In this post I'll talk about Lake Louise & Moraine Lake.
I woke up the next morning and checked out the window, checking if I was lucky again, getting some more of the "white stuff". I wasn't. Anyway, the reason I woke up early was to try and go to Lake O'Hara in Yoho NP. This should be a beautiful lake and you can only get to it by a bus, once a day, a bus where you need to make a reservation at least 6 months in advance (which I didn't). But I was told you can come to the bus starting point and see if there were any cancellations.
When I started planning this trip it was only 2-3 months before the trip itself so obviously there were no open spots. I checked the web-site every now and then just to make sure but they made me sure 🙁 . So I reached the place quite early, like 6:30 AM (after waiting for a loooooooong train to pass by) and asked the ranger to add me to the waiting list. There were a few other people who, like me, came without a reservation. Among them there was one Asian couple … After half an hour or so the ranger told us all the buses are full and we don't have an open seat, so I received the message and continued. On the other hand, the Asian couple just stood there and stared at her, it was a strange/funny situation. The ranger was really nice and asked them if they had other plans for the day, or if they have a map and so on, but they just stared … They didn't speak one word of English !! I still can't figure out how such a couple arrives here … It's not just a place you stop by on the road, but … whatever.
All this "adventure" ended around 7:30 AM and my next stop was at Lake Moraine where I had to pay my debt ! The drive (from Lake Louise) is about 15 minutes but its very nice – all the time you see the peaks around you, some are snowy, while some are not, some with evergreen trees and some with foliage colors (this is one of the bonuses of this time of year !).
I guess it was (too) early cause there was no one near the trailhead. I went up to the Rock pile again even though I was there just yesterday, but now it's in a different time of day, different lighting so altogether the lake looks different. I enjoyed the views, took some more photos, and basically waited for people to start coming so I can go on the hike. I wished to do the Larch Valley trail but I knew I don't have much weight on the decision since I'm joining them. There was a group of Asian (lots of Asians ah ?) which I didn't see myself walking with them, and after them there were 2 women and a guy, all more or less my age, so I asked if I could join them and there we were ! BUT going on a different trail. They all start the same but split at some point. The trail they chose was Eiffel Lake.
Like in most cases, the trail begins with some elevation gain, so once in a while you get a view of Moraine Lake but it wasn't a clear view … there were always trees in the way ! (come on). It was a sunny day so the lake did look different but as I mentioned, it was hard to see it. The trail was in the woods, while the trees are still covered in snow but starting to defrost. At some point the terrain changed, and from a 'forest' kind of area it turned to an open area, this was the "Avalanche pass" (where an avalanche passes and destroys all the trees). This is also where the danger of a bear is a bit more eminent so people need to make more noise. Of course this is when we kind of stopped talking, but we survived 🙂 . This was almost the end of the trail and a few meters later we saw Eiffel lake which wasn't impressive. We hiked our way back and they went to the Rock pile, but after being there twice already I gave up.
I went back to the lodge to have a 'fish n chips' dinner any plan the next day.
I had one more day in this area before heading north to Jasper. Trail-wise I didn't want to go to Moraine Lake again for 2 reasons: a) they all start from the same place and b) there's the "bear" thing, well not the bears themselves but the fact you can't walk alone so it's a risk for me.
So the chosen one was the "Plain of 6 glaciers" in Lake Louise area, which meant I had to walk all the right lake shore and then start climbing … At the end of the lake, like a few days earlier in Emerald Lake there's this kind of "delta" where the lake gets its water from the river. This area looks sandy so it's a little strange with all the turquoise and green colors around. I started walking and it wasn't steep, when on my left side there are some glaciers which are the source for this lake, although can't promise I saw 6 of them … As I'm walking it started snowing again and i'm like "Yey !!!", that's really fun to have (light) snow when you're hiking. It was 2-4 degrees and when there's no wind it's not bad at all.
Suddenly I turn my head and what do I see ? Lake Louise like I didn't see it before. I found out there's another part which you can't really see from the hotel at the other end, looks like another belly or something 🙂 . So it's snowing and I'm cheerful and just continue walking until I reach a fork in the trail where one way leads to the tea house and the other one wasn't so clear but I chose it (??) I chose it even though I read in the book there isn't anything special past this point, and sure enough, after like 200 meters there is a sign saying this trail is not maintained. So I turned around and went to the tea house.
I ordered a cup of tea and sat down to rest on the balcony. Oh, what a moment that is ! Let me try to describe the situation: I'm sitting on a wooden balcony of a tea house (which gets its groceries once a season by a helicopter), in the Rockies, with a cup of tea in my hands and it's snowing outside – can you believe it ?!? That was a moment to cherish – definitely.
By the time I got back to the parking lot it was 13:00 and I was thinking what to do next. The forecast for the next days said there's a chance of rain so I decided to go to Peyto lake. I get on the road towards Jasper and I see someone trying to catch a ride to Jasper. I pulled over and told him I was only going to Peyto so up to him. He joined me and like 2 minutes later, turns out he's … from Israel, that was really funny. The drive takes around 30-40 minutes on the beautiful Icefields Parkway which I plan on doing the next day.
Back to "Peyto" … the way up there is only about 10 minutes but it was partially covered in ice so you need to watch every step you take. But then you reach the balcony and you see this crazy looking lake !! It has the shape of a fox head and with the crazy turquoise colors it's amazing ! See for yourself.
On the way back I stopped in another lake (Bow lake) and had hot chocolate 🙂 , didn't feel like starting another hike now. I got what I needed for the day.
Tomorrow I'm planning on doing the Icefield Parkway and getting to Jasper ..