We finally make it to the Rockies!!
Our friends booked a condo outside of Canmore for everyone to crash in and jen and i hid out in an abandoned parking lot across the street. We are SO loving the ability to join in on trips but have all our stuff and our bed ready and available (and the added bonus of saving a little dough by not needing a room doesn't hurt)!!!
We mostly let Bailey and Dave lead the way as they have the local knowledge and had a nice weekend balance between hanging out it the room catching up, and hitting a few of the Banff sites. Sadly, it was a long august weekend and the park was overrun with visitors and tourists, so each commonly hit spot was insanely crowded and it felt a bit unnatural to be waiting in line to see nature as though we were lining up for an amusement park ride at disneyland. The views are worth it and the sights gorgeous…i know all these tourists are here for the same reason we are, but it was tough to find a few calm moments alone to feel the peace and calm that these sites would normally bring had everyone been forced to hike/backpack into them.
Moraine lake was outstanding. The blue waters almost impossibly bright, (especially when you scramble up for a view from above) and the forested setting allowed you to forget about the long line of cars you just sat in awaiting a parking spot. Its surroundings even allowed for some hiking/scrambling and the ability to find a place to be alone even among the crowds. Possibly my favorite part of the trip was when a flash storm came upon us with thunder, lightning, and a downpour of rain and hail that chased most of the tourists running screaming for their vehicles as though the world was ending.
We had this hit and miss weather for most of the first few days in the rockies. The weather here simply changes on a dime from bluebird skies and sunshine to thunderstorms mere seconds later. We eventually moved on from Lake Moraine and stopped in at Lake Louise. We knew it would be crowded as the lake is so well known, and with the fairmont sitting lakeside it seems a given to attract tourists by the busload…but i think we were all a bit shocked as we walked the circumference of the lake and would wait among throngs of people simply trying to force their way lakeside for a selfie. I found the crowds here almost more interesting/intriguing than the lake itself…but there’s no arguing the beauty of the lake and the massiveness of the peaks and glacier rising up just behind it.
The next day we opted for the quiet and remoteness only found by a hike. Bailie knew exactly where to take us and we began the drive out dirt/logging roads into the wilderness. Plenty of wildlife sightings along the way just to get us in the mood, and we hiked uphill into Chester Lake, where it was just us, a handful of fishermen and the marmots. We hiked around the lake and fished for a few hours before returning home. My first fly-cast fish was caught only a week or two ago, but today i caught my third (and only actual, larger than minnow) fish. Time spent standing and casting into a pristine clear mountain lake before catching a beautiful fish… I'm starting to get a feel for why this pastime is so attractive.
The following morning most of our friends had to return to work, so we threw some hugs and watched as the VanFam headed back west and Bailey and Dave returned to Calgary. Jen and I hit downtown Canmore for some lunch and wifi to catch up on client work and then departed for some more rocky mountain goodness.