The Crown Jewel of Canada

While traveling this summer we’ve adopted an early to bed, early to rise lifestyle.  It’s not our preference but the popular parks like Yellowstone and Banff require a different strategy to avoid crowds and traffic jams.  This means we prepare and pack our breakfast and lunch the night before and leave only one task for dawn; brewing a pot of coffee and transferring it to portable mugs.  We are usually on the road by 6:30 am.

When we arrived in Banff on a holiday weekend after a long day of travel, there were enormous crowds and endless lines of cars. img_8037-1

I was travel weary and not in the mood to tour but Stephen stayed strong and pushed me through the low moment.  After a good nights sleep and a 5:30 am wake up call, we drove 30 miles up the mountain towards the renowned Lake Louise.  The Trans-Canada highway was busy and all cars were headed in the same direction. We were elated to secure a coveted parking spot and then finally relax knowing we had the rest of the day to explore.  It was just 7:00 am.  

Before donning our backpacks and hiking gear we decided to scope out the area and collect hiking maps. We walked across the lot full of cars, down a long tree-lined path with streams of people carrying all sorts of camera equipment.  The crowds were almost too much but then we rounded the corner and got our first glimpse of the famous lake. It stunned us. 


Lake Louise

The beauty was breathtaking.  The large oval lake glimmered with an emerald-green glow and the jagged mountain backdrop frosted with glaciers added to the drama.  Stephen and I were both overcome with emotion…I had tears running down my cheeks. Now I understand the hype!  We both stood at the edge of the lake and soaked in the beauty.  

Afterwards we hiked up the mountain to the tea house at Lake Agnes and enjoyed many more views but that first glimpse of Lake Louise will always be etched in my memory.

Stephen and I were both content with an early return to our camp site for an afternoon break.   We had to catch up on laundry and chase the sun with the solar collector.

We’ve had very few electrical hookups on this trip so we are grateful for the solar panel that keeps our battery charged and the refrigerator running.  

Next stop…Jasper.  

Bear encounters: zero

4 thoughts on “The Crown Jewel of Canada

  1. There is no place in the world – Alps, Maui, Yosemite – like Banff. It is one of the few places to which I’d love to return (including Jasper). I have a photo of Lake Louise on a perfectly still day, such that you can’t tell which is the top of the photo and which is the reflection in the Lake.. When we drove into Banff the first day, we approached a herd of elk at the edge of town. And in Jasper I had one of the best meals I’ve ever had — but I don’t remember where or what it was. Do you need any more incentive to continue writing ? Enjoy – it’s worth getting up at 5:30 a.m. You can sleep in at Appletree.


  2. Julie and Tim, we didn’t have Lake Louise on our itinerary, but so glad we included it. I could relate to your first glimpse of it. As Rick Steves would say, ” Keep on traveling!” We are enjoying your travel notes.


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