Calgary – 5

We woke today to find Elk grazing the grass outside our RV. I went out to photograph them and they seemed completely uninterested, seen it all before I guess.

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Rather annoyingly we found that we had picked up a parking ticket from the previous day (it was attached to the windscreen). First task was to drive into Banff and pay the $55. Despite being wished a great day by the  clerk in County Hall I scowled at her pointing out that she wasn’t contributing to my ‘Great Day’.

We drove to Lake Louise. The Trans Canadian Highway is such an easy road to navigate and has such superb views every inch of its meandering route. It follows the course of the racing River Bow which winds its way along the very centre of a valley scooped out millennia ago by a long since disappeared glacier. Rich green forests stretch from river bank up to the heady heights of mountains  before giving way to bare rock that even the hardiest plant couldn’t sustain a foothold. To finish off, God put a blob of vanilla ice cream on the very top. To make it look right. As I was videoing our journey through the front windscreen (no tickets in view) God decided to show off and produced a little shower, drawing a beautiful arc of rainbow across our  path to add a little ‘awe’ to the scene.

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Arriving at the Lakeside we could see why this is a ‘must-see’ location in Canada. Beautiful. After quite a few photographs we decided to hike to Lake Agnes. This was a steep upwards trail that passed by Mirror Lake before reaching our destination. The trail gave great views down onto Lake Louise at frequent spots through the trees, so many photos were taken. It was hard work and despite the shade of the trees and chilliness of the altitude, much sweat was lost.

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Arrival at the Lake was by way of a small waterfall that itself added to our photos down onto the intense blue lake and accompanying hotel. We only stopped briefly as this was not the top. The ‘Large Beehive’ was our new destination and this is the trail we followed. Our previous path was well trodden and in good condition, this new one was not. Steeper and much more windy, but I noticed the altitude was having an effect as breathing became more laboured. We were at 8000ft.

As would have been expected there were great views all around and not blotted by other hikers, we met only half a dozen on this section. Jamie had me video him doing his Facebook press-ups on a rocky outcrop over a precipice that gave no margin for error. I didn’t feel comfortable about this but said nothing. He survived.

Returning to Lake Agnes we stopped  at the popular little Tea room located on the banks of the little lake. It started to spit with rain as we took our seats inside and ordered hot chocolate. We had a long chat with the waitress, who we learned had spent 4 years in London and now lived in small cabin near the Tea room with the other staff, without electricity or any modern conveniences for much of the year.

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As we descended the mountain there was a crash of thunder and it began to lightly snow. It didn’t amount to much and by the time we reached our RV the sun was back out, smiling and glinting off the glacier on the distant shore of the lake.

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We drove to the RV campsite near the little village of Lake Louise and checked in. After finding our pitch, (the furthest one of all!) We made our way into the village for lunch. Canadian fish and chips was had in a small pleasant cafe which had the now necessary WiFi. We posted our location on Facebook.

After a look around the shops we purchased some provisions from the nearby store. We were running out of milk and coffee. During a walk along the river bank and through the grounds of a hotel we discussed what our plans were next when we were stopped by the track of the noisy Trans Canada Railway. We decided to travel to the Columbia Icefield tomorrow and visit Moraine Lake today. We returned to the RV.

Our drive to the lake was along a narrow road that kept your eyes glued to the road rather than looking up at the impressive mountain scenery. We reached our destination after around half and hour and immediately started snapping photos of this enchanting place and the  location (like Lake Louise) of many iconic photos.

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We climbed the rocky outcrop at the mouth of the lake to get even better shots. Thinking that you couldn’t take a poor photo of this magic scene, we were later to learn that this was true but that you could take a much better one. Perched around the outcrop were several very obvious professional photographers with their gear set up but not attempting to take any shots. We stayed with them and waited to see what it was that they were after, after all, perfection was right in front of their eyes, why were they not shooting? Over the next hour it slowly dawned on me that they were not waiting for the sun to dip down over the peaks, as first thought, but they were waiting for the lake water to become still so that the mountains and forest would be reflected in the lake. After around a couple of hours waiting, the magic moment arrived and yes you can improve on perfection. I guess these conditions rarely occur and today they did, and we were there. We both agreed in the RV on the way back that the last two hours was the best experience we have had so far. Quite surprising.

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Before

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After

Back at the campsite, after a little walk to the river and back we closed up for the night. The evening meal was bean and chilli burritos, microwaved and scoffed in double-quick time and washed down with Sprite and coffee. Jamie played Patience with our cards while I wrote this bl0g, both of us listening to Canadian radio which was discussing the recent Clinton v Trump debate.

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After a shower Jamie fell asleep which prompted me to have a shower and do like-wise. We were warned by the camp staff that bears have been around this week and that it is likely they will be through the site during the night. We shall see what the morning brings.

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