Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer in Banff National Park - Johnson Canyon, Lake Louise, Lake Morraine

WOW!  An entire month has passed since I started posting pictures from our summer in the states!!!  It's been a bit busy since returning home to Doha.  I've been busy catching up with things at church ... our Friday School Coordinator is moving and I've had to take over her responsibilities until we can find a replacement.  We interviewed some wonderful candidates today and the boys will both be in school next week, so here's to catching up!!

My mom has been patiently waiting for our Banff pictures ... I hope they are worth the wait.  It was truly stunning!!!  A spectacular place to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary!  We left the boys with my parents in St Louis and took off for the Canadian Rockies!!! 

We landed in Calgary and picked up our rental car and headed straight to the mountains.  In less than 2 hours, we were in Banff.  We stopped at Johnson Canyon to take in a short hike before we even checked in to our hotel!

We hiked along this beautiful little canyon along wooden boardwalks drilled into the sides of the cliffs.  Reminded us of one of our hikes in Croatia last year.
Beautiful setting with the rushing water, rocks, trees, and moss...

The lower falls

Through this cave and you are up close and personal with the falls...
View through the cave... the sound was SO loud!!
This shot shows both the falls and the cave
 We continued hiking from the lower falls to the ... upper falls! 

Not bad straight off the plane!  Now it's time to find our hotel...
Cute little lodge ... no camping for us.
This was the rocky creek just outside the balcony to our room.  The sound of the water was so calming...

We were shocked to learn that the sun doesn't set here until after 10pm at night!!  Apparently the sun rises around 4:30 (we were never awake that early to confirm this fact).  With such long days of sunlight, we were able to explore a lot more than we anticipated each day.  Plus we forget how much more we can accomplish traveling without children.  We adore our kids, but it was nice to get away for a few days...

The next morning, we awoke to the sound of rain.  A beautiful sound for two desert dwellers!  We ate a hearty breakfast at the lodge restaurant and didn't let the rain slow us down.  We drove to Lake Louise and planned to hike in the rain, but to our surprise, it stopped right as we parked the car.  Perfect timing!  Lake Louise is a milky blue/green color from the glaciers.  We hiked about 2 hours up the mountain to Mirror Lake and then Lake Agnes where there is a Tea House at the top.  We enjoyed the best curry lentil soup and mint tea before returning back down the mountain!

The Tea House was most impressive to us and not just because the food was delicious!  It was started in 1905 and is still owned and operated by the same family.  There are no roads to get there, nor any electricity at the top of the mountain.  So all supplies for this very busy little restaurant are carried up and down the mountain on people's backs!  One time a year, they use a helicopter to deliver annual supplies, but everything else gets carried up by people! 

A peak down on Lake Louise as we hike up to the Lake Agnes Tea House.  (We started at the lake level)


Mirror Lake about half way up ...

Can you see the waterfall between the trees?  That's where we were headed... Lake Agnes is up there...

Beehive Mountain at Mirror Lake

Standing at the top of that waterfall ...

Ken at Lake Agnes

We made it!

Lake Agnes Tea House

Same waterfalls, heading back down...

Back down at Lake Louise where we started the hike.  Milky blue water from the glaciers...

So very beautiful!

Boathouse at Lake Louise

After our long hike at Lake Louise, we planned to hike at Lake Morraine.  Unfortunately the bears where especially bad this summer and all the hiking trails were closed unless you were with a large party.  So we ended up renting a canoe at Lake Morraine instead.
We didn't see any bears, but we saw a lot of these little guys.  Cutest little chipmunks ever!  I'm sure they are well fed by tourists, they showed no fear of people at all.

Selfie at Lake Morraine. 

Lake Morraine

So So Beautiful!

I couldn't get enough of the contrasting shades of blue and green!  SO very different from our home in Qatar!

Glacier sighting...

Selfie on the canoe ... do you see a paddle in Ken's hand?  That's a negative.  Apparently he let me do all the work ... I didn't even know I was doing all the work until I looked more closely at this picture!  :-)

Ken on the canoe ... again, only holding the paddle with one hand for balance.  :-)

This is from Ken's camera ... see who's doing all the work???  (Can you also tell who had the better camera?  The pics of Ken were from my phone)

Glacier water trickling into the Lake Morraine at one end of the lake.  The water was 4 degrees C or 39 degrees F.  Too cold for a swim!!! 

Rockpile at the other end of the lake...

There were 10 peaks that surrounded Lake Morraine.

View from the boat house where we rented canoes


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