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Day 4 - Banff to Lake Louise

We intended to have a relaxing week, with no alarm clocks. So (as usual) I woke up just after 7 am, and went for a wander. There were toilet blocks scattered around the campsite, but only one showerblock near the tent-sites, with five showers (one of which didn't work). The 'kitchen shelters' were open-sided rooms with a log fire in the centre - not the fully equpped kitchens that you would find in New Zealand. It seems that in Canada you are expected to be much more self-sufficient. Thank goodness for the campervan - I can't imagine touring this place in our MGF sports car, even at the height of summer! And the sites aren't cheap - $30 CAD plus, for just an electrical hook-up and use of a dump-station.

Art woke up at 9 am. After a leisurely bowl of cornflakes we checked all the levels on the van (Battery - full. Water - 2/3. Grey Water (showers, sink etc) - 2/3. Black Water (Human waste) - Full!) The black water seemed a bit OTT, but we had been warned about it not reporting correctly if a bit of paper got stuck over the sensor. We decided to try emptying & refilling things while it was nice and quiet - and we were very glad we did - it took us ages! Eventually we left the campsite at 10:30.

Wildlife spots: a squirrel that lives in burrows, has short hair on its tail and sits up like a Meercat. Must look up what it is! Also deer droppings (or ruddy big rabbits).

As kilometers mean money, we're not going to do our usual 'drive all over the place' holiday - we're going to take it slowly. We headed out to the most inappropriately named 'Lake Minnewanka' (which reminds me of a Victoria Woods song or something 'Mini Me' from an Austin Powers movie might do….).

Lake Minnewanka

This really brought home to us how cold it was here. The lake was frozen over still. However, the sun was out, so I think a thaw was on its way. We returned to Banff via Johnson Lake, which has a very pleasant (and not too strenuous) one hour walk around it. The thaw was very much in evidence, with half of the lake being clear water, and the other frozen half looking crazy-paved, with chunks of half-melted ice breaking off the main flow.

Then into Banff itself to see if we could find a Starbucks and an internet connection. Parking with an RV is interesting - there are places set aside, but even at this time of the year these were full. Goodness knows what it's like at the height of the season! We eventually found a place near the river and walked back into town. Unfortunately everyone had the same idea and had headed to Starbucks with a laptop. We gave up, and had a very nice latte at a local coffee establishment.

Hoodoo Trail

By this time it was about 2:30 pm. We decided to take the slow back-road to Lake Louise. This is very picturesque, and slow. The maximum speed is 60 kph and at some points it goes to 30 kph. At this time of year, vehicles are requested not to take this route after 6 pm, as many animals come out at dusk. We took it nice and slowly, and stopped off along the way for photographic opportunities. Castle Mountain is impressive, especially for geologists. Because of the way that the Rockies have uplifted, there are 500 million year old rocks lain over 200 million year old rocks. One of the peaks is called 'Eisenhower Peak'; apparently the government tried to rename the whole mountain after Eisenhower, and there was such an uproar they had to name it back to 'Castle Mountain' and give Ike just one peak instead! One of the best views is at 'Morant's Curve - wonderful mountains in the background, with a river and train tracks in the foreground. Next week, we'll be on that train track!

Morant's Curve

We arrived at the Lake Louise Trailer Park at 4:30. There is much more snow here than at Banff, and no-one on the gate of the park! Just an honesty box. It's still $30 CAD plus though - and even the toilet block isn't open. I do think there should be a discount when facilities aren't available.

So we're sitting here watching the snow, with a glass of wine, and contemplating cooking dinner. I think tonight it's going to be Chilli…..

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terris_travelogue/canada/d_lake_louise.txt · Last modified: 2011/05/18 06:42 by tel
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