After finding our awesome spot at Mosquito Creek Campground, we started planning the next few days. We decided to make that home base and do day trips from there, since it was such an excellent site. It was time to be "touristy" and go take in the scenic views of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. But first was Lake Louise, because I desperately needed to find a plug in to recharge my camera battery!! Here's the iconic view when you first lay eyes on Lake Louise, crossing the bridge on the way up to the famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel. Everyone who comes to the mountains in Alberta goes to Lake Louise, I'm sure of it. It's a very multicultural experience, totally exciting to people watch there and listen to different languages all around you. I complimented a lady on a ring she was wearing with a large turquoise semi precious stone in it and she didn't have a clue what I said, except for the word turquoise, which she paraphrased back to me and then we nodded our heads and smiled and I repeated "nice turquoise.. nice..". She got the point. Who says language has to be a barrier? Lake Louise is an excellent place to test your "being sociable" and "overcoming barriers" skills, should you be so inclined. :)
So first stop was wandering around the inside of the hotel after we located plug-ins to charge our camera batteries. Thor and I made out like we belonged there, sitting in the mezzanine area for 30 minutes or so, relaxing and reading the paper, and then deciding nobody would steal my battery (which was taking forever to charge) so then we wandered down on the main floor and looked through the art gallery and some other shops. Here's the awesome carpet, looking down into the lobby. You can't appreciate it from that level, you have to see it from above. Grand. The guy who works in the art gallery there is a wonderful work of art, himself. A larger gentleman, with a very memorable appearance and a happy go lucky attitude. He talked our ears off and cracked jokes. Entertaining... though I thought we'd never be allowed to leave. There's some nice art in there, if you're into art.. go have a look. And even if you're not, go have a look just to meet the memorable man who works there. You'll know him when you see him. I hope he always works there.. he's almost an attraction in and of himself.
We went back outside and toured the immediate area, looking at the lake, mountains and glacier from different angles and viewpoints. Found a nice platform thing to sit on and dip our feet in the water. The lake was warm, compared to the running water streams I'd dipped into. You can canoe and swim in this lake, and lots of people do canoe, but not too many take a dip there. I really love fireweed.. it's the tall pinky purple flowering plant that grows throughout the mountainscapes. I think I already talked about it though, so I'll move on.
It might be a bit cheesy, but you have to get your photo taken with the glacier in the background when you go here, right?? Yes. So a nice couple from Utah came about as we were trying to accomplish this and offered to take our photo for us if we'd do the same for them. I was afraid the man was going to fall on the rocks, but he was ok. Excuse my hat. This is the product of camping without access to an easy way to wash my hair. I thought it was fine when I left camp that morning but by noon it was greasy and gross. This was the only way to deal with it at that moment in time. I'm wearing my West Glacier hat from last summer though, so that gives me some "cool points" back.
Please please do yourself a favor and don't leave the Lake Louise area without going to see Moraine Lake first!! It's about a half hour drive up the mountain, but the road's good and there actually is adequate parking. I say this because all my life I overlooked it until this trip and I was totally bowled over with its beauty when I saw it. The color of the water is unlike any other mountain lake I've ever seen. Totally unique and even my photos didn't quite capture it. It's breathtaking there, with the 10 Peaks Mountains in the backdrop and the gorgeous lake coloring the basin like a precious jewel. I think it's probably the most magical spot I've been lately. Possibly ever, dare I say. It is possible. And it's got tourists, but it's not absolutely packed with people like Lake Louise can be. At least, it wasn't when we were there. You can also canoe on this lake, but to really appreciate this lake and see it's color, you have to view it from above, so don't get stuck doing stuff at lake level only.
This is a pika. Commonly found in the mountains of North America.. they make a little chirping sound. These little guys (or gals) were popping up quite a bit throughout our walk about at Moraine Lake, but they move so fast it's difficult to get a photo of one. I had given up but then Thor said we should just go back and try one more time. I'm glad he did because we found one right away and I was able to get a few snaps. This one's a little bit fuzzy but it's the cutest pic I got of him, because of the grass sticking out of his mouth. So I'm posting it instead of a crystal clear photo. Sometimes content wins over excellence.
One more look at Moraine Lake to end this post. The contrast between the greens of the flora with the blue hue of the glorious lake was just spectacular. I loved it. I could have probably sat up there for hours. It'd be the perfect place to go reflect on oneself, or paint, or write. It's truly inspirational there.
Up next, a nice long hike to some amazing falls and some kayaking! See you soon!