Lake Louise from the top down. 9/6/19

Today we take a look at Lake Louise from an adjacent mountain top down to Lake level.  After a terrible room service breakfast of odd scrambled eggs and other delights, we head over to Lake Louise Gondola Rides. One of my Facebook friends has alerted me to the presence of mosquitos at the top of the gondola ride. We decide to go up when it is too cold for bugs to fly (below 55F). When we get up to the top of the mountain, it is full of views, not full of bugs. Thank you, Facebook friend!

There are some outstanding views from the observation platform.

On the gondola ride up, we look hard for bears since we are told we might see some. As hard as we look there are no bears.
Tiny Lake Louise from the mountain observation deck
John next to the mountain schematic. You can see that the glacier feeding Lake Louise has receded since the time they put the sign up.
Labeled geographical features

We have bought a voucher for lunch at the top of the gondola ride. Even though the path down to the restaurant is quite downhill (hard on the knees) and subsequently steep on the way back (hard on the lungs) we are determined to use our voucher. We are treated to a front row table to enjoy the beautiful view.

John, his beer, and the view
We shared the charcuterie platter. It was great!

Later in the afternoon we take a walk on the path around the lake. We were going to try paddling our own canoe but John is terrified that I will either fall getting into the canoe or fall getting out (with good reason) that he puts the kabosh on the canoe trip. We take pictures of the lake, of ourselves, and of the hotel.

Lake Louise
Lake Louise with yellow flowers
Mary and John at Lake Louise
Fairmont Chateau at Lake Louise

Although we are not able to get a reservation for dinner at the Fairmont’s main restaurant, we do get one at the Poppy Brasserie. Our dinner is much better tonight.

We share an order of onion tarts
I am not going to be adventurous tonight and have the rather messily plated steak frites
John has tourtiere (Canadian meat pie) with vegetables

Tomorrow we return to the U.S. our first night is in Whitefish, Montana near Glacier National Park.


Cows, spikes, and views. 9/5/19

It is a fairly long trip from Kelowna to Lake Louise. It is supposed to take about five hours but what with stops and a lot of construction it takes about seven hours. It would not be a road trip, or at least one that I have planned, if  we did not stop along the way to see various quirky or interesting sights.

Around 11AM we stop in Sicamous at the D Dutchmen Dairy. People on the internet are raving about the ice cream and the farm animals. So we stop. I figure ice cream can count for lunch. I get coffee ripple and John orders chocolate chili pepper.

D Dutchmen Dairy
John’s choice

I figure that coffee ripple will be coffee ice cream with a coffee ripple in it. But no, it is some sort of beige ice cream with a chocolate ripple in it! What a disappointment! I eat a little and give the rest to John.

It is probably a good thing that we visit the farm animals after we eat the ice cream. Cows do not smell good and they walk around in their cow patties. Not exactly the picture one wants when eating their product. We also go in the calf barn. One month old calves are pretty big!

Cows waiting patiently in line for ?
One month old calf

Oh, here is something unexpected, an historical site at a rest stop. We pull in to take a look. It is where the final spike was driven in by Sir Donald Smith on the Canadian Pacific Railroad in 1885. The Canadians, being a more modest people, celebrate their accomplishment with an iron spike rather than a gold one.

Plaque commemorating the last spike
Monument commemorating the last spike
Painting commemorating the last spike

In the afternoon we are in the Canadian Rocky Mountains where British Columbia has been working on “4 lanes to Alberta” on the Trans Canadian Highway. The workers are busily blasting rock face, grading new road bed, and totally slowing the traffic down to a crawl. This gives me a chance to snap at least one spectacular view of the Rockies, the Mount Sir Donald peak.

Mount Sir Donald on the right

The peak is named after Sir Donald Smith the same guy who drove in the last spike. Originally they were going to name it Syndicate Peak to honor all the rich men who had put up the money for the railroad but decided Mount Sir Donald had a better ring to it.

Shortly after 5 PM (we lose an hour going into Mountain Time) we arrive at Lake Louise. It is so beautiful. Our room has a view of the lake and it is such a pleasure to look out the window.

View from our window

As we arrive there are three bus loads of old people checking into the hotel. They have taken every reservation for dinner at the two main restaurants until 9PM. We find a spot in the Fairview Lounge at a table. John has moules frites and I have smoked chicken papardelle with mushrooms and arugula. He deems his “good but not the best I have ever had”, low praise from John who loves everything and I deem mine “awful.” That is also low praise from me! Mine is so bland and under-seasoned that three applications of salt do not make a difference. The noodles have obviously been cooked in unsalted water and have not been finished in the bland chicken jus. As Scott Conant says on Food Network, if you don’t salt the water, there is no way to save the pasta afterward.

John’s moules frites
My super bland papardelle

We take a walk outside and I snap a picture of Lake Louise at dusk.

Lake Louise at dusk