As usual, I am up at 5:00am in the morning, and this is my excuse for quickly trying to type up a blog for the previous day. My pictures for the blog have been preprocessed the previous night and are ready to go. My roommate has been up late in the night taking pictures of the skies and the stars until 12:45am. (The dark skies above Bow Lake and the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge are free of light pollution and are ideal for this endeavor.) He manages to sleep through the clickety-clack of my computer keyboard as I try to bang out another blog quickly before going down to breakfast.
Ben is already at work when I go down for breakfast. He also has to to take care of the rest of the business and plans for other tour groups while with us since he is a solo operator. While we are chatting he shows me a gorgeous picture he has taken of the lake earlier that morning. That is my cue to run out and take pictures before the others arrive. Here is some of what I saw. (If you click on the first picture, it will open out in full resolution.)Plans for today are a little different than usual. Since the ride is going to be shorter and mainly downhill, we are going to do a three hour hike to the Bow Glacier Falls at the far end of the lake before we start riding. The falls are probably visible in the first picture above if you look at the full resolution version of the picture. The picture below was taken with a zoom lens as we start our hike.These are pictures from the hike. Note how the color of the water is already beginning to change.There was time to slow down and take pictures of the flowers that lined the trail. Here is one sample.The other side of the lake is pictured in the morning light below. The sun has yet to make its way completely over the mountains in the east.The early sections of the trail ran along the lake shore.Wild flowers grow among the rocks.Here is where the trail left the lake shore.Then it was time to begin the trek back. We had to make it back in time to the lodge to check out by noon.We noticed that the color of the waters of the lake had changed in the meantime.And then it was time to get on our bikes once again and ride!Some of us stopped at a location on the Icefield Parkway to take parting pictures of Bow Lake.Here is a picture of the Crowfoot glacier from the road. The picture did not turn out as well as I hope for.The bike ride to Lake Louise today runs along the Bow river. Bow river is a tributary of the South Saskatchewan river.This is a picture of Hector Lake from our lunch stop. The Bow river flows in and out of the lake.And then it was time to speed down the hill into Lake Louise. Folks had told me that it is possible to ride much faster on a road than on a trail. I could not believe how fast one can ride consistently at under the conditions. We arrived at Lake Louise in no time. All in all, this was a short riding day.After resting for some time, we went to the Lake Louise Station restaurant for an early dinner. The trains pass right by the station. It was delightful dinner in a delightful setting with delightful friends. We even had a squirrel wander into the restaurant looking for scraps. (It was chased away by a waitress who did not seem the least bit annoyed by the squirrel’s antics.)The Rocky Mountaineer also stopped beside the restaurant as we were leaving.After dinner Ben then took us on a ride to Lake Moraine in the mountains. We passed by Temple Mountain on the way. Here are some pictures from the lake.My camera battery ran out at this point, and I could not take pictures at our next stop, Lake Louise.
The crowds that we found at these lakes made me feel like we had wandered back from the wilderness into the thick of civilization, and it was not necessarily a good feeling. Having experienced what I did during this ride, it is going to be hard to to go back to being a traditional tourist, joining the massive crowds that tend to throng the more popular tourist sites.
Some of us sat ourselves outside the hotel eating ice-cream and chatting after we returned. It was very relaxing.
We are going to do our longest ride of the trip tomorrow, but Ben assures us that it is all downhill. We might need to be more disciplined with time management since all of us have flights to catch from Calgary later in the day. The vacation will inevitably come to an end at that point.
(This blog, in its current form, requires much more work for cleanup, but I have limited time on my hands. I will take care of that later.)