Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lake Louise, August 30

Our morning consisted of a long climb up to Bow Summit, the highest point on the highway at 7000 feet.  When we got there, the air was chilly and misty, and a light rain/hail was falling.  Snow had dusted the nearby peaks the previous night, and some, just hundreds of feet above us, were still shrouded and probably getting more snow.  From the summit, we took a few minutes to observe Peyto Lake, touted as the bluest in the Rockies.  It was certainly nothing if not blue.  Perhaps green.  
Then we donned our layers and set off down the hill.  From here on, there was more traffic and so many people at each rest stop that we no longer stopped; we could see the views better from our bikes.  One time we did stop was at the Crowfoot Glacier.  The lower "toe" has now melted, but it's still easy to see the "foot."
The sun was starting to peek through the clouds as we ate lunch a few minutes later.  Then, as we began to ride again, a gray wall of rain descended behind us and engulfed the road, the mountains, everything. We could see the clouds above slowly overtaking us, too, and we rode quickly to stay in front of the rain.  Fortunately the wind that was blowing the storm towards us was also pushing us, but I knew after the last of the blue sky ahead was swallowed up that we were doomed.  
The rain overtook us and pelted us for a few minutes, then it suddenly stopped.  We were thankful yet disappointed that we were still missing many of the great views due to the clouds.
We reached the end of the Icefields Parkway and merged onto the Trans-Canada Highway, a big, fast road that fortunately also has an immense shoulder.  We rode on that for a few minutes then exited at the village of Lake Louise.  Our formerly quiet mountain ride had been replaced by trucks and milling tourists, and the change was a bit overwhelming at first.  But we sought out the info center then headed over to the campsite.  It was $27.60 for a site!  Showers were included, but still, we thought it exorbitant.  Since we don't have a vehicle we were able to list our site as "shared," and two other vehicle-less people came in a few hours later and split the price with us.  Part of the reason for the expense is that the campsite is surrounded by an electric bear-guard fence!  I can understand why with the number of people who camp here and probably don't know a thing about bears, but it still seems ridiculous.
We went back to town, got some groceries, sent some emails, and uploaded a few days of posts to the blog.  Then we returned to the campsite, where some nice people, Harley and Sue, had offered to drive us the steep 5k up the Lake Louise rather than our biking it in the rain.  We had to pick up our park pass at the Chateau, where Tam's parents had mailed it, but unfortunately it wasn't there.  We did get a nice view of the lake, and I can understand why it's so popular.  It's not as stunningly green as Peyto Lake, and it's not all that big, yet the mountains behind it, glaciers cascading down, provide a spectacular alpine backdrop.  Many thanks to Harley for taking the time to drive us up there.  
Unfortunately it's raining again now, but our tent is as waterproof as ever, and if it's still going tomorrow, our $27.60 got us access to a pavilion, so really life's still pretty good.  

No comments:

Post a Comment