With the onset of winter rapidly approaching, I had not truly gotten out into the mountains that much. Yes, I had gone out on a trip for Labour Day Weekend to see my friends, and I had done a whirlwind tour of Icefields Parkway attractions for you guys, but had not hoofed it through the wilds of the Canadian Rockies yet during that summer, which was a crime in and of itself!
Thus, there I was, standing on the platform of my C-Train at an even earlier hour than when I usually started my weekday commute, bleary eyed and jonesing for some breakfast to bring me out of my semi-comatose state (nothing is open in the suburbs at the hour you see above) before heading off on a weekend of hiking in Lake Louise.
Eventually, I did get to the Greyhound Bus Station in Calgary that morning, but not without weaving about the streets of the Beltline during the later stages of the witching hour … kinda spooky down there when it is still dark and little activity from the general population. Anyway, shortly after, our bus begins lurching towards the Rockies and the sun rose shortly thereafter, giving a rousing view that one can only enjoy in harvest season in Alberta!
Upon arrival, the fresh, COLD mountain air (Lake Louise is the highest settled place in Canada at 1,750 metres above sea level (5,700 feet) granted an invigorating contrast to the air of the city. Indeed, the overall atmosphere was as if one had stepped through a portal from a harried, loud and stressful realm to one of beauty and peace.
Clearly, I needed this getaway like a fish needs water!
After paying a king’s ransom for a truck stop lunch ($20 for ordinary chicken fingers and fries) and a couple of 1.5 L bottles of water ($4 per bottle!!), and dropping my main bag off at HI – Lake Louise, I set off up the hill towards Lake Louise (the lake itself … as I was already in town).
I could have taken a cab up to the Teahouse Circuit trail head instead, but (a) fitness, (b) more time in nature (just look at that view above!) and (c) Lake Louise is quite the pricey place, as I’ve already shown in the previous paragraph!
Upon reaching the lake shore, I briefly paused to take the artiest photos I could, mostly failing in the process. 😛 No matter though, as The Plain Of Six Glaciers and Lake Agnes were the goals on this day, not capturing an overdone portrait…
The weather in Lake Louise can be fickle, and this day was no exception. Strolling along Lake Louise saw a brief moment of pleasantness, but that wouldn’t last long…
… because sure enough, it clouded over again, and a cold drizzle began to drift down from the moody clouds above. The views more than made up for it though, as I pushed further into the sub-alpine.
You can’t see it in this pic, but at this point, the drizzle had deteriorated into a full-on torrential downpour, soaking my clothes quite thoroughly. Thankfully, I had dry clothes in my shielded day pack, but it just goes to show that you have to respect the weather whenever you are in the mountains. I could have done much better by having rain gear or non-cotton clothes myself … live and learn!
Completely numb at this point, the sight I had been waiting for appeared in a depression in the glacial plain ahead … the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse! Here, I dried off and changed clothes, and claimed my hard-earned award … some of the richest chocolate cake you’ll ever eat! Don’t be put off by the $6 price tag … it’s worth it.
The Plain of Six Glaciers is located at a dead end in the established trail, making for a good bit of backtracking to get to the junction that would lead to objective #2 on the day: the Lake Agnes Teahouse. The weather changed once again on the way back, allowing for a spectacular suspended view of Lake Louise from thousands of feet up!
Along the way, there are innumerable classic views waiting to be captured by your camera. This is just a taste (lots of standalone photo posts to come from this hike!)
I finally reached Lake Agnes with a few short hours before sunset, with the climb down all the way to the town still to be completed. Lake Agnes has no natural inlet, being a tarn lake formed by a melting glacier thousands of years ago and only being partially replenished by snow melt since the initial formation of the lake. I did manage to get in just in time to buy a cookie before the tea house closed … also recommended!
Ever gone hiking in Lake Louise? Share your experience below!