Lucky to be in Calgary during the Civic day holiday weekend, we rented out a car so we can drive to Banff to check out the Canadian Rockies. It’s about an hour and a half drive from downtown Calgary. I was excited that day because I’ve seen lots of pictures of Lake Louise and Lake Moraine. I was curious to see if the color of the lakes is the same as in the pictures and guide books.
The park entrance costs CAD 19.60 for a family. The park ranger will provide your receipt which you will then stick at the side of your windshield and a park guide detailing how you have to behave inside the park. It also gives instructions on what you should do in case there is a wild animal close to you. There were several warnings about bear encounters and that one should be mindful of the distance when such an encounter occurs.
Since it was a long weekend, we anticipated that there will be a lot of tourist and locals going up to the mountains to enjoy the view and do outdoor activities.
It was almost lunch when we arrived in the town of Banff. At first we were thinking of having moose burger, but we saw Grizzly House and we thought the menu was interesting .
We were too excited about the menu that we waited in front of the restaurant before it opens. We ordered wine and played a game of Sour Milk while we wait patiently for our food. For starters, we had cheese fondue, and then later on we had hunter’s meat which was a set of venison, wild boar and buffalo. Everything was cooked on a heated stone served with different mustard sauce. Our favorite was the venison, it was surprisingly tender.
After a satisfying lunch, we drove to Lake Moraine. The lake is usually crowded and the parking space is limited compared to Lake Louise. On our first try, we weren’t able to park our car so we had to loop back to where the overflow parking was and took the bus to Moraine lake.
It was gorgeous! I can’t believe it, the water is surreal! Apparently what gives its turquoise hue is the rock flour carried into the lake by melted water from the surrounding glaciers. The sediments get trapped at the bottom of the lake giving its spectacular appearance. The further your perspective from the lake, the more vibrant the color is.
We were so thrilled after our day in Banff that we decided to head back to Calgary early so we can come in early the next day to avoid the crowds. We parked near the Chateau, and we were rewarded by an unobstructed view of Lake Louise. We were there at its calmest.
We’ve planned on a hike that day to go to the tea house at Lake Agnes. The trail starts at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise with a distance of 3.4 km and an elevation gain of 385 meters. According to the guide books, it will take us about 2 to 3 hours to climb. It wasn’t a joke, the start of the hike was steep. We were slightly anxious because there are warnings at the trailhead to be wary of bears crossing.
There are some moments wherein you’d want to give up but you have to keep going. I was pushing hard to finish because I was hungry for breakfast at the foot of Lake Agnes. Since we are on vacation and we had enough time, we just absorbed and appreciated everything we have right in front of us. It was a truly beautiful scenery.
After two hours of hiking we finally reached Lake Agnes Tea House. We rewarded ourselves with a hearty sandwich, biscuits, soup and Oolong tea. It was worth it. The cafe itself was cozy, we spent about an hour there before going down. With food in our stomach and energized by the warm tea, we head back to Lake Louise.
The sun was out when we came back it was almost time for lunch. I had to take some snaps of Lake Louise and it was a good call that we went earlier because there was a swarm of people when we returned.
We were craving for pizza so we decided to try Bear Street Tavern, rated as the number 1 pizza place in Banff. We each had our own pizza and tried some local brews. It was a great day overall. I can’t complain. It was a fantastic day!
See more pictures in Flickr.