During the middle part of the trip we travelled deeper and deeper into the rocky mountains, until we got to a point where all we could see were mountains and lakes. We were truly surrounded and I have never felt so in awe of what I was experiencing. Our daily exercise consisted largely of throwing ourselves from one side of the tour bus to the other as we all wanted to get the best pictures. Other exercise included regular breaks on the bus to stop and play frisbee in a car park or on the side of the road.
Over these days many hikes were completed, included a 6am get up to go on a 2 hour hike up a mountain around the edge of lake Louise. At the top we were greeted with amazing views and a cafe serving the most well earned hot chocolate you will have ever eaten. To avoid a 2 hour hike to work each morning, the staff of the cafe live there for 5 days, until in is time for the next staff to hike the mountain and start their 5 day shift.
During this section of this trip we went to, quite possibly, the most photographed lake in the world. Moraine Lake. I know the saying “you had to be there to believe it” can seem pretty cliche, but there really is no other way to describe what awaited us at this lake. Having an expert tour guide with us meant we were marched straight to a secluded spot where we could take pictures to our hearts content without worrying about the hoards of people that filled the more obvious tourist spots around the lake. We were even shown down a path taking us directly to the waters edge, where some of the group braved a swim in the near freezing glacial water. I did not, but was more than happy to photograph them doing so.
Day 4 saw us reach the most remote point of the trip, Jasper. This was by far the most basic, yet my favourite hostel of the trip. We stopped off for pizza at a local village before beginning the 1 hour drive into the wilderness where our hostel awaited. The HI Mount Edith Cavell Wilderness Hostel. The hostel consisted of 3 log cabins, 2 of which were 24 person sleeping areas and 1 was the living space. The living space consisted of a few log benches, a fire and some pots and pans, there wasn’t even running water or electricity here, the owner had to drive into town every morning and fill up the water containers. The toilet was a hole in the ground outside, and we were told if we went in the night to use it, we had to make growling noises to scare away any bears that might be lurking around.
Awaking the next morning at 6am, we began a hike over the Athabaska falls and then ventured out again in our bus to the the most scenic road in the world, the big bend of the Ice fields parkway. The next four days would now be spent travelling beck towards Vancouver.
“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.” – Johnathan Winters