Saturday, October 8, 2022

Banff Part III - Lake Louise and Lake Moraine - Not What We Were Expecting

Thursday August 25

Well today was a crazy day. Things did not go as planned, but they worked out anyway.

Our thought was we would drive up to Lake Louise in the morning, maybe see Lake Moraine as well, have a picnic lunch, drive back. Well we drive up to the lake around 9 am. It’s a nice drive on the Trans Canada Hwy, around 45 minutes from Banff. The wildlife crossings on the Hwy are pretty cool too.

Trans Canada Hwy Wildlife Crossing

Then we get there. Lake Moraine, parking lot full. Lake Louise, parking lot full. Oh well we think, we’ll have to take the shuttle from the parknride. Ha, all shuttles booked for the day. Well pooh.

We drive back on the Bow River Parkway, Hwy 1a, to at least get something positive out of the drive. We stop at a day use area for our picnic lunch, a very pretty spot, and drive the rest of the way back to Banff.

Bow River

We decide to go on a 1 hour raft trip on the Bow River. We deposit the dogs in the camper and off we go again. This turns out to be fun and relaxing and very pretty. We found out what the Hoodoos are, and saw the sleeping Buffalo on the mountain. We even saw some rock climbers high up on Tunnel mountain. Yikes!

The Hoodoos

The Sleeping Buffalo

Bow River Rafting

When we got back to the camper Lee called the Lake Louise Shuttle and got us a reservation at 2 pm tomorrow. It was all they had. That or according to some people we talked to on the float trip, sleep in the truck in the Lake Moraine parking lot tonight. Uh no, we’re way too old for that!

Friday August 26

After the float trip we went back to the RV for awhile. I sat outside in the screen tent, crocheted and read. Very nice! Then I took the dogs for a walk, fed them, and changed clothes. We had a reservation in town at an Italian-Swiss restaurant called Ticino’s. It was really good! Lee’s gin martini was well made, which is always a good sign. I had a vodka lemonade which was refreshing and delicious. Then I had the gnocchi as an appetizer and we shared a salad. The gnocchi was awesome, but I got the smaller option because I wanted to try the fondue as well.

I had the cheese fondue as my main course, and Lee got a veal, mushroom, and potato dish which was amazing. He shared some of it with me. The fondue was delicious. We ate all of Lee's entree and as much of the fondue as we could. We were stuffed and happy, a good conclusion to a day that could have been a disaster, but we definitely made lemonade out of lemons this time!

Saturday August 27

Well yesterday was “interesting “ as the Minnesotans say. We saw both Lakes, and they were beautiful, as everyone has said. BUT!

We had a leisurely morning. I ran the trail that goes all the way around the Tunnel Mountain campgrounds, around 4.25 miles. It was a very pretty trail. It’s the longest I’ve run since the marathon.  I need to practice some trail running before I do the arboretum trail 10k again at the end of September.

Tunnel Mountain Trail

At around 1 we said goodbye to the dogs and drove back to Lake Louise. The shuttle parking lot was almost full but there were still spots. We walked to the bus stop for Lake Moraine. We would go there first, then take the shuttle to Lake Louise and then go back.

We waited around 20 minutes for the shuttle. The bus was warm, and packed full. Dark clouds were gathering over the mountains. Just as we pulled into the parking lot it began to rain, just lightly at first.

Lake Moraine is beautiful just like people said. Very blue! You could rent canoes, or hike along the shore, except for one thing. It started to thunder, and lightening, and rain harder.  After 15 minutes we decided we had better head to Lake Louise.

Lake Moraine

So did a lot of other people. We waited about a half hour in the pouring rain, and got pretty soaked in spite of our rain parkas. It was cold too. Finally we got on the bus and before very long we were at Lake Louise. It’s pretty spectacular! But sooooo crowded. At least it had stopped raining. We walked up to the shore, took some requisite pictures and that was that.

Lake Louise

By now with all the waiting in line for shuttles it was 4:30. We figured it would be close to 6 by the time we got back to the RV. Time to go.

The line for the shuttle back to the park and ride was huge. One bus came, filled up quickly, and left. They finally took pity on us and got another bus to help out. Back to the park and ride, walk to the truck, drive the 45 minutes back to Banff.

We got Popeye’s for dinner. Not healthy but quick and easy. The dogs were very happy to see us. After a chance to pee, and another longer walk after dinner, they were content.

So. Obviously there’s got to be a better way to do this. A tour? Maybe. They got priority and it would reduce the hassle. Go and sleep in the parking lot? Sure, if we were 30 years younger. Ha. Or, plan ahead and stay in one of the hotels or campgrounds up by the lakes. There weren’t RV campgrounds that I saw, and it’s always a question whether hotels or cabins will allow dogs.

So I don’t know. I’m glad we saw the lakes, but it wasn’t worth the insanity.

This morning we drove to Canmore, about 20 minutes from Banff, and right on our way. It’s very nice, a much lower energy version of Banff, with some nice mountains of its own. We parked the RV in free parking, and walked down 8th street, a pedestrian street in the heart of town. Lots of shops and stuff but it was early and they weren’t open yet. No matter. We found a popular looking bagel shop. Lee got a bagel and orange juice. I got a cinnamon roll and a cappuccino. Then we walked back to the truck and went on our way. We are on our way home.


On our way to Banff we saw these strange tents out in the fields outside of Duchess, AB. We had to look up what they were. They are for bees! Apparently if you grow canola for seed you need bees to pollinate the plants and beekeepers bring their bees to your fields in portable hives for that reason. On the way back we stopped and took pictures of the bee tents. There’s definitely more to learn about this!

We were at our campsite a little after two. We got everything set up and then enjoyed a real internet connection for the first time in a week. I was going to go sit outside with the dogs but a big storm with a LOT of wind started blowing through so I’m staying put. We can see the storm off to the north; we are just on the edge of it. The RV is shaking in the wind, but I think we’re ok. You wouldn’t want to be in one of these in a tornado, however!

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