Why Lake Louise?

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October 2nd 2009
Published: October 2nd 2009
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Why Lake Louise?

Once upon a time, a newly married couple were having breakfast in a tiny motel dining room overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Diamond Head—in AUSTRALIA, a bit north of Myall Lakes.
Though the view out the large picture window was the main attention getter, on one small patch of wall there was a gorgeous poster of Lake Louise in British Columbia, Canada.
“I was there once -- it's so beautiful,” she gushed. Then, airily, “One day I'll take you there.”
That was 35 years ago, and Martha is FINALLY able to keep that promise to Phil. The newlyweds are now grey nomads, but hey, a promise is a promise.
When planning the trip to the north, whenever people asked, “Where are you going?” our only sure destination was Lake Louise.
Lake Louise was such an icon to us, that when we got to the Lake Louise campground in the evening we decided to wait till morning to drive the last few kms to the lake itself.
Next morning we decided to savor our first views of the lake and have our breakfast right there, so we drove to the parking lot
Lake Louise early morningLake Louise early morningLake Louise early morning

We liked how the shadow looked like a giant butterfly over the lake.
early, carried our coffee and bread and jam to a lakeside bench and sat watching the morning light play across the face of the lake and the mountains and the glaciers.
We also watched the tourists taking pictures of each other, including one marvellous old woman who took a few steps from her wheelchair to the lake edge, turned, balanced and smiled back at the elderly man with the camera.
Ellen, the lower glacier just isn't there! In 1970, the Lower Victoria Glacier was right at the edge of the lake, on the opposite shore from the grand Victoria Hotel. But glaciers are receding across the north, and the lower Victoria is now way back up the valley from where it once was.
The weather was totally beautiful but rain was expected the next day, so we took the advise of a photographer we met and set out on an ambitious circuit hike. We hiked up to Agnes Lake, had morning tea in the teahouse there, took the walk around the edge of this high elevation lake, climbed the steep switchbacks to the top of the “beehive”, and then went down an alternate back trail, aiming for
View of teahouse and Beehive from belowView of teahouse and Beehive from belowView of teahouse and Beehive from below

Can you see the teahouse? Tiny in the middle. The Beehive is to the left. We climbed to the top of the Beehive!
the Plain of 6 Glaciers, but finally turning short of there and heading back through the valley where the Lower Victoria Glacier used to be when in 1970, down to the lake shore and back the length of the lake to the grand hotel.
We were SO tired, after an icecream from one of the hotel kiosks, and a rest on a garden bench, we fairly hobbled back to the parking lot where we'd left the van.
It reminded us of the day 34 years ago that we'd climbed Mt. Kosciusko, the tallest mountain in Australia (but which isn't as high as the Rockies of course). We had been so exhuasted that we lay in our tent in the campground at 7pm in the bright Australian summertime, unable to sleep for hours, listening to children playing outside.
So this time, having actually learned from experience, we took an easy way out, with a gin and tonic and a nice meal at a restaurant, and laughing over our day till the tears ran down my cheeks. Then we climbed into our cozy van and slept easily and well.

Bears update
At the Lake Louise campground they've ratcheted
First rest stopFirst rest stopFirst rest stop

Going up through the forest wasn't too hard.
up the bear/people situation to a new level. The tenters' campground is encircled with an electric fence to keep the campers in and the bears out!!
We still had to observe the “bare campground” policy, but the park wardens were taking fewer chances.
Wait till you hear about the bear rules at Moraine Lake—but that's in the next installment.

Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


Agnes Lake TeahouseAgnes Lake Teahouse
Agnes Lake Teahouse

After a great morning tea, time to enjoy the view down to Lake Louise.
Agnes LakeAgnes Lake
Agnes Lake

We hiked around the rim of it. Here's the view looking back to the teahouse.
The BeehiveThe Beehive
The Beehive

What a climb!! That pooped me out, but Phil did fine. On the other hand, I come down a trail like a mountain goat, with my little feet, but Phil is cursing all the roots and stones.
Phil's Death Defying Phil's Death Defying
Phil's Death Defying

When he went out on the ledge at the top of the Beehive, I couldn't look, just kept saying to myself, "Come back, come back!" Lake Louise below.
Upper Victoria GlacierUpper Victoria Glacier
Upper Victoria Glacier

View from the trail behind the Beehive.
The Upper Victoria GlacierThe Upper Victoria Glacier
The Upper Victoria Glacier

Still hanging in there. The darker lower section is the Lower Victoria Glacier, incognito in its gravelly covering.
River of MilkRiver of Milk
River of Milk

White stream full of "glacier flour".
The glacier's impact on the lakeThe glacier's impact on the lake
The glacier's impact on the lake

As the glacier milk flows into Lake Louise, you can see the "flour" the stream has carried.
Lower Victoria GlacierLower Victoria Glacier
Lower Victoria Glacier

Where did it go? It has receded a long, long way.
The Grand Victoria HotelThe Grand Victoria Hotel
The Grand Victoria Hotel

Looking back across Lake louise from where the glacier used to be.
Lake LouiseLake Louise
Lake Louise

View in the afternoon from the hotel side.

2nd October 2009

It is great fun reading your posts, and the photos are fantastic! I am so glad that you are able to take this trip! What a treat, and a nice reward after raising Sky and Lucien! Lots of love, and safe journeys! Eliza PS Just got an e-mail from Kevin. His e-mail is kevinlmccarthy@gmail.com. Don't know if he is on your blog invite list, but if not, you might add him! Please send me an e-mail again abut when you will be in Boston.
5th October 2009

Lake Louise's glacier
It was around 1985 when we were there and, from memory, there was still a glacier at the opposite end to the hotel. I must get the photos out to show you when you come back to Oz! M xx
8th October 2009

Bear Proof Fence
slightly inappropriate movie reference? wow, those views are spectacular!! i'm very jealous!!

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