© 2011 jemma

Banff and Lake Louise

As I’m writing this I’m sitting in our Lake Louise hostel with Jess (who is working very hectically for any Bulletproofers reading this) looking out the window at the blue skies and the mountains around Lake Louise. It’s amazing to actually be here. Very different to all the pictures I’ve seen, as the Lake is frozen over. I guess not many people can say they have walked halfway out on the thin ice of Lake Louise and made snow angels.

It was also good to get some different pictures of the Chateau from the middle of the lake, even if it’s not that visually appealing. We even got to witness a small avalanche and got a great view of the glaciers. I’m just a little worried being in the Grizzly capital when the male grizzlies have woken up and are hungry!

*UPDATE #1* For those reading at home, we were not satisfied with our efforts yesterday of only making it halfway across the lake. So today we hired snowshoes and made tracks across the whole lake, all the way down to the end. We passed many silly people who decided to walk around, and we scoffed at the laziness. Why did they not want to tread their way where no one had been before through knee deep powder? Tisk tisk. By the end of it (4 hours including exploring) we were tired but very satisfied with our efforts. Well done team!

*UPDATE #2* Chontelle and I drove all the way back to Banff today for our dog sledding adventure. Not only was it Chontelle’s first time dog sledding, it was my first time driving the car long distance. It’s weird driving on the other side of the road. Brain must remember to stay on the right side of the street. Anyway dog sledding was amazing, and this time for me, I got to ride on the back the whole time and run and push the sled up the hills. FUN! Canmore had had its winter dump the day before, so the dogs (and humans) were working overtime (no time to poo on the job thank god! -dogs, not humans.) I fell in love with one of our dogs Miller. Such a cutie. It was such a great time and Chon really enjoyed it. I was dog tired by the end! Get it! 🙂

I’m working backwards here, so let me tell you a little about the drive to Lake Louise. We drove on the Bow River Parkway from Banff, a road built in the olden days for people to drive through the park. There are lots of stops along the way and it is supposed to be good for animal viewing, as well as the amazing view of all the mountains.

Our Gypsy guide (our fantasitc gps tour) I think we had Gary’s voice (we have named them) told us to look out for big horned sheep. Every time Gypsy has told us to do that they magically appear! This time we had a heard of young males, who decided to butt heads in the middle of the road. Its sounds so awful when they do that, however it is good to realise that they have such strong bone there that there don’t really hurt themselves.

Along the way we also saw a herd of Bull Deer. Their antlers are so amazing! It was very much a Bambi moment – which Jess ruined by asking where Bambi’s mum was (tear). It was also cool because at the moment we spotted them, snow started falling. A magical moment.

We looked and looked for bears but there weren’t any. Very sad. Jess even took us on his own back country safari through the snow to look for bear and moose, but all we ended up seeing were the snow angels we made. However there was stacks and stacks of snow. As we reached Lake Louise, the small town was hard to pick apart from the mounds of snow, and when I say small town, I mean minuscule! 1 grocery store that stocks nothing, and a really good outwear shop. Tis all.

Banff on the other hand is a tourist mecca. It was Canada’s FIRST national park, so there are lots of rules and regulations involving who can live there, build there etc. You also need to have a park pass ($130 for the year or $20 a day = expensive) to park anywhere between Banff and Jasper. The town itself looks like a rich alpine town, with shops and big houses (you can only live here if you work here). The Fairmont here (we visited all three) is based on a Scottish Castle and is HUGE! The outside is nice, can’t say that about the inside.

The drive to Banff from Vancouver is a long one. It took us through so many different ecosystems, from alpine forests, snow, canyons and desert. There were avalanche chutes, waterfalls, trains, mountain goats, sheep, small gold rush towns and Rambo. Rambo occurred in the small town of Hope where first blood was filmed. The bridge from the movie is there. Don’t remember it? Your not the only one! It also took us from BC to Alberta, where less tax makes everything that much cheaper.

We pretty much spent all our time in Banff looking. Looking at the mountains. Looking out for animals – namely big elk and deer. Looking for proper snow shoes for Chon (Banff is snowy). Looking, looking, looking at the vast expanse of where we were. There are snow capped mountains everywhere. Mt Norquay, Cascade Mt, Mt Rundle, Tunnel Mt, Sulphur Mt and many many many more.

We took the Gondola up Sulphur Mt and were all awestruck by the mountains surrounding us. There are just so many. Beautiful valleys and ranges, all covered in snow. It was fantastic. To celebrate the moment, Jess threw a snowball at Chon, who didn’t appreciate it. Was pretty funny though Chon!

We stayed, at the hostel in our own private Cabin. Most mornings we would wake to a white tail deer outside feeding. They are big for deer. About the size of a pony. It was great to watch the snow fall, and the sun reflect of the mountains around us.

Out of the two towns I preferred Lake Louise. Banff just has some falseness about it that I don’t like. Don’t get me wrong, its a beautiful town, maybe it’s the people. Oh wells, off tp Jasper next!!