I’d rather be walking through the pine trees / high up above Lake Louise…
That line from the Blue Rodeo song “Western Skies” put Lake Louise on my mental travel map many many years ago. Our initial plans were to spend our first travel day hanging around Banff and to leave on a day-long road trip the following day to visit Lake Louise, perhaps Field, BC, the Icefields and the Bow River Parkway. The night before leaving, with the advance forecast calling for two days of heavy snow in the mountains, we called an audible.
Travel day: Awake at 3:45am, flight out of Halifax at 6:30, arrive in Calgary about 6 hours later. Two hours on a shuttle bus to Banff. Stop at a Safeway to pick up supplies and provisions and by 2pm Mountain time, we’re in our rental car and on our way north. We weren’t going to miss the chance to see Lake Louise, even if it was for an abbreviated visit. The weather gods smiled on us with temperatures pushing 15C and the sun broke through the clouds as we reached the lake. Our travel weary spirits were raised as we walked up a hill and the beauty of this view washed over us:
Here I am shortly after arriving at the lake:
The Fairmont Lake Louise might have the single greatest location for natural beauty on earth. Perched on the end of the lake looking back at the mountains, I wished I had a couple of days to stay here, sitting in their bar, staring out over the frozen lake.
We did a quick tour inside the Fairmont before leaving. Here’s the opulent lobby:
Leaving the hotel, we were drawn back for one last look at the lake and took the opportunity to snap this picture which will shortly be framed for our travel wall in our condo:
I don’t have adequate words to describe the feelings from our far too short time at Lake Louise – it was some mix of child-like giddiness from the anticipation, a serene calm enhanced by the stillness of the air that day, and a sense of smallness in relation to the natural grandeur surrounding me. The beauty of Lake Louise left its mark on me. Travel at its best is transformative, and this was one of the best moments in my travels to date.