We woke up at a reasonable time and went down to one of the hotel’s restaurants for a really good buffet breakfast. Lots on offer and not many people getting in the way. After breakfast, with a couple of hours to spare before check-out, we thought we should at least see a bit of Lake Louise from the outside of the hotel.
We asked the concierge for walking tour suggestions. She said it was avalanche season so don’t go here, here or here. Instead, we could take the hour long roundtrip up to the lookout. Thinking it was cold outside, we were rugged up a bit but soon after starting out on our trek, we began to overheat. It was a bit of a steep climb, as we should have expected considering we were going to a look-out point.
So we scrambled up mini-hills covered in icy snow, coming to a sign that said bears lived in the area and we should travel in tight groups of four. We were flouting that rule so obviously if we got attacked/eaten by a bear it was our own fault.
Soon we began to see animal tracks in the snow, but nothing resembled a bear print, or really even a wolf print at that. I tried to hide my disappointment. Despite the tracks (which were probably from some kind of mountain sheep or goat), we saw no animals of any kind and only heard a couple of birds.
We finally made it to the lookout point and got to take in the whole wonderful view that you see on so many postcards and in so many photos of Lake Louise. There it all was: the forest, the mountains, the lake and the chateau. We arrived while another guy was there but after a brief chat and a moment of silence, he set off back to the hotel. He may have been eaten by a bear. We’re not sure.
We hung around for a while, snapping away. The sun came out when asked, which gave a better view. After taking in enough eye-straining beauty, we returned to the hotel, slipping down the track at quite a few places. Soon after, we checked out and headed to Banff.
We arrived at our hotel around 12 (Rundlestone Lodge) and our room was ready. We dumped our bags then walked into the town centre to have sushi for lunch (it was served on a real Canadian Pacific miniature train). It was quite good and not all that expensive.
From there, we walked across the river and set out for the Bow Falls lookout. Unfortunately, the route was blocked off but the walk back to downtown was really pleasant as it was beside a half frozen river and there were mountains up the ying-yang. We also saw a couple of birds and a squirrel/chipmunk type thing.
In the evening, we went for dinner at a Greek restaurant and were served by an Aussie girl who’s waiting on her visa extension. The food was good and filling (we ordered too much once again). Then we met my friend Ryland for drinks at the Elk and Oarsmen.
We caught up on what’s been happening over the past seven or so months. Hearing about life working in Banff over the ski season was interesting and not something I’d really want to do (maybe when I was younger, who knows?), but Ryland is making the most of it, as he does with everything. We stayed our chatting until 9:30 and then we dropped him back at his hostel (with a care package of our leftover food from the restaurant. It brought him such joy.).