Thursday, 3 October 2013

Canada Part 1.......

On 15th September we were picked up from our home by a luxury vehicle, our transport for the 4 hour journey to Heathrow Airport, London, to board an Air Canada flight to Calgary, where we were met by our tour operator's representative and transferred by coach to the Banff Caribou Lodge, our destination for two nights.  This was the view from our room. (click on photos to bigify)

It was almost dusk when we arrived so after a quick freshen up we took a walk down the main street to get a sandwich and a drink, before heading back to the hotel to retire for night, it had been a long day and was approximately 3 a.m. in the morning back home so we had been awake almost 24 hours!

This is the main street as we headed back to our hotel

 and a view of the moon coming up over the mountains.
The following morning, after breakfast, we set off on the coach for our first excursion in Canada, destination Lake Louise.   There was some mist about
but before too long we reached our first stop, Castle Mountain

the easternmost mountain of the main ranges in the Bow Valley.   The mountain was named in 1858 by James Hector for its castle-like appearance. From 1946 to 1979 it was known as Mount Eisenhower in honour of general Dwight D. Eisenhower until public pressure caused its original name to be restored, but a pinnacle on the southeastern side of the mountain was named Eisenhower Tower.  Located nearby are the remains of Silver City, a 19th century mining settlement, and the Castle Mountain Internment Camp in which persons deemed enemy aliens and suspected enemy sympathizers were confined during World War I.

We followed the Bow River
 passing Victoria Glacier,

onto our next photostop, the Spiral Tunnel at Cathedral Mountain, where we watched a train descend the mountain on a spiral track and eventually disappear into the tunnel shown in the next photograph.   You can read about spiral tunnels and how they came about here.

Further along our journey by Kicking Horse River we spotted some Elk
before reaching our next stop

aptly named because of it's colour,

 caused by fine particles of glacial sediment, also referred to as rock flour, washed down the mountains, suspended in the water.

 The first European to set sight on Emerald Lake was guide Tom Wilson, who stumbled upon it by accident in 1882. A string of his horses had gotten away, and it was while tracking them that he first entered the valley. The lake had an impression on even the most seasoned of explorers: "For a few moments I sat [on] my horse and enjoyed the rare, peaceful beauty of the scene." It was Wilson who gave the lake its name because of its remarkable colour, however, this was not the first time Wilson had dubbed a lake 'Emerald'. Earlier that same year he had discovered another lake which he had given the same moniker, and the name even appeared briefly on the official map. This first lake however, was shortly renamed Lake Louise.

Our next stop was Takakkaw Falls, I am standing in the middle of the bridge on the next photo.

Its highest point is 384 metres (1,260 ft) from its base, making it the second-highest officially measured waterfall in western Canada, after Delta Falls on Vacouver Island. However its true "free-fall" is only 254 metres (833 ft).   MWM crossed the bridge to get a closer look at the falls and took this video.
  "Takakkaw", loosely translated from Cree, means something like "it is magnificent". The falls are fed by the Daly Glacier, which is part of the Waputik Icefield.  The glacier keeps the volume of the falls up during the warm summer months, and they are a tourist attraction, particularly in late spring after the heavy snow melts, when the falls are at peak condition. The Takakkaw Falls were featured in the 1995 film Last Of The Dogmen.

We continued our journey to Lake Louise, which is actually a Hamlet named for the nearby Lake Louise, which in turn was named after the Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, and the wife of John Campbell, the 9th duke of Argyll, who was the Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883.

Lake Louise is fed by the Victoria Glacier, which you can see in the background on the two photos above,  and experiences a subarctic climate. Annual snowfall averages 3.3m and winter temperatures below −50°C have been recorded. Summers consist of frosty mornings and crisp, cool days. Snow can occur in any month of the year.

 If you look closely at the last five photographs you will notice how far down the glacier the clouds have descended in the relatively short time we were there, so can understand how the weather can change quickly, the temperature was changing whilst we were there, it actually got warmer hence the removal of our coats.  Of course we had to take a look at the Chateau Lake Louise, which is a beautiful hotel.

Our next stop was Lake Moraine just outside the village of Lake Louise, situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks.   Being a glacially-fed lake when it is full it reflects a distinct shade of blue due to the refraction of light of the rock flour deposited on the lake on a continual basis.

The area around the lake has several walking/hiking trails which are, from time to time, restricted.  The Rockpile Trail along the actual moraine is approximately 300 metres long, with an elevation change of 24 metres (79 ft). The view of the lake from the top of the rockpile is one of the most photographed locations in all of Canada.That view of the mountains behind the lake in Valley of the Ten Peaks is known as the Twenty Dollar View, as Moraine Lake was featured on the reverse side of the 1969 and 1979 issues of the Canadian twenty dollar bill.  A moraine is any glacially formed accumulation of unconsolidated glacial debris (soil and rock), this debris may have been plucked off a valley floor as a glacier advanced or it may have fallen off the valley walls as a result of frost wedging or landslide.

Returning to the hotel we were in awe of the magnificent scenery we had witnessed and hoped that the numerous photographs we had taken would do justice to what mother nature had created. Then just to finish off the day we saw the most beautiful rainbow!

Join me next time for Canada Part 2 for the journey to Jasper and a walk on a glacier.


Cloudia said...

Truly Glorious!
You have green missed, but this post was super worth waiting for!


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

wow, what a lovely trip!

smiles, bee

Ron said...

Okay, these photos are SPECTACULAR!


The photos of Emerald Lake are truly magnificent! I cannot get over the color of the water.

Love the photo of you standing on the bridge in front of the waterfall. Also, the sky in these shots are breathtaking. They almost look as though they were painted onto the photo.

"so we had been awake almost 24 hours!"

I know how you felt because when I flew to Japan, I had been awake for over 27 hours. I was so tired that I couldn't even think straight.

Thank you so much for sharing part 1 of your trip to Canada, m'dear! You truly have a talent for making us feel as though we are there WITH you.

Great shots of you and MWM together. You two make a lovely couple!

Looking forward to Part 2!


Adam said...

that water looks so pretty

A Lady's Life said...

It is very beautiful up there that is for sure.
We went through the mountains many times and were never disappointed.
We got to Calgary once and someone from Lake Louise just came down and said because of the tall slush someone flew off the road down a cliff and so recommended people not go up through the mountains but wait till the next day. So we did. Things change so fast up there weather wise.

Beach Bum said...

Totally awesome!

Valerie said...

I knew you would LOVE it in Canada. Those waters are certainly fabulous. You've shown a bit of one-upmanship though, cos I didn't see one elk or moose.

Akelamalu said...

Thankyou Cloudia, on both counts. xx

It was indeed Bee!

So glad you enjoyed the post and the photos Ron. I didn't know you had been to Japan, I am so envious I really want to go there! x

It does doesn't it Adam? :)

The weather really does change very fast Lady's Life, glad you got to see Lake Louise, isn't it beautiful? :)

It is Beach :)

We did love it in Canada Valerie and felt very lucky to see the elk, though we didn't see any moose. x

Daryl said...

such beautiful country ... cant wait to see more!

Secret Agent Woman said...

So much beauty!

Akelamalu said...

It really is Daryl, more next week. x

Yes indeedy SAW x

Travis Cody said...

That scenery is amazing!

CrystalChick said...

Ooh, I have a lot of photos to catch up on... and so far they are all magnificent!! Emerald Lake, gorgeous.. as is Lake Louise and Lake Moraine. Wow!