Jun 4, 2008

Day 5 - Lake Louise to Jasper

Luck is certainly on our side!

Despite the weather forecast that said it's going to be rainy all day in Lake Louise, we ended up seeing a blue sky in the morning. As we got up a bit later than we should have (lazy buggers we are), once we checked out of the hotel, we walked fast to see the Lake Louise under the sun. And we were not disappointed!

Lake Louise looked better than yesterday. In fact, it looked absolutely amazing. It goes to show that a sun makes such a huge difference when visiting tourist destinations and taking touristy photos. Just like yesterday, the lake is still covered with ice, but we were amazed by the colour of the lake and the reflection of the hills and glacier on the water.

Once we finished with our photo session, we started our mission – climbing up to the Lake Agnes and one of the hills to get the better view of the lake. This time, a lot higher than the Fairview Lookout we went yesterday. The trail to the Lake Agnes wasn't as steep as the one to the Fairview. But it's such a long walk. On the way to Lake Agnes, we saw the Mirror Lake, which has a funny looking hill behind it. It is a pretty small lake, and almost like a little pond. We continued walking to Lake Agnes for another 1KM. On the way up there, we could see the colour of Mirror Lake changed to dark emerald colour. After just over an hour, we managed to climb up to Lake Agnes, which looked a bit different from what I expected. The lake was also still 60% frozen, but it was just relaxing to see the water and, again, hills reflecting on the water. Funnily enough, there is a tea house right by Lake Agnes, although I cannot believe that there are people who climb up here to work day in day out. We thought we were lucky as we found out that the tea house just opened for this season today. Unfortunately, the service was way bloody slow, so we gave up on the idea of having a nice cuppa.

We were going to continue with our hike up to the Big Beehive for a view of Lake Louise, but the guy who runs the tea house recommended that we go to the Little Beehive as the path to the Big one was still covered with tons of snow. We took up on his idea and started walking to the Little one although from our point of view the mission was still far from little, and it ended up being a quite a bit of walk. As soon as we started walking, we started seeing more and more snow and ice on the trail, and we ended up even walking through where there was an avalanche just recently, which was bloody scary as the slope was rather steep looking down. After walking on snow of about 20-30CM deep, we finally got to the top of the Little Beehive. Yes, we did it! We felt like proper mountaineers! And what an amazing view we got. We could see the |Rocky Mountains, and also the Lake Louise from way above! The Fairmont Hotel on Lake Louise looked so tiny. The lake presented a thick bright blue colour from the top. There were very few people who bothered to come to the Little Beehive (we only saw about seven people on the way and on the hill), It really felt like we accomplished something, which meant that our picnic lunch with the view was yummy yummy yummy! :-)

After coming back from our hiking, we still had over an hour before our shuttle was going to pick up us. So we ended up rewarding ourselves for the mission accomplished with some coffee and cake.

We got on our shuttle with this nice British couple from Surrey who was also staying at our lodge. We started talking quite a bit, and they told us that they had seen some bears. As soon as they showed us some photos to prove it, we were very envious and were determined to see some.

Shortly after we left Lake Louise, our driver got a call from his office about bear sighting. Yes! We gonna see some bears! Unfortunately, by the time we got to where they found bears, they disappeared. I was gutted, absolutely gutted. As we continued our way back to Jasper, there were a few cars parked on the side of the highway. Our driver says 'There's something out there.' As we got closer, we found a bear. Yes, finally!! I got into a panic mode with overjoy. The bear was walking along the side of the bush, and my hand was too shaky for my brand new camera to be able to cope. The photos were blurred. Bugger... But still we saw a bear!

As I got mixed feelings of excitement (of seeing a bear) and disappointment (of crappy photos), we continued our journey as though nothing ever happened. As we were enjoying our conversation with the British couple, the driver says 'there's another one'. Is there another bear????? Indeed, there are tons of cars parked around the bear, with some guys even climbing up on their car. Yes, we saw another one! I tried to calm myself down so that I could take some decent photos. This time, my camera let me down as it didn't like the reflection of the window. Still, I took some better photos this time. Yes, we saw two bears!

It was a pleasant journey back from Lake Louise to Jasper as we saw all the lakes as well as the Columbia Glacier and the Rocky Mountains we had seen along the way, combined with meeting a lovely British couple and a surprise gift of bear sightings.

We finished our night with lovely meal at the Karouzo's restaurant. Presumably, this restaurant is owned by Italians, which is why they serve not only Alberta meat but also Italian dishes. I had a lovely steak with meet sauce pasta as well as a glass of ice wine and brandy. Unusual combination, but it was sooooo delicious. Although it started raining by the time we started eating, we thoroughly enjoyed fine dining, friendly staff, and lovely service.

No comments: