Thunder in the Mountains and Tea with Scones and Jam!

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September 18th 2006
Published: September 21st 2006
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Thunder in the Mountains and Tea with Scones and Jam!

Points of Interest for Day Eleven - September 18, 2006

This morning we were nice and toasty warm, our hotel room even had a gas fireplace and a balcony. Both were put to good use as we turned on the fireplace while we opened the door to the balcony and handed out all the luggage over the railing, into the parking lot and directly on to the truck. I am sure this is not what it was all designed for, but we put it to good use!! Today we are setting our sights on Lake Louise.


Starting Destination: Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Ending Destination: Bow Lake, Alberta, Canada
Ending Destination GPS: N: 51° 40.702’ W: 116° 28.019’ Elev: 6420’
Miles Driven: 132.4
Miles Hiked: Approx. 10.6 miles
Vertical Elevation Change: 1328 feet (406 meters)
Most puzzling sight: Mr. & Mrs. Texas in their cowboy boots more than half way up the mountain… My feet hurt just looking at them!!

Getting Prepared

Today we thought that perhaps it would be best to figure out where we were staying the night before hiking all day and then trying to figure it out! In the 24 hours we have been in the area we have been continually surprised by the number of people and in particular the number of tour buses! Needless to say it was a little more difficult than we thought to find somewhere to stay and of course, more expensive! We finally decided upon the Num Ti Jah Lodge (Num Ti Jah = the Stoney People’s word for a Pine Martin, a member of the weasel family) which is adjacent to Bow Lake about 35 Km’s along the Icefields Parkway. The Lodge was rather unique… It was built in the late 1930’s by one of the early mountaineers and guides in the area—Jimmy Simpson. The information at the lodge indicated that he didn’t have any plans, just drew up his ideas in the sand on the “beach” at the lake… Hence the rather unique design. It turned out that the delay involved was another silver lining… We had left Canmore with the sun peaking out behind some clouds, only to find it getting progressively grayer as we drove towards Lake Louise, by the time we got to the lodge it was actually raining lightly!... However, as we sat in the parking lot at Lake Louise the sky started clearing and we thought we might actually get lucky!...

To the Tea Houses and Beyond…

At Lake Louise there are several trails… One around the lake and then several that take in the “local” attractions—the Plain of the Six Glaciers Tea House, Lake Agnes, Mirror Lake and the Big and Little Beehives… But first we had to get to the lake, and what a sight to behold… As a friend had told us, you come around the corner and “Wow,” Wow! Is right… The lake has this fantastic teal blue color that seemed to change with the light… Again, very difficult to capture on film!..
Our hiking destination for the day was the Plain of the Six Glaciers and if we felt up to it on further to the Abbot Pass Viewpoint… The trail (left) starts along the lake shore and then starts going up and up and up—we knew we were on the right trail as there were plenty of trail apples to follow… All the supplies to the Tea House are packed in via horse—early in the walk Carl made the comment that he thought there was probably a “secret road,” by time we got to the tea house, we were pretty sure there was not!!
Along the way Carl spotted two Mountain Goats high up on a ledge—even with the binoculars and the big lens in the Camera they were not much more than dots (left)… But they were really in the “wild!” We stopped briefly at the top of the trail to the Tea House before proceeding on up the mountain. As we had been climbing the weather had been getting progressively better, the sun had burned off some of the clouds and we were actually seeing blue!! The trail got progressively more difficult and ended climbing a rocky moraine to the lookout. Unfortunately, the clouds did not clear enough for us to view Abbot Hut; a permanent rock hut that was built in the early 1900’s to support mountain climbing efforts. But we did could see all 6 glaciers and receive the full audio effect—thunder or gun shot like sounds that were the glacier creaking and groaning… In a few cases we were able to see ice falling down the mountainside having just broken off the edge of the Glacier!
On the way down we stopped at the tea house (left) and had tea with scones and jam—boy did they taste good! The Tea House was built by the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railroad) to support the mountain climbing efforts of the guests staying at the very POSH Lodge at the end of Lake Louise (left)—it certainly was a welcome sight for tired feet!
However, we received such a boost from the scones that we decided to take the long way back to the parking lot—via the Lake Agnes (left) Tea House and Mirror Lake. This trail was considerably less traveled so we could pretend that we were the only ones hiking in the wilderness!! However, the trail did provide some rather spectacular views of the Lake and the Lodge (left)… By the time we made it back to the parking lot we could really feel that we had been working out, but there was a sense of accomplishment that is hard to describe…

Picnic Dinner…

On the way back to the Lodge we decided to make a picnic out of dinner… We stopped at the Hector Lake campground and temporarily used one of the camping sites to make Pasta and red sauce. It started raining while we were cooking so Carl rigged up a make shift shelter with the top of the back of the truck and a tarp—unfortunately it took both of us to act as supports or we would have taken a picture!! After dinner it was back to the Lodge… Weary, but happy that we had had a great day!!

Carl’s Travel Trivia

Yesterday’s Answer: The Continental Divide
Today’s Question: What do the Canadian’s call a “Texas Gate?”


21st September 2006

Trivia Texas Gate
That's a vehicle pass or as we call them , a cattle guard. MB

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