we could easily spot wildlife should any make an appearance. While we didn’t see much in the way of wildlife4, we heard some pikas, and saw a sandpiper as well as several people rock climbing5. I was mesmerized by the forest, the Victoria Glacier, Mount Fairview, Mount Victoria, the Big and Small Beehive, and the glacial blue glow of the lake (a result of the rock flour that flows into the lake as the glaciers melt). It was almost surreal – a perfect and seemingly pristine example of the natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies.
Anyway, tomorrow is another early start as our attempt to summit Mount Temple begins at 6:00 am – which means we need to be up by 4:45 to make sure we are packed appropriately, fed sufficiently, and fully geared up for an epic climb. So with that I am off to bed – to dream of things that I can only hope are as beautiful as the place we’re currently staying.
Goodnight all y’all.
Some other pictures from our day about Lake Louise:
For some reason, whilst canoeing, I couldn’t stop thinking about this song (a cover of Neil Young‘s Pocahontas).
1 Holy lord I’m in love with the maple bison sausages. So freaking tasty. And stewed fruit. My mouth is watering thinking about both.
2 Weather permitting of course. Our fallback mountain is Mount Fairview.
3 The original schedule had us doing the Shore Line Stroll.
4 Most likely all trying to avoid the hundreds of tourists walking the paths around the lake.
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