Did someone order a frozen lake?

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North America » Canada » Alberta » Banff National Park
December 9th 2012
Published: January 17th 2013
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As I was departing Jasper the following morning nice and early I came upon a group of Elk crossing and obstructing the road. They didn’t seem to be too bothered by vehicles as they leisurely made their way across. The weather on the drive down to Lake Louise was much the same as on the way up which meant I didn’t get too many clear views of the mountains. Much of the drive on the Icefields parkway was covered in more than a foot of snow. The snowplows hadn’t had a chance to clear much of it away so I had a rather interesting time of it in the old Corolla.

I arrived into Lake Louise in the afternoon and decided to squeeze in a quick hike up to Lake Agnes which has a teahouse by the lake. And of course you guessed it – closed for winter. I hired some snowshoes and slogged my way to the top. About half way up the trail the footprints stopped altogether which meant I was the only person to venture up that day. Pretty amazing to think about considering this is the most popular trail in Lake Louise. Again it was a little spooky being out in the forest by myself, but I really did love having nobody around. It seemed to make it even more special and personal.

Both Lake Agnes and Lake Louise were frozen over so I wasn’t able to appreciate the clear blue waters that I’ve seen in so many pictures. A return in summer sometime in the future is looking very necessary.

On the short drive to Banff that evening the car developed a strange vibration whenever my speed climbed above 80 km/h. After giving it 20 minutes to fix itself I stopped to check it out. First thing I noticed when I peered underneath the car was the many icicles present. I cleared away as much snow and ice as possible but I believe the ice had started forming around the suspension, causing the vibrations. I determined it was safe to ignore and put up with it the rest of way to my hotel in Banff. Fortunately it had an underground car park, so after the ice had melted away overnight the vibration disappeared. Just some of the joys of winter driving in these parts.

I was lucky enough to experience some sunny skies in Banff and had quite magnificent views of Lake Minnewanka which was one of the few lakes I saw that wasn’t frozen over. I also did another short hike to Johnson Canyon which had a number of small partially frozen waterfalls and one massive frozen waterfall. As I came around the corner at the Upper Falls, the frozen landscape slowly revealed itself which left me in stunned awe. Very spectacular.

Another hike I did was Tunnel mountain which begins in Banff itself and is the most popular hike. It gives a great view over Banff and the Bow Valley on the other side. I was treated to yet another brilliant sunset and took far too many photos as usual.

After returning my vehicle in Calgary my final destination on this short Canadian trip was Winnipeg. This is home to one of my mates that I lived with during my time at Big White ski resort in 2007-08. He is a passionate Winnipeg Jets hockey fan and we were planning to go see a game when I visited, however the league was in a lockout (strike). Therefore we weren’t able to go watch a game. I still enjoyed my time there despite the fact it was -25 celcius most days. It was just another level of coldness.

I took away a lot of fantastic memories and experiences from Canada, but I know I need to get back there in summer to see a whole lot more. My next destination was Guatemala where I’d be spending nearly two weeks studying Spanish in preparation for my South American adventure.

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