Yesterday when we stopped at an information there was a young lady named Katie (it said so on her name tag) who gave us a lot of great advise. She recommended ‘The Grizzly Paw’ pub for supper, superb, and made some recommendations about trips to hike and the best advice was…get to Moraine Lake early, like 7:00 AM!!! She said that there are only about fifty parking spots and they all go quickly. Moraine Lake is an hour and fifteen minutes from our hotel. We were on the road by 6:20 his morning, quick stop at Tim Hortons of course for a fortification of caffeine and then on to highway 1 north toward Lake Louise and Moraine Lake just as the sun was making it's way into the valley.
We pulled out into a steady stream of traffic. We arrived at Moraine Lake at 7:40, and a few parking spots were still available. We had tried to get here yesterday but were waived off by traffic control guys in orange vests… they must be official, they had vests. Today though, no traffic control and a few spots left in the lot which was filling up fast. We hiked ‘the Rockpile’ trail, a well traveled tourist trail complete with steps and designated places to view the scenery, but you know what, it was breathtaking.
This is an amazing place (I know I keep saying that) with a cool green color to the water and ten peaks towering up behind it. I took many many photos and know that none will tell the tale properly. You gotta come see this place. By the time we started down from the rock pile, the tour busses started arriving and in no time trails were filled with people from all over the world, each with a camera taking a couple of hundred photos each..must be several million photos taken here each day. The weather has been cooperating nicely too giving us beautiful skies and comfortable temperatures. By the time we got back to the car, there was absolutely no place to park in the lot and people were waiting for us the hurry the hell up and go so they could get our spot. As we drove out of the parking at least six HUGE tour busses were parked there along with several smaller ones, RV lined the roadway and cars parked along side of the road for almost a half a mile back along the road leading to the parking lot. One road in, one road out.
In 1884, Walter Wilcox wrote of Moraine lake: “No scene has ever given me an equal impression of inspiring solitude and rugged grandeur”, adding that contemplating the view from the Rockpile was the happiest half hour of his life.
The next place we wanted to see was Lake Louise, we got waved off here yesterday too. All the traffic control people we in place by now, we got waved off again. . . we went around the loop one more time and this time got waved into the lot, we got a spot! The photos you see posted here make it seem as though we had the place to ourselves, we didn’t. This is Canada Day weekend, a lot like our 4th of July, but Canadian. Not only that but it is Canada’s 150th Anniversary - this is the busiest time ever in the history of Banff National Park, everybody came here this weekend. Holy crap is it busy. After taking the obligatory photos we made our way back to the car and headed back toward Canmore.
the trail that young Katie at the information booth recommended - the Grassi Trail, a mile and a half long steady climb trail to a couple of small lakes high in the mountains. A long climb indeed for a fat guy, but well worth the effort. This was yet another magical spot. I will let the photos speak for themselves. The young lady at the information booth was right on all accounts, and another day worked out better than expected. In all we hiked over seven miles, visited lots of great spots and even got to the grocery store for ice and stuff. This fine day was topped off in the hot tub by the pool at the hotel. With all that said, here are some visuals. This is a large gallery, with some images from yesterday as well.
Click any image for a larger view.
Did I mention that the area here has lots of bears, black bears, brown bears and grizzly bears. As we were driving from Calgary to Banff we stopped for gas and our Rhode Island license plate sparked conversation with a guy who was heading to Canmore for the long weekend to do some hiking. He told us not to to enter the woods without Bear Spray. He showed us his can and continued to stress the importance of having the spray on you at all times in the woods. We found a can at a roadside shop, $65, yikes, but felt that if we are going to be spending a few days in the woods it would be prudent to have. I had to fill out a government form, like buying a firearm, stating that i will not use it for anything other than bears. When we started the hike on the Grassi Trail in Canmore there were bear warnings posted all over stating multiple sightings in the area. The spray lives in the outside pocket of Carols pack. We will be in bear country for the next few days and when we go through the rockies in the USA so, bear spray it is.
Even got in a quick video of some hiking