July 2017 – We spent our last full day in Alberta hiking & canoeing at Lake Louise and visiting Moraine Lake. Since our cabin was only a mile away from Lake Louise, we walked uphill to the lake to avoid parking. We took a few pictures and then headed to the boat house. A couple of people had just tipped their canoe and fallen overboard into the cold lake, so they closed down rentals until the couple was retrieved from the lake. I was impressed with how efficient the rescue services were. Once they opened back up, they explained that only experienced paddlers would be allowed out. We signed our waiver, paid our high cost (about 85 USD for one hour – I had budgeted for this), and were zipped into our mandatory life jackets and safety whistles. The staff held the canoe steady for us to board (I’m not used to this valet treatment lol), and we were off. We were told that with our hour, we should have enough time to make it to the end of the lake and back. We actually made it to the end of the lake in about ten to fifteen minutes with a headwind. We tried to go into the river, but we were stopped by shallow water so we turned around. We had a leisurely paddle back to the dock,
Next, we decided to make the climb to the Agnes teahouse, a little place that is run without electricity (only solar power), only accepts cash, and requires employees and visitors to make a two mile hike. The hike was steeper and more crowded than I expected. We passed Mirror Lake and then made it to Agnes Lake. We waited in a very short line for a table inside and ordered chips/salsa and chocolate cake, complete with a lake and mountain view. Although we paid in USD, we were given CAD in change which shorted us a bit. It was the experience that really mattered though, and we sat next to a family from South Africa.
Soon, we were headed back down the trail and then drove to Moraine Lake for a walk down the lakeshore path. We didn’t spend much time here, but the lake was beautiful.
Next, we took the scenic Bow Valley Parkway to Banff (in hopes of seeing wildlife). We ate dinner at a little pub before heading back to our cabin for the night.
We had to be up early the next morning for our final trip down the Icefields Parkway to Calgary. We saw another black bear off to the side of the highway and made it to the airport with an hour to spare. The airport is my favorite of all airports I’ve ever been in – it’s incredibly clean, quiet, and efficient. Although I’m not sure I can handle winters, I will definitely consider Calgary in the future as a potential place to live.