Thursday, July 17th – Lake Louise
Today we’re leaving the town of Banff and heading 60 miles north to Lake Louise. Our only option is the Trans-Canada Highway which continues through Banff National Park the entire way. Lake Louise is the most photographed lake in Canada and is known for its unique turquoise colored water. The photos I’ve seen are amazing and I can’t wait to see it in person.
Before leaving Banff, we top off with diesel at $1.119/liter CD (or $3.39/gal US) which is more than the $0.98/liter CD (~$2.96/gal US) we paid south of here. Everything in Banff seems more expensive than elsewhere in Canada. Since the Trans-Canada is like an Interstate Highway, it’s only an hour later when we arrive. Once again we haven’t made camping reservations but this time we’re not so lucky as the Lake Louise Campground is full. Our options are to head back south a few miles and stay in the unserviced overflow lot or head north 10 miles and try for a spot at the first-come, first-serve Mosquito Creek Campground. I saw the overflow lot from the highway when driving up here. It’s basically a parking lot with a view of the Trans-Canada so, despite its ominous sounding name, we decide to head north for Mosquito Creek.
It’s still early when we arrive. The Ranger back at Lake Louise told us Mosquito Creek was more for tent campers than RV’s but we see lots of available RV-suitable sites along the Creek. We opt for Site 32. It’s at the end, privately nestled between pine trees and just a few feet from the waters edge. It’s perfect so we pay for 3 nights (~$14.00/night US).
Friday, July 18th – Time to check out the Lake
It’s 41 degrees outside when I wake up. I turn on the furnace, light the stove for percolator coffee, and leash up T&E for their morning walk. It rained last night and the surrounding mountains are covered in snow. We’re at 6000 feet and if we had been another 1000 feet higher, we would have had snow as well. Today we’re driving back to Lake Louise to see if the lake really is the color I’ve seen in photographs.
We arrive around noon. Unlike the town of Banff, there’s no town here. There’s a strip shopping center with a small grocery, liquor store, post office, and a few other retail establishments. We follow the signs to the lake, about 2-3 miles from the Trans-Canada. When we arrive, the parking lots are packed with tourists. We get lucky and grab a space someone is vacating.
As we walk down towards the lake, we can see parts of it through the trees. The color is surreal. It almost makes me feel like I felt when seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time.
Sunday, July 19 – Off to Jasper via the Icefields Parkway
Today we’re driving about 140 miles north on the Icefields Parkway to the small town on Jasper located in the center of Jasper National Park. The Icefields Parkway is breathtaking. We’ve driven many scenic highways in our year and a half on the road but this has to be one of the best.
It’s about 5 PM when we arrive in Jasper. Despite the long line of RVs waiting to enter the campground, we get lucky once again and secure a non-serviced site for the next 3 nights. We’ve run out of our boxed wine and with liquor prices double what they are in the US, we’re reluctant to buy more. In celebration of seeing glacier-fed lakes, Cindy finds some Blue Curacao and vodka tucked away under the bed and concocts a “Lake Louise” cocktail.by