Banff National Park – Lake Louise
We arrived to Banff National Park and the Lake Louise campground under clearing blue skies and high rocky mountain peaks trying show us what they had to offer. We were hungry and a bit groggy from our recent snow storm travels, so lunch was the #1 priority as we got to camp.
After setting camp, Cassie decided it was finally time to shower. 5 days on the road and having not taken advantage of the free showers in Canadian parks, it was finally time. Before I took mine, I decided a trail run along the Bow River was in order. While the trail was almost entirely flat, the most interesting (and scary) part was putting myself in to grizzly country. You see the Lake Louise tent campground is surrounded by a rather large and scary looking electric fence to keep us all safe. I went through the pedestrian gate and took off down river. At first the trail was wide open and rolling, but it would eventually turn in to a hallway of green bushes, many of which at one time had berries. Fortunately, no bears or even evidence was seen and I made my way back to camp in one piece.
Our plan for the next morning was to hike to one of the famed tea houses in Banff, the Plain of 6 Glaciers. As we went to bed that night we were hopeful that the afternoons blue skies and the nights stars would provide us a great day of hiking. The weather gods had other plans though as we woke to increasing snow showers which would foil our plan. In order to come up with a “Plan B”, we stopped by the visitor center for suggestions and received an excellent idea of visiting Lake Louise and then heading down the Bow River Valley to Johnston Canyon.
We hiked the flat trail towards the end of Lake Louise in our increasing snow storm. Everyone we passed smiled at Fitz as they all thought it was just awesome that we had him out hiking and even more awesome that he was having the time of his life watching the snow fall. After hiking back to the car, we headed towards Johnston Canyon and found what looked to be a tourist trap, nice paved parking lots, a huge column structure marking the trail, and to top it off a paved hiking path. Not sure what to expect, we set off with the masses in the canyon where we found amazing scenery as we meandered up canyon, following the river closely along the at times suspended pathway up canyon to and past numerous waterfalls.
After having our fill of the outdoors for the day, we set off to play tourist in the town of Banff itself, driving highway 1A most the way, providing a more intimate view of the surround valley. Arriving in Banff, we walked the streets, checked out the shops, and of course visited the local brewery for beer and poutine before deciding it was time to head back to camp putting a stamp on the end of an all to brief visit to Banff National Park and Lake Louise before setting our sites south the following day.
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