12th - 14th June 2010: Icefields and Banff
On Saturday we had breakfast, decamped, packed up the van and headed down towards Banff driving down the famous Icefields road. On the way down here there was plenty to see and do and pretty spectacular scenery to look at and take in. First main stop was the Athabasca Glacier which comes off the Columbia Icefields. It was pretty cool, here took a short walk towards the Glacier, had a peek round the visitors centre and chilled with the others. We stopped off to take pictures of various waterfalls on the way (Athabasca and and also stopped off at two of the big lakes on the parkway. The first one was Peyto (?) where we took a short walk up to the best viewpoint. Clayton our guide had told us he was here 2 weeks ago and it was closed so we were crossing fingers. When we got there thankfully it was open and only a little bit of snow on the paths but the view was well worTh it. Crystal blue glacial water, beautiful snow peaked mountains, one of the most beautiful sights I'd ever seen. The next lake was Bow Lake (?) and it was still frozen over with ice and Clayton and Antje decided to take a paddle in the freezing water. Rather them than me. After the paddle we got moving and started to head more towards Banff. I can't actually remember if we stopped anywhere else. Anyway we arrived in Banff and the weather was fantastic, nice and hot!! Before hitting the campsite, came the usual grocery shop and thank god no cooking that night as we were going out to sample the best of Banff nightlife. So, straight to the campsite, pitch up the tents, took a shower, got ready and off we went. We ate at Wild Bill's and listened to a good band but a rock band in a wild west themed bar hmm. So both groups joined up after eating nd we all proceeded to get trashed, it was a good night out especially for Erik.
Day 2 we headed out towards Lake Louise. Once we got there most of the group decided to the Lake Louise trail and the further hike up towards the Glacier there. FeelinG a bit rough so was a lot slower than usual. Nothing like a good walk to clear a hangover. The whole lake and the climb up was amazing and all I can say is if you can, go there and do it yourself, it was brilliant. I loved the little teashop on the near end of the trail, didn't eat there but great location. After the hike back down the same path (Not many loop walks in Canada) we all met up and next stop was Lake Moraine. This is the next lake from Lake Louise and it this too was spectacular but most of us were a bit worn out to do a walk along here. It was a photo shot and a looking round the shop stop. The stop after that was some waterfalls (I forgot what they were called) they were nice but by this point everyones feet were giving out and so we drove off to our dinner spot and there we were really lucky to spot 2 wild black Timber Wolves. Amazing. Got to our picnic spot, had a lovely evening meal and drove back to camp exhausted.
Day 3: Pissy wet with rain and it was a day in Banff time today. Thank God it was wet today and not the previous day. We got dropped off in Banff and got more laundry done before walking round, shopping, sitting in a coffee shop, getting wet, walking around, another coffee shop, still getting wet. That was basically most part of the day. In the evening we went up to another set of Thermal Springs just outside of Banff. We met up with the other group and after getting soaked and freezing the whole day it was amazing to be in hot water. Then it was back to camp to eat, pack up the bags and sleep ready for the next destination.