Lake Louise, Alberta: A little disappointing!
Nearly everyone has heard of Lake Louise. It is synonymous with bucket lists and places to visit, so being so close we decided it was our turn to cross it off our bucket list too.
We live about 180 km or 2 hours from Lake Louise, so it would be criminal if we didn't visit. Yesterday the weather was predicted to be pretty good with temps in mid-teens and some sun, but mainly cloudy. We set off and decided instead of taking the Trans Canada Highway (TCH) all the way there we would get off just after Banff and travel along the Bow Valley Parkway which runs pretty much parallel to the TCH. It is a much quieter and windier road, so we hoped to see some wildlife too.
The first place we came to was a lookout at Storm Mountain. Although the skies were pretty cloudy we still managed to see how beautiful this area is. The Bow River runs along here and the railway track you can see belongs to the Rocky Mountaineer. This is a very expensive train that runs from Vancouver BC across the province into the Rockies and to Banff and Jasper. It is a train journey we have on our bucket list, but at around $3k each , that isn't going to happen, lottery win pending!
We then came to another view point and got some more beautiful scenery.
When we drove past Lake Louise a couple of months ago when we first arrived in Calgary, in fact, it was Canada Day (1 July), the parking at Lake Louise was completely full and even the overflow and shuttle bus parking areas were full. We hoped that as it was not technically out of season we would be able to park closer.
As we approached the signs were saying that the parking areas were almost to capacity, but we were flagged on and told to park in the top parking lot. All the parking areas were full of RV's and coaches as well as cars and trucks. We got one of the last parking spots available and considered ourselves lucky.
A man told us to walk to a certain pathway and follow it to the lake, so we did, along with many others. As we turned a corner at the end, there was Lake Louise and I have to say I was immediately underwhelmed. Yes it is pretty and the scenery is beautiful, but from all the photos etc that I had seen, I was expecting something much bigger. The Fairmont Chateau Hotel overlooks the lake and again from photos I'd seen I expected the area to be much more remote and everything to be, well, bigger!
I managed to get this photo of Chris taking the above photos!
I thought Lake Louise wasn't a patch on Lake Minnewanka that we visited last week. I think I might be hung, drawn and quartered for saying this, maybe even banned from Alberta, but that is what I thought.
I have to say that I am so glad we were able to get straight to the lake and park close by as sometime people have to park in the shuttle area and catch the shuttle to the lake. This can obviously take quite a while and I would have been even more disappointed had we needed to take a couple of hours just to get from parking to here.
After spending some time here we were hungry and decided to head for the town of Field in British Columbia where there is a lovely little cafe that we had been to before. As you enter Field from the highway you have to cross the railway tracks and as we approached there was a train travelling past the town and slowing down.
For those of you who are not familiar with CN Rail trains, they can be over 2 km in length, some even up to 4 km in length, so when one goes by it can take a while. The fact that this train was slowing down meant it was taking even longer. Eventually, it came to a stop, the only problem was it did so about 50 feet short of the crossing, so the cars waiting, including ourselves could not cross the track and get into town. We waited, as we thought it would move forward a little, but it just stood there. The first car in line was a Parks Canada truck, so we hoped that they would be able to contact CN Rail and explain the situation, but after about ten minutes we gave up, turned around and carried on the TCH.
These pics show the ridiculous situation we found ourselves in.
Once we got back onto the TCH we found there were roadworks after roadworks, so we ended up turning around and heading back towards Field. When we got there the train had moved forward a couple of hundred feet, so we went to the cafe and had dinner.
After dinner, we headed back towards home, but via the much longer and scenic route, highway 40, more on that in my next post!