Banff to Lake Louise

After a late breakfast in the Gold Lounge, we were taken to the Theatre in the Conference wing at Fairmont Banff Springs, for a very interesting, and sometimes hilarious presentation by Patrick, the retired Royal Canadian Mounty.  He gave us the history of the Mounties, who started in 1867 as the North West Mounted Police.  He told us the history of their uniform:  red jacket, dark blue jodhpurs riding pants with a yellow stripe down the leg, brown stetson hat with a tie down at the back and brown riding boots.  He told us that he was wearing the dress uniform, which is the “Talking Postcard Uniform”!!  They are no longer issued with horses and instead, drive vehicles, so that they can “catch the bad guys”.

We all had photos taken with the Mounty before boarding the bus and heading to Sulphur Mountain, where we caught 4 person gondolas to the top.  The ride took eight minutes and the view became increasingly lovely as we climbed the 698metres to an elevation of 2281 metres at the summit upper terminal.  We took several photos from the top and enjoyed the view, before heading back down the mountain.

We were then taken to an observation deck with a spectacular view of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, looking like a castle amongst the trees.  Then we went to the Hoodoos that some of us had seen on our River Float yesterday and were able to se them from a different perspective.

We left the Banff area, keeping our eyes peeled for grizzly bears, but no luck – in fact the only animals we saw were ground squirrels and an Osprey Nest with babies in it which was built on top of the bridge over the Bow River leading to the Bow Valley Parkway.

We arrived in Lake Louise late afternoon.  Lake Louise is located in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada and is a glacial lake.  The emerald colour of the water comes from the silt from the rock particles carried into the lake by melted water from the glaciers that overlook the lake.  However, the lake is still mostly frozen as they have had a late start to their spring. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, where we are staying, is located on Lake Louise’s Eastern shore and our room has a spectacular view of the lake and Mount Victoria and the glacier.

A Heritage guide met us and took us for a stroll along the lake, giving us the history and stories about Lake Louise, which is 1731m above sea level, 2.2km long and 500 metres wide;  and he told us all about Mt Victoria, which is 8.5km high.  He said the glacier thickness is 90metres.  The Heritage guide told us that the lake is frozen for 8 months of the year and that the lake is clear in June and Emerald coloured by August.

It is currently 20 to 10 at night and it is still light outside so we are sitting at the window tying our blog, looking at our magnificent view.

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