Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Tram and the Lake Agnes Trail

The wind must have changed since the air was much clearer Wednesday morning.  We went to the ski resort that lies on the other side of the Bow River Valley opposite Lake Louise.  The lift took us 3000' up in the fresh air, over bear domains - we didn't see any, but others who had gone up earlier did.  The views are great, of course.
Lake Louise from Skilift

There is an excellent visitors center at the top and some hiking trails.  The bears were active along the trails, so they unfortunately were closed.  We took the lift back down, had a good lunch, and went across the valley back to Lake Louise.

One of the things Canadian Pacific Railroad did when it was trying to attract tourists 100 years ago - oh, how attitudes toward passenger trains have changed, the CPR only carries freight now - was to build tea houses at the end of trails from Banff and Lake Louise.  We decided to hike to the tea house at Lake Agnes.  Little did we know.  Always read the fine print.  4.2 kilometers seemed innocent enough, as were the first 800 level meters.  From there on, though, the trail went up, and up, and more up - sometimes steep, sometimes steeper, only occasionally moderate - but always up.  We did our slow but steady thing and finally arrived at the teahouse, huffing and puffing - we count that as an achievement that ranks with Inspiration Point in the Tetons and the summit of Whistlers Mountain in Jasper.
Lake Agnes
  And yes, we did have refreshments at the Tea House.
Lake Agnes Tea House
On the way down - blessedly all down - we had several good views of Lake Louise.
Looking down on Lake Louise from the Lake Agnes Trail