Monday, September 27, 2010

Unexpected Hike

If you read my post earlier today you’d know that there is a big chunk of the weekend I left out – Saturday to be exact. I figured it deserved it own post.

Matt and I had decided that we would head to Banff again on Saturday. There was so much we hadn’t seen or done the last time. The forecast for Saturday was great 25 degrees here in Calgary but a little chillier in the mountains but sunny. It was the perfect opportunity.

After chatting about it we decided to head to Lake Louise first (which is about 30 mins past the town of Banff) and see the blue lake then we’d head back to Banff.

When we arrived in Lake Louise the first thing you see if the huge hotel The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

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I can’t even imagine staying there. It looks back onto Lake Louise.

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Before I post anymore I’ll give you a little background on Lake Louise. It is a lake located in Banff National Park. It was named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, one of the daughters of Queen Victoria. The water is emerald colour and it comes from the rock flour that is carried into the lake by the melting water from the glaciers that over look the lake.

In general it is gorgeous. The beautiful blue lake that is over looked by the snow covered mountains in the background.

Here are just a few of the pictures we took of the lake that day.

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Even the grounds around it were beautiful (but I guess I wouldn’t expect anything less).

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There was even a wedding right on the lake that day.

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The bride.

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After walking around for a while and checking out the local hiking trails we found a 3.4 km trail that lead up to a tea shop in the mountains. I was just about lunch time and we though that would be a perfect spot to grab lunch. Before we started the hike we thought we should at least have some water and something to keep us going for the 3.4 km.

We we went into the hotel basement (which was full of shops). There wasn’t much in the way of food but we did find this little candy store.

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Filled with delicious looking goodies.

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Although none of these were going to fuel us for the 3.4 km hike we had coming.

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But in the back corner of the shop – score! We found Cliff bars!! We split a chocolate chip one along with some gatorade.

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After our find we headed to find bathrooms and while I found the women’s quickly, the mens was out of order so Matt and to head to find another one. While he was searching I took some pictures of the inside of the hotel.

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The view from the restaurant.

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After fuelling and a pit stop at the bathroom we were off.

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It was such a lovely day for a hike.

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As we continued up the path we realized this was not going to be nearly as easy as we had anticipated.

Luckily we had a pretty spectacular view to keep us distracted for a while.

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We even saw some snow as we got higher.

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Every time we though we were almost there we were wrong. But we kept on smiling…

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For a while…

The end of the hike got really rough. Between the lack of food, lack of water and not being properly dressed it was really starting to get to us (especially me). Finally, we saw the tea house.

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I was so excited! I was starving and feeling a little weak from the lack of food. It was almost 2:30 by the time we made it up there (about an hour hike).

We went in to sit down and found out something disastrous. They only took cash! And do you think we had any cash on us? Of course not so no food for us. We had to hike back down, tired, shaky and hungry without food.

Before we left we took some pictures of Lake Agnes, the view and the waterfall at the top of the hike.

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If you look closely you can see the hotel below (in the bottom left corner - above, middle of pictures - below).

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After taking pictures and getting some energy back we headed back down the mountain. It was a much easier trip back down and only took 30-45 mins.

After we reached the bottom we headed back into Banff for lunch dinner (it was almost 5 by the time we arrived at the restaurant. For dinner I had roast beef dip and onion rings. It was ok, but definitely not what I should have re-fuelled with after that difficult hike.

In total we hiked 7.6 km (it was actually about 3.8 not 3.4 km each way) and gained a 400 m elevation gain. The elevation gain wouldn’t have been too bad if it hadn’t been over such a short distance. The hike was actually very steep which make it that much harder with the lack of food.

What I learned about hiking:

  • Be Prepared – this is the most important lesson I learned from Saturday’s hike
  • Always have water – self-explanatory
  • Never hike on an empty stomach – half a cliff bar doesn’t count either :P
  • Always bring food – even if it is a short hike you should have something to have while your out. We hiked for about 2 hours but even if we had eaten before we left a snack at the top would have been very appreciated
  • Jean are great for walking – not so great for hiking. Although they really didn’t affect our food situation it would have definitely been nicer to be wearing something lighters and easier to move in

I know there are lots of other tips and rules for hiking (so please check them out before going out) but we hiked on a very busy and used trail and these were just some of the things we learned from our little adventure.

I’m going to leave you with a couple more pictures of Lake Louise.

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Can you see the snow blowing off the mountains in the background?

I must recommend if your ever in the Banff/Calgary/Southern Alberta area to check it out.

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Breathtaking is the only word I can use to describe it.

I hope you enjoyed my two posts today and Happy Monday Everyone!

~ Katie :)