Lake Louise/Jasper Sept. 3-10

Sep 22nd, 2004, 12:58 PM
  #1  
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Lake Louise/Jasper Sept. 3-10

I have just read the two wonderful trip reports from travelers who were in the Canadian Rockies the same time we were. They were a lot less whiny about the weather than I was. It was the worst weather we have ever had on a vacation---what a disappointment to be surrounded by these unbelievable sights and have them totally shrouded in clouds. There were a couple days that we could not even see the mountains. We have no control over these things and we always had Plan B or C or D--but we rarely did Plan A. Now that my whining is over, we still had a wonderful time despite the disappointing weather.

Fri. Sept 3. Arrived in Calgary at 9:30 p.m. Spent night at Econolodge North--good location for heading to Banff the next morning.

Sat. Sept. 4 This is our 2nd trip to the area--we skiied here 17 years ago--- we planned on skipping Banff this trip but it is a cloudy morning and my husband has forgotten his hiking boots. Found boots 60% off; had early lunch at Coyote Cafe;on to Plan B--Johnston Canyon (Plan A--hike to the teahouses)Did upper and lower falls. Trail was way too crowded. Would only recommend this trail to a family looking for an easy hike or for a rainy day hike--Note: hike the canyons and see the waterfalls on cloudy or rainy days.

Stopped at Chateau Lake Louise(I just don't get this French chateau in the Canadian wilderness. I do need to read the history of this place. Shouldn't there be a rustic stone and wood lodge there?) What a fabulous location though and a beautiful lake. Walked around the lake and then headed to Emerald Lake Lodge, where we would spend 2 nights. What a find. We had made last minute plans for this trip and I couldn't find availability in Lake Louise. Emerald Lake Lodge was one of the most wonderful and romantic places we have ever stayed. It has a wonderful lakefront location and the cottages are spaced out around the property with all of them having balconies facing the water. Ours was slightly obscured by trees but was still wonderful. The lodge houses one of the restaurants and gameroom. We had a $200CAD rate and I did worry that we would have the room that had not been updated in years. Our room was beautiful. It is quite small with a queen bed facing the balcony, corner woodburning fireplace and 2 Adirondack style lounge chairs, coffeemaker,small bathroom---but it was so nice and so perfect. Fire,happy hour,dinner at the lodge---we love this place.

Sunday, Sept. 5
Cloudy, breakfast at the lodge, hoping the sun will appear. Stop at Takakkah Falls--impressive--lots of water still flowing.
Head to Lake Louise to hike to the teahouses. We start at the Lake Agnes trail--a fairly strenuous but busy trail. Loved little Mirror Lake and the waterfall by the teahouse. We reach Lake Agnes and the teahouse and are rewarded with wonderful views across the lake--blue sky peeking through the clouds---yaeeee!!! I am amazed at the kids working the teahouse--they live there all summer--no electricity or running water--wow. Short walk up Little Beehive to an overlook and then around the lake--we can't stop taking pictures it is so beautiful. Up Big Beehive for the view--about 20 German hikers there eating lunch--the average age was probably 60. Will I be able to do this hike at 60? They inspired me to keep going to Jazzercise.
Down to the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail---we are alone on this part of the trail---join the other hikers as we make it down to the trail. Get snowed on at the teahouse and then rained on on our hike back. This is a wonderful hike---we really enjoyed it but were really tired.
Back to Emerald Lake---wow. Happy hour by the fire---Dinner there at Cilantros---bumbleberry pie for dessert-great.

Monday, Sept. 6
Foggy, overcast morning. Breakfast and check out. We hate to leave--haven't even walked the lake--too foggy this morning. We are driving the Icefields today. Sky clears as we head to Lake Louise-hooray. Stop at Moraine Lake--walk the rockpile. Plan to return to hike.
The Icefields drive is truly awe inspiring. We are delighted to see the mountains and the beautiful lakes. Stop at several overlooks, Bow Summit to see Peyto Lake--wow.About halfway through the drive we stop at Parker Ridge and take the switchback trail to the top. At the top, we head to the left and are wowed by the fabulous views of the mountains and the Saskatchewan Glacier. It is an "on top of the world" experience. We were all alone and looking at this panorama of mountains and glacier and some blue skies. It is a "don't miss" hike. We will do this one again next time.
In Jasper, we stay at Beckers in a new upper deluxe chalet. It is a large living room/bedroom/bath unit and is very clean and well maintained---I don't know why it really didn't appeal to me; there was nothing wrong with it--I think Emerald Lake just spoiled me.
Dinner at Jasper Pizza.

