Lake Louise is called, Canada's 'Diamond in the Wilderness' and the 'Hiking Capital of Canada'. This area offers a vast diversity of recreational and sightseeing opportunities. Many would say that Lake Louise is the home of one of North America's finest downhill ski areas and has many, many hiking and walking trails. This region has an amazing amount of spectacular scenery from glaciers to waterfalls. A Quick Trip Tip for anyone thinking of visiting the area; this is one of the last outposts of man or woman in the area. The next nearest city/town three hours away is Jasper, the town just before you head to Alaska. DO NOT expect to find a booming nightlife like you might find in Vail, Colorado.
The Village of Lake Louise (originally called Laggan) is thirty five miles from Banff on the Trans-Canada Highway. It is named for the nearby Lake Louise, which was named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. It is separated into two communities. The main community, referred to as The Village is at a lower elevation adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway. It consists of a small shopping area, Samson Mall, which includes a park center, grocery store, bakery, deli, grill, bar and sporting goods store. Another Quick Trip Tip is that The Trailways Cafe makes great breakfast wraps (besides other meals) and hot coffee. It's very inexpensive about $6-$9 and very delicious.
The second community is at a higher elevation and is centered-around the Chateau Lake Louise (which I wrote about in an earlier article), adjacent to Lake Louise. Another important fact is that Lake Louise experiences a subarctic climate. IT'S COLD especially in the winter and this year in May, the average temps were about 30F-40F in the morning and 50s later in the day.
The image at the top of this post was taken about 20 years ago on our visit in August. It was taken on film and converted to digital file and not as good as our photography usually looks.
As you can see the water and sky is blue with green trees lining the mountains on either side and the glacier in the top middle.
This year when we arrived about 8AM, we had a much different view in front of us.
This time, there were no blue skies or water but instead, a frozen lake covered in snow. The green trees were looking more grey and the glacier was hidden from view behind the clouds. The funny thing was that it was still a beautiful sight. I stood there just gazing at this white wonderful winter landscape in front of me. It was really an awesome sight!
As I started getting my equipment ready to photograph this great landscape, I was trying to get as close to what I perceived was the edge of the lake. In the first image you can see the rocks leading into the lake, but not this time. There was a slight incline of snow and then a flat surface where the lake started somewhere. Then I noticed the boat house to my right and decided to use that as a guide. The lake house in the summer had colorful canoes lined up on and along side the dock that was in front of it. At this time of year, there was just the cabin with the snow covered trees jutting up behind it.
I knew this was going to be one of the views I would focus on this morning. Many times I will 'work' an image, shooting it from different perspectives. I will walk around shooting from the left, right and in front. But as you can see in the image, that would not be the case today. Not walking on a frozen lake that I was not familiar with was much too dangerous. There was no image to be made from the back and I was not hiking over and through 3 or 4 feet deep snow to get to its right. No, I would need to shoot from here using different focal lengths and cropping in camera and in post production.
As will happen when you're out in nature, we struck up a conversation with a man walking around the lake. He asked if we had seen the avalanche warning signs as we began to walk into the area. We said yes we had but that we had no planes of hiking into any area closer to the mountains then where we were standing. He said we were smart because in the previous two weeks, four people had died up on the mountain to our right. He said that temperatures were going up and the ice under the snow was melting which would cause the avalanche. He had told the hotel to put up more than one sign and he was walking around to see that they did. I asked about the lake and if it was safe to walk on. He stated emphatically that it was not safe but to look at the footprints on the lake. Shaking his head he said another accident was ready to happen. We bid our goodbyes and he left to check on the signs. He was a very nice man.
A few days later, we decided to visit later in the day hoping to get blue skies. What we saw was that part of the lake closest to the area where we had stood before, now had a pretty good size area melted. This time, there was an avalanche sign right where we had stood plus a sign warning of melting ice on the lake.
What we also saw (as you can see in this image) were people walking on the ice! Stupidity knows no bounds!!
Our cousins, who were on the trip with us, were there another afternoon without us and saw a women pushing a baby stroller on to the ice. This all helps me believe my theory that if you want stupid tricks, people are the ones for you!!