Alaska, the Last Frontier - Summer 2012 travel blog

Lake Louise

Moraine Lake

drive to Moraine Lake

Castle Rock


Ken in the snow

Moraine Lake cyclist

Johnston Canyon

mule deer

Lake Louise

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Johnston Canyon

Highway 1 crosses the entire country of Canada. The expressway travels from Banff to Lake Louise offering spectacular views. But if you want to take the time to linger, take hikes, and way too many photos, highway 1A which runs parallel to the expressway is a much better road to travel. This thirty mile trip kept us occupied and happy the entire day. Within the first mile we came across a mule deer with velvety antlers eating breakfast by the side of the road. Walt Disney could not have planted him better. He couldn’t be bothered to raise his head and let us see his face, but he wasn’t bothered by our attention either.

The next stop was Johnston Canyon, formed by a river cutting through it, bubbling with cascades and water falls. The trail was nicely developed and fairly crowded considering the fact that hardly anyone is here. It’s hard to imagine how busy it must be in the summer when all the campgrounds are open and roads packed with cars.

Most of the traffic we had to avoid today was cyclists. We would guess that these super fit folks came here for the weekend from Calgary. The temperature was cool and the inclines were steep. If I had attempted such a ride I would be sweaty by the time I got to the top and frozen as I coasted back down.

One of the most famous sites in the area is Lake Louise. We have vivid memories of its milky green color as the glaciers melt and finely ground bits of gravel are suspended in the water. But today most of Lake Louise was still frozen. We could see the remnants of a skating rink that staff from the nearby hotel must have created for winter guests. It's great to have winter views without really having to deal with winter.

Nearby we drove to Moraine Lake on a road that was just opened this week. The snow was piled high along the side of the road and the lake was frozen almost solid. But the snow is soft and going fast in the bright sunshine. Ken tried to hike close to the shore and found himself knee deep in the snow and finally keeled over camera and all.

With all these wintery experiences it is hard to fathom the weather reports we hear from home with Memorial Day temperatures in the 90ºs.

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