This trip was life changing for me (I know I’ve been sharing a lot of those lately!). It changed me, not because of the stunning mountains, wild animals or beautiful lakes, but because it made me realize something about my traveling self. Be careful who you travel with…
In the summer of 2009 I planned a trip to Banff National Park for Drama Papa and myself. He had been there as a child and I had never been. I love glaciers and had mentioned my disappointment with the lack of glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park. Drama Papa said “if you want to see glaciers you need to go to Banff, you can walk right up to them”.
Excited with this recommendation and a commitment from Drama Papa to go along with me I began planning our trip. I worked up a 3 day trip, driving to Lake Louise for the first night, up to Jasper the next day and our last day would be spent in Banff. Sounds like fun right?
On the first morning of our trip we headed to Canada from Idaho. We drove along highway 93 that led us to Kootenay National Park. This park in my opinion is a missed gem and most likely skipped by many as they speed on their way to Banff (literally speeding, everyone in Alberta seems to be in a hurry). Although the park has been hit hard by the bark beetle it still has beauty.
The park entrance into Kootenay is the most impressive with a carved out rock roadway to navigate your car through. If you want to capture a photo of this be sure to do it before passing through. I had to walk through the passageway and it was a bit scary with large RV’s traveling by. This entrance is near Radium Hot Springs where I recommend filling up your vehicle with fuel here as it may cost a lot here but it will only cost more inside the park!
We continued along the highway to Lake Louise, our final stop of the day. We had booked accommodations at the Lake Louise Campground for the night. I am never a fan of sleeping on the ground so we slept in the back of Drama Papa’s truck under a canopy. Just a side note if you choose to “camp” this way be sure to rent a location in the tenting section of the campground and not in the RV section. I obviously did not know this at the time, hence why I am sharing this with you. There was something mentioned about bears ripping open the side of the canopy and eating us. I guess the electric fence around the tenting section keeps the bears out and there are no electric fences in the camper sections!
After we had secured our campsite we drove out to Moraine Lake. It was recommend in my tour guide book and what a great recommendation it was! This lake was long and narrow with mountains jetting up into the sky. The water was an unbelievable teal blue color fueled by the minerals in the glacial fed waters (hence the name). Although I had not been to Lake Louise yet, in hindsight I think this lake takes beauty to a whole new level… and sort of puts Lake Louise in the back seat. Hit it at just the right time on a sunny day and you will be rewarded with great photos. This is also a great spot to rent canoes and there is a walking path around the lake for a leisurely stroll
The next morning Drama Papa and I visited Lake Louise. We tootled around the Fairmont Chateau. It is a pretty impressive hotel, however pales in comparison to the Fairmont in Banff, in my opinion. We arrived early as the photographer in me wanted to get the lighting just right, so that reflection off the water would give me the most powerful teal blue coloring possible. I do have to admit that as I look at these photos now they make me sad. They are still beautiful, but I know I can take a better photo than what I have.