Tuesday, September 26

canadian adventure - banff national park: lake louise, plain of six glaciers and the tea house

We made over 800 photos between my DSLR and our cell phones, so you could imagine there was a lot to go through and organize, let alone write about our amazing trip to Canada.

We had been planning our trip to Banff since July of 2016...  not officially, but we had planned to go in 2016 and decided to postpone until September 2017.  I'm not sure why we postponed a year, but at the time I felt like 14 months seemed really far away and then all the sudden it was here.  It was finally here!

To get to Calgary, Alberta from North Carolina was a full day of travel.  My anxiety was a little escalated the night prior and I think I may have had 3 hours of sleep with a 3am wakeup call.  Good times!!  We flew into Seattle, had a 30 min delay due to food shortage on the plane which they didn't even resolve and that made us both a little nervous that our 50 minute layover was going to lead to a missed flight. I just sat there and said a quick prayer for God to get us there to make our next flight and all 3 pieces of our luggage to arrive in Calgary.  What else can you do, right?  

Thankfully the flight had free television since it's almost 6 hours.  We watched movies, TV shows and also frequently turned the news updates on Irma's landfall to the Keys and south Florida.

When we landed in Seattle and were waiting to deplane, the flight attendant read off all of the respective gates for persons who had connecting flights.  We had 3 concourses for Delta and praise Jesus our gate distance was B3 to B5!  If our luggage didn't make it to the next plane I would have been shocked!


The next flight was much shorter to Calgary, Alberta Canada.  When we landed in Calgary I said to Joe it looks just like Denver.  Very flat, desert like and the mountains are about 1.5 hour drive away.  Our general destination was Banff, but we stayed just outside at the Grand Rockies Resort in Canmore.  It was a better price and nicer plan to stay compared to what we would have to pay in Banff.

Our first stop was the Canmore Visitor Center to grab maps, get some information and a free discovery pass to all the parks.  The front desk provided us with great details on everything we wanted to know and of course my BIG question was how likely are there Bears in the areas we want to hike in?  She said the hikes we were interested in were pretty human populated, so there is less likely of a chance.  She also said if you arrive to a trail and there were at least 4 to 5 cars in the parking area you most likely won't see any.  Keep that in mind when you read about some of our future hikes.

For dinner we went into downtown Canmore to the Iron Goat and sat outside because the view was spectacular, but it was COLD.  I'm assuming the rest of the folks were either locals or northerners as a lot of them were wearing short sleeves and shorts and I was bundled up in a coat!

After dinner we made a quick run to the grocery store and off to bed we went for an early morning wakeup call...  4:30am.



6am drive to Lake Louise

It was interesting that the majority of the Trans Canada Highway had high fences on the side of the roads and semi frequent short tunnels.  Joe asked me what I thought they were for and I assumed they were for the animals to safely cross the road.  Not just a hat rack my friend!

Note - the photos are mixed between the DSLR and cell phone and as a photographer I feel like that has to be noted.  Go figure.


Just before sunrise (over the peaks) at Lake Louise.



I used my 24mm lens which is the widest lens I own and it really doesn't do the view of the lake justice.  Below I have included a panoramic (small due to blog width), but the view was spectacular.










The sun finally started to peak over the mountains.  Love the warm glow of the sun on Joe.





Looking back towards the sun.


Upward and onward.



...continuing our hike up to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House Trail in the heart of Mount Lefroy, Mount Victoria and the Victoria Glacier.  ~ 3.4 miles



We could still see the moon!














Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House  


HISTORY: The original tea house was built in 1924 by Swiss guides employed by the Canadian Pacific Railway.  It was a rest stop for mountain climbers making their way to Abbots Pass.  The name Plain of Six Glaciers comes from the hanging glaciers of Mount Aberdeen, Lefroy and Victoria, as well as the Lower Victoria and Lefroy glaciers and the hanging glacier on Popes Peak.  Three additional cabins were built in 1927 to house hikers overnight. These cabins are now used for sleeping quarters for teahouse staff.



They were out of tea biscuits and chocolate cake at 10am, so what do you get?  Apple cake and berry berry tea, coffee for Joe.




Hiked the Lookout and was very very windy.




Trying to make the wind stop!  I failed.











As we had made it back to the tea house area we heard an avalanche.  There is a an area between the glaciers called the death trap.  The sound was incredible!

... next stop a hike to the top of the Beehive!


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