Saturday, July 2, 2016

Lake Louise, BC Canada: Who would hike 4.4 miles for a cup of tea? We would!

Sprinkles and Bella are basking in their (temporary) dual citizenship and enjoying Canada Day, July 1st!  They are celebrating Canada's version of the 4th of July in the charming hamlet of Lake Louise and nearby Banff.


 


 Although Lake Louise does contain a lake called Lake Louise, it is actually a village named Lake Louise, which also contains numerous other lakes (confused yet?).  One of the most photographed views in all Canada is the stunning, glacially-fed Lake Moraine.


Lake Louise itself is also a gorgeous lake, and is home to a world-famous hotel, the Fairmont Lake Louise.  Indeed, the area is swarming with tourists from all around the globe.  We get up as early as possible each day to avoid as many of them as possible.



We decide to make the trek to the alpine Lake Agnes Tea House, family-run since 1905.  The directions are easy:  climb 1,300 feet in elevation over just 2.2 miles up+up+up through towering trees ....


.... keep going and going, but when you pass the rock face known as Big Beehive, you know you're getting close!


Take a right at the waterfalls ...


and as you suddenly round the corner, there it is ... in a hanging valley in the middle of nowhere!


A cozy patio overlooking the mirrored images on Lake Agnes sheltered us from a driving rainstorm.



At Lake Agnes Teahouse, (tired/hungry) visitors enjoy a selection of over 100 fresh loose-leaf teas, sandwiches on freshly-made-that-morning molasses bread, and steaming hot homemade soup.  Don't miss their famous apple crumble!


Your food will be placed on one of the original 111-year-old tables, and your butt will be sitting where thousands of butts have sat before, on the original stools.   Worn smooth = no splinters here! 



The staff must also hike back and forth to work, and carry out all garbage and recycling on their backs (well, in their hands) when they go.  


There is exactly one helicopter supply run per year, which takes an entire day and 20-30 runs to drop off more than 10,000 pounds of supplies, everything from baking flour and sugar to propane tanks.

The Lake Agnes Tea House warmed our hearts AND our bellies!


Here and there through the area, forest wildflowers are in abundance.



A 30-mile road from Lake Louise to Banff has been surpassed by a nearby highway,
so the old abandoned route "The Bow Valley Parkway" is a favorite amongst cyclists, Philip included.


You might have to dodge a grouse or a squirrel, but modern predators ("distracted drivers") are in blessedly short supply on this road.


Canada Day dawned and we had our Canada shirts ready!  Turns out their brand of patriotism is pretty similar to ours (more beavers, less Bud Light, same grandstanding local officials you could give a witch's t*t about).  But with the requisite pancake breakfast, musicians, fireworks (starting 11:15 PM!) and cake ....



But many of the Canada Day Parade entries were delightfully different from those we've seen in the States!

CANADIANS HAVE LOTS OF PRIDE


WHO NEEDS HIGH SCHOOL MARCHING BANDS WHEN YOU HAVE BAGPIPERS


ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE (BUT NOT MOUNTED)


ONE GUY WHO REALLY LIKES CANOEING 


PRECISION SYNCHRONIZED SEGWAY TEAM


CANADIAN ELVIS


AND OUR PERSONAL FAVORITE (SIMPLY BECAUSE WE'RE HEADING THERE NEXT WEEK) .... THE CALGARY STAMPEDE RODEO!


Although this town has only 8,500 permanent residents, it receives over 3 million visitors per year.   It seemed like at least 2.5 million of these were here on this weekend and at this parade!


Canada Day will have to stand in for the 4th of July for us this year, as it is unlikely to be celebrated here.  Surprisingly, there are very few Americans visiting this area, though lots of Japanese, Australians, New Zealanders and Europeans. 

We will enjoy exploring this one location for a couple weeks.
Happy Canada Day (and 4th of July) from the Lucky Charm, everyone!