Trip Information

Lake Louise
Lake Louise (17)
Trip Date:2003-08-23 - 2003-09-13
# Photos:21 [View]
Countries visited:Canada
: 4006
We arrived in Calgary on 23rd August and spent 3 days there simply recovering from the 9 hour flight from the UK and doing the sights of Calgary. Our visit unfortunately coincided with the forest fires in British Columbia and a number of 'prescribed' or planned burn in Alberta. The smoke from the BC forest fires meant that the Rockies, which are often clearly visible to the west, were invisible even from the top of the Calgary tower.
From Calgary we travelled west and north to Jasper, en-route we saw many warning signs about poor visibility due to smoke. We were fortunate that we never encountered conditions that made driving difficult but could certainly see the smoke hanging in pockets in some of the valleys.
4 nights in a great B&B in Jasper with mixed weather although we had enough good weather to be able to visit Maligne Lake, Pyramid Lake, Jasper Tramway. When it rains in Jasper it really rains!
We then travelled back down to Canmore about 5 miles outside Banff National Park. On the way we visited the Columbia Icefields and saw the effects that a long hot summer had on the Athabasca Glacier. Soft and slushy rather than the sheet ice we had experienced 5 years previous. The Icefields Parkway followed by the Bow Valley Parkway must surely be one of the most stunning drives on the planet.
We really loved Canmore as it is still a small town with a soul. It hasn't yet been taken over completely by tourism. Restaurants and gift shops stand side by side with hardware stores and clothes shops. How long that will continue though is anybodies guess with the current rate of expansion. There are miles of good walking and cycling in and around Canmore from the very easy to the heart pumping.
Once again though we did experience the problem of the smoke haze from the BC fires and were told that 'prescribed' or deliberate burns were still taking place despite, or maybe because of, the extremely dry weather conditions. We could smell and taste the smoke, particularly in Banff town. 5 years ago during our previous visit the streets of Banff were crammed with Japanese and American tourists. This time the streets were virtually deserted. We were told in one shop that the only visitors whose numbers hadn't dropped were the Brits. We are either mad or not prepared to let minor problems like forest fires, mad cow disease and SARS put us off.
The major downside of the smoke haze was the effect on photographic opportunities. The 'softening' of the image was similar to taking photo's toward the sun, even when it was behind you. Much detail was being lost. Extremely frustrating but unfortunately unavoidable.
Probably our best day was a trip to the Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake. The falls literally have to be seen to be believed and no photograph can really do them justice. Similarly, Emerald Lake lives up to its name and is difficult to capture on film. If you ever get to the area add them to your 'Must do' list.
One of my first posts to this board was a picture of Bow Lake and partly because of suggestions for variations on that shot, plus the fact that I think it is the most beautiful lake in the Rockies, we returned on our last day. We had sun, rain, mist and snow that day but no really worthwhile photos I'm afraid.
One day we'll have to go back and try again.