Lakes were the name of the game today (Thurs. 7/21) and we found plenty without leaving Alberta or Banff National Park. The largest lake in the Park, Minnewanka was formed by damming the Spray River just north of the town of Banff.
From Lake Minnewanka, the Spray River empties into Two Jack Lake, then wanders on south.
From the Minnewanka Loop we jumped on the Trans Canada Highway (1) west to road up to the Norquay ski slopes. This was a wonderfully twisty road up the mountain.
Yes, those are skateboarders!
View of Banff about 3/4 way up.
To the right are the Vermillion Lakes. (This is as close as we got to them.)
Topside view of Norquay ski lift (slash in tree line on left), several of the slopes and the bunny slope.
From there the only way to go was down, past a couple of beautiful glacially carved hanging valleys, and the skateboarders—safe and sound.
Back down we picked up the scenic Bow Valley Parkway. (Also called the A1, it parallels the Trans Canada Highway on the west.)
North we went past a couple of fast shrinking glaciers
and another hanging valley
to this town. Lake Louise was started to cater to skiers. Now it caters to tourists. It is tiny—little more than a crossroads, but we managed to find a bakery/deli for supper,
and to enjoy the beautiful views including the chair lift and ski slopes that originally attracted people to this area,
and a close up of the Victoria Glacier.
A short ride brought us to Lake Louise. (The glacier is named after Queen Victoria and Louise was the fourth of her daughters.) We wanted to arrive here about 7 pm to catch the evening light, but didn’t realize that the lake runs north and south and that the sun would be shining the wrong way. It was still beautiful. Those dots on the lake are canoeists. This lake was formed when glacial moraine dammed the valley and trapped the meltwater. This place was jammed with tourists, but everyone waited with patient good humor for their mug shots. There was a lot of chatter in several different languages and many smiles and thank you’s as perfect strangers took pic after pic of grateful family groups. We took a few photos, but spent a lot of time soaking up the sunshine and people watching.
On our way again we had one more mountain to climb
to reach one more lake,
That was it for our lake tour. With evening shadows gathering we wound our way south toward home.
Through all of this wildlife rich journey, I saw only one deer. Duane caught a glimpse of it, but Brock and Leola missed it. O well, we’ll keep looking.
The last three photos were taken just before we arrived home at almost 10 pm. The light lingers here until almost 11 before true darkness sets in.