Sunday, July 22, 2012

Visiting Alberta: Lake Louise and Banff


Yes, that is a real picture, taken by me, with my camera. Don't be fooled by the stunning beauty of Canada!
About two weeks ago we visited Alberta for the Calgary Stampede. While we were there, we took a trip up to Lake Louise and stopped into Banff for some shopping...



 We decided to take a 6 hour hike up the Rockies when we visited Lake Louise. It was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had, based on the views experienced from all different altitudes while on the hike.  These pictures do not do it justice! The beginning of the hike was great, with a fabulous view of the turquoise lake and a steady but manageable climb up the rocky path. The weather felt nice and the sun was shining the entire day. This unfortunately caused some problems as it melted a lot of the remaining snow, which formed some pretty hefty streams running down the mountains and across our path. Lets just say that we had to climb over snowy mountains, cross flowing rivers, scale a mountain and fight grizzly bears all in one day. Maybe I exaggerated just a little with the bear part, but we literally tobogganed down a snowy cliff for the first time this year!... but in July...
Good going Canadian weather, you really outdid yourself this time.
The top of the hike is marked by the Tea House, which serves some fresh food and drinks so that the tourists don't pass out up there and tumble all the way down to the bottom. The cool part is that the employees of the little restaurant actually live in a little cabin beside it. There is no electricity and they hike up or down every 5 day to switch shifts. I used an outhouse for the first time up there... it was quite the experience. Lets just say that I probably wouldn't do too well camping in the wilderness.

FINALLY. This is what you see once you know that it's all over and you made it down alive. 6 hours later and the Fairmont comes into view, a sign of hope that your tired feet will be able to rest and your water soaked socks can dry out. What a workout that hike was, leaving me with a beautiful sunburn on the exposed parts of my neck and arms. SPF 55 clearly doesn't do much in high altitude mountains with no pollution and piles of snow reflecting the rays right onto you. It was all worth it when we sat down at the restaurant in the hotel and had a huge dinner of beef dip sandwiches, nachos, wings and ice cold water. Hello replenishment.


 The next day, we went to the sulphur hot springs to swim in the natural mineralized hot spring water located in Alberta’s Banff National Park. The water was 40 degrees Celsius! Naturally. It was a heavenly experience.
 The hot spring pool


The natural sulphur hot spring


We stopped off in the town of Banff for a walk. We did some shopping since the Gap was having their huge end of season sale, along with many other stores in the town. Banff has a pretty wide variety of popular stores, to appeal to the vast amount of tourists who visit the town all year round. I scooped up some awesome finds, which included a new pair of my most worn piece of clothing: the Lululemon wunder under leggings. Why not embrace our Western yoga brand while visiting Western Canada?


The views in Alberta are truly picturesque, forming the most breathtaking backdrop to any snapshot. I can't wait to go back.

Madeline,
xx
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