OK, now I’m (more or less) awake, time to continue with part two of yesterday.
We’d booked a “Lake Louise and Moraine Lake” tour – Lake Louise is that famous blue lake with the big hotel in front of it that you’ve probably seen before in just about any Canadian tourism campaign. Figured it was definitely worth a look.
Happily this was only a small tour group – 10 of us including Cameron our guide. And even more happily they were all lovely people – from Canada, Argentina, and the UK. We set off and learnt a bit more about the local area, and very soon stopped off in a small park, which was (surprisingly I know) near some massive mountains and lovely views. One of these mountains even had a cave in it way up high.
We learnt an interesting story about the mountain (and an even more interesting note that according to our guide bears do not hibernate in caves) – back in 1908 there was big robbery carried out by two brothers, they made their escape, and stashed all of their loot in the cave. However, before they had time to go back and get it, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police got them. The treasure, however, has never been located, so who knows which lucky folks discovered it first. The interesting side-story to this though, was in 2008, 100 years later, two brothers successfully robbed a bank in Banff – but this time there was nothing hidden in the cave. Clever thieves though, they called in a bomb threat that brought all the emergency services into a hotel in town, then they drove a stolen tour boss across the end of the bridge, trapping all of them in town while they made their getaway. Crafty.
Anyway, this park had another beautiful sight that for once was not a mountain.
Grouns squirrels! Very cute, and quite tame – but will happily gnaw your finger off if given half a chance. So I kept my distance, and let the camera get up close instead. There were heaps of them about, very pretty. I also quickly learned this tour was about so much more than just Lake Louise – tops!
We also had the chance for a good look at Castle Mountain:
The tour included a late lunch/early dinner at a restaurant along the way which was a nice pause along the way. It had a creek nearby where everything was nearly white, and some clever people had been busy stacking pebbles.
After another short drive, the main event was upon us : Lake Louise. We were warned in advance by Cameron that photos really don’t do it justice, and he was right. So, sorry, but all I have are photos – but, there are a lot of photos…
I took, of course, way too many pictures, but won’t inflict all of them all you – but here’s something that gives a rough idea of what I’m talking about, from the Photos app on my laptop:
It was quite busy, as could be expected – but not too bad. few things I didn’t expect – some people were going for a swim (the lake is fed by a glacier, so it’s not exactly tropical). Also quite a few people had dogs with them, which I wasn’t expecting. Still, all of this, plus the gobsmacking view, made the one hour we had their pass by very quickly before it was time to get back on the bus.
Our next destination – Moraine Lake. I knew nothing about this place before visiting, so was nice to get there. A Moraine is a big pile of sand and rocks that a glacier deposits as it passes through, bringing up the mountains all around it. And Moraine Lake sure lives up to its name – there’s a massive pile of rocks, it looks like it’s man made, like someone just got a few truckloads of boulders and dumped them all in the same spot. But no, it’s just the way the glacier went about doing its thing. The lake is also beautiful, with a slightly deeper shade of bell when compared to Lake Louise. We also, fleetingly, saw the (apparently very rare) ‘pink mist’ the hangs over the lake at certain times. Cameron our guide said he’d never seen it before in all the years he’d been bringing tour groups here so he was a bit excited. It sure was fleeting though – within about two minutes, it had gone. We spend about 45 minutes here, which also passed by very quickly.
We also met very handsome puppy:
And found a different kind of squirrel (golden-mantle squirrel), hiding around the rocks of the Moraine. They were tiny – so not a very clear photo sorry.
After the ll the was really left to was go back to the hotel. Cameron filled us in on some of the smart things Canada has been doing with regard to wildlife Along the main highway, they’ve built a big fence about 8 feet tall and 4 feet underground, and this has reduced wildlife deaths on the road by 95%, which is pretty awesome. They’ve also built a series of green overpasses and underpasses, so all the animals can still get around the land without too much interruption. They are of different sizes and shapes, so suit all the different kind of animals that use them. Apparently there was a lot of opposition to this at first, because of the costs, an everyone was having a whinge. But for the amount of cost involved in every car accident involving an animal, apparently all these animal-friendly building works have already paid for themselves, in terms of the reducing the number of accidents so much. Nice one, Canada!
As we driving one of party let out a loud gasp. “Bear!!” she said. She sure has eagle eyes, but she was absolutely right. By the side of the road, not to far away, there was indeed a bear. Cameron kindly stopped the bus and backed up a bit -and we got the chance to see not one but two black bears, in their natural habitat, doing their thing. It was quite close to a hiking track, so hopefully nobody was going hiking at that time of day. Perry was fortunate enough to get photo from a distance before they ran away:
So it was sure was a nice and unexpected way to end the sightseeing part of the tour.
We parted company with our tour guide and all the lovely people on the bus, tired, but happy after such a massive and fun day.
Today, we leave Banff (sadly), and head off to Calgary – more adventures await! 🙂