Tues. Sept. 7
Gray, gray clouds--no sun in sight. Eat breakfast, wait for the sun. Plan B-Maligne Canyon--this canyon is beautiful--only one other car in the parking area at 5th bridge.
No people until 2nd bridge.
Maligne Lake--another beautiful lake---low black clouds so we don't take the boat ride.
Back to Plan A--we don't have much time in Jasper---We drove out to Mount Edith Cavell Rd. hoping to do the Meadows hike. Great drive to the trailhead.
Walk to Angel Glacier, start the Meadows hike, rain, we turn around.
Dinner at the Embers in Jasper---very good meal.

Wed. Sept. 8
Our worst morning yet-rain and forecast for more rain. Drive to Jasper Park Lodge for breakfast. What a fabulous location. It's beautiful. We walk th grounds. Breakfast is in the lower level with no windows--not eating here.
Breakfast in Jasper at the Palisades--next to Bears Paw Bakery. Drive to Patricia Lake--the beautiful lakes are everywhere.
We drive the Icefields Parkway in fog and clouds---what a disappointment. We can't see the mountains. Stop at Athabasca and Sunwapta Falls. Skip Plan A--hike Wilcox Pass.
Check into Baker Creek Chalets--lovely jacuzzi suite with gas fireplace,kitchenette, right on the creek. Still prefer Emerald Lake and this is and additional $25/nt.
Dinner at Timberwolf--not memorable.

Thurs. Sept. 9
Cloudy, cloudy---boo hoo for us. Breakfast at Baker Creek.
Drive to Moraine Lake--we can't see the mountains. We walk along the lake. No one is gathering to hike---grizzly warning--need 6 hikers to gather---crummy day so Plan Z-we head back to Banff. We walk around the Banff Springs Hotel, drive to the golf course, Bow Falls, walk around the town and then head to the Irish Pub---get comfy chairs by the fireplace, a Guinness, and split a lunch.
Dinner at Baker Creek---delicious.

Fri Sept. 10
I would have probably had a stroke if the sun had come out---we head home today---but it didn't. Breakfast at Baker Creek and then safely home.

We loved the Canadian Rockies. Wish we had had better weather. Hope to return---so much more hiking to do.
LindainOhio is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 02:33 PM
  #2  
maj
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Still a great trip report--even with the bad weather. Thanks for the report on the Parker Ridge hike--that's one I haven't heard much about. I've added it to my Canadian Rockies file--we definitely hope to return too. (can't believe it has already been a year since we were there)
maj is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 03:44 PM
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I also wonder why more people don't rave about he Parker Ridge trail. We were completely wowed by it!

My husband and I visited LL/Jasper last summer, and had the opposite experience with the weather - we wondered if it ever rained! We've thought about returning in September, but maybe we'll rethink those plans...!

We got lucky that trip, but we've certainly encountered our share of awful weather on other trips - guess it's somewhat a matter of luck. Sounds like you made the best of things. Thanks for an excellent trip report, LindainOhio - makes me want to return, rain or not!
Molly2 is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 04:26 PM
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Sorry to hear about your weather, it was bad when we were there too one summer. Still sounds like a good time and makes me want to return when the weather is better.
wanderluster is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 05:05 PM
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mms
 
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Glad you had a good trip despite the weather We love the two teahouses/big beehive hike! At Johntston Canyon you definitely need to go early before the hoards of people...and continuing up to the ink pots is really nice. We stayed at the Emerald Lake Lodge on our honeymoon years ago and loved it. Glad to hear it is still as nice. Baker Creek is a favorite for us...but yes, like you said it is very different than Emerald Lake. Both good...just in different ways Hopefully you will make it back to the area when there is better weather. The scenery truly is amazing!
mms is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 07:38 PM
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Hello Linda in Ohio -
Interesting trip report - so sorry that the weather is so terrible this year - it's the coolest late August to the middle of September in decades. Hope you come back when it's sunny and clear like it's supposed to be!!!
Thanks for sharing your experiences!!
Borealis is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2004, 08:54 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Hi. Just found your trip report. I'm having so much fun reading all these! I admit the weather was disappointing for us as well during that same week, but despite that we still had a good time and appreciated it all the more when the sun came out. It really helped that we had the right clothing with us. I am very interested in staying at both the Emerald Lake Lodge and Buffalo Mountain Lodge when we come back. In addition, we want to spend more time in Jasper. I'm still picking up tips for the next time. Thanks everyone.
bleicher is offline  

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