2010 Race 2 Finish travel blog

the sky over the campground is clear this morning

the waterfront at Lake Louise is already packed

if you can work your way up to water's edge you can...

and then right

but that's if you can work your way up to water's edge

if you're tall enough you can hold your camera over their heads...

otherwise you're pretty much stuck shooting people in the back (not literally...

even Chateau Lake Louise is mobbed

from up there it must look like a colorful ant hill

but watching people can be fun - I offered to take a...

which they kindly reciprocated - making it look like we were the...

this side of the Chateau (where you have to pay lots of...

and this is really the pretty side

over here it was quite serene

1899 when the tourists were all Swiss

and even they were awed by these mountains

the million dollar view - that glacier once came all the way...

we start out on a hike to the end of the lake...

that glacial water reflects light in the most beautiful ways

this far on the trail there are not many people

everything around you is very big - and very quiet

from here even the Chateau looks peaceful


that glacier almost looks as though the Santa Rosa Ski Club had...


at the end of the lake glacial runoff makes opaque patterns on...


people travel from all over the world to come here

and if they'd walk another mile they could have seen this!

and it's always better if you're walking with Madolyn!

at this end the walls are steep and high

making it a popular place for rock climbing



beautiful Victoria Glacier

with it's runoff waterfall

glaciers and rock climbing make me hungry!

around the next bend a class was in session

we stopped to watch for a while

this woman was almost to the top





that anchor above her is her goal

a moment later she reached it

her goal achieved she rappelled down

another student was starting up

notice how the guys stay safely on the ground and let the...

we turned around and headed back

there's another climber starting out - can you spot him?

yup - the guy in the red shirt

this woman is already up there and she's cheering him on

he falls for it and keeps going

amazing what women can get a guy to do

like the squirrel - watching rock climbers makes us hungry too

and we know that Chateau has a good dining room - note...

if the ants haven't cleaned them out



we say 'goodbye' to Victoria Glacier and head for the Chateau

last time we skied here we were with the Santa Rosa Ski...

after lunch we got on the road and headed for the Columbia...

this is an animal migration overpass they are building to keep the...


our first stop was to see the Crowfoot Glacier

named that because it resembled a crows foot - but the third...

still you can kind of see it

this sign is interesting

putting the size of the glacier in perspective

another look - picture Banff Springs Hotel up there with room to...

the rest of the afternoon we drove north - stopping whenever we...












this is avalanche country and there are many places where you are...

Indian paintbrush




we stopped to take a look at the Weeping Wall


an interesting warning having to do with their avalanche control




this is the North Saskatchewan River

we've been crossing it off and on for weeks now



ahead the road starts climbing toward the icefields

looking back down at the Saskatchewan River valley

this is the highest we've been yet



campground flowers

High Season calls for lowered expectations


Lake Louise is busy in winter but it’s a mob scene in the summer. Correction: A mob has a leader. it’s a herd scene in the summer. At 10:30 the parking lots were nearly full. By noon you couldn’t park a skateboard. Cars and RVs were circling bumper to bumper - like vultures waiting for someone to give up their space or die.

Down at the lake you had to stand in line - just to get up to the water so you could take a picture. Linguistically it resembled the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, every language is spoken here but English. If you do hear English chances are it will be the Queen’s English, not the Canadian or American twang. The predominant language is French but you also hear German and a lot of Japanese. So you have to make a decision. You can either get annoyed that people come to your hemisphere and have the audacity to speak a language you don’t understand - or you can choose to enjoy the diversity and the sight of people from all over the world having fun. We chose the latter.

Having seen Lake Louise a decade ago in winter, the difference today was striking. Victoria Glacier at the end of the lake is shrinking rapidly. No longer do you hear the occasional thunder of a piece breaking off and falling into the lake. The thunder has been replaced by the gurgle of water running off faster than it is being replaced. At this rate in ten or fifteen years the glacier will be gone - if it lasts that long.

We took off on a trail that runs the length of the lake. For the first quarter mile the trail was as crowded as the dock, but farther along the trail got empty. At the end of the lake you come to the river of glacial run off. Here the water is chalky and more opaque than the lake. The chalkiness is caused by finely ground stone dissolved in the water. This ‘glacial talc’ accounts for the milky turquoise color of the lake.

Rock walls at the glacier end are tall and steep - so steep that most of them are vertical. Here several groups of rock climbers were testing their skills. On the trail back we started meeting people again, and by the time we reached Chateau Lake Louise the herd had grown! The only way to take a picture that didn’t have people in it was to point your camera straight up! We had lunch on the Chateau’s patio, then gave one of the vultures our space.

We headed north out of Lake Louise and turned onto Highway 93, the famous Icefields Parkway. From Lake Louise to Jasper we will be passing Alberta’s icefields, the largest and most famous of which are the Columbia Icefields that surround Mount Columbia. At 3,747 meters Mount Columbia is the highest point in Alberta. For the metrically challenged, 3,747 meters is just under 12,200 feet.

We drove for 80 miles, stopping for the night at a small primitive campground in the National Park. From the campground we can see the mountains surrounding the ice fields, their jagged peaks softened by the thick white glaciers that cover them. It’s a scene of ethereal beauty, well worth a trip across the continent to get here. Tomorrow we'll take a closer look but for tonight - a warm bed on a dark night beckons.

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