When we arrived at Lake Louise I had big expectations. It's one of the top photographed places on earth, so the scene was familiar. Glassy emerald blue lake reflecting glacier topped mountains. A heavenly vista. Coming from Manitoba where the lakes are like mini oceans and opposite shores are out of sight, we were kind of surprised how small this lake is. A cold oasis surrounded by mountains, forests and a majestic old chateau, it's actually quite intimate.
Lake Louise, like many other glacial lakes in the area, is not safe for swimming (a hypothermia risk). Still, we saw a few dare to take a quick leap in. I understand taking the risk. In places as beautiful but as tourist packed as this, I always look for a way to get a quieter, deeper experience. Happily, further down the shore sat a boat house offering canoe rentals. For $32 we were able to take a 4 person red canoe out into the middle of the lake. I've done a little canoeing before, mostly camp stuff growing up and a few times since. Todd and I turned out to be a pretty good team, making good time there and back with some time to drift, take pictures, dip our hands in the icy water and just enjoy floating on blue glass. It was the best way to experience the lake and I'm so glad we tried it.
After our workout we took a walk to Chateau Lake Louise ( where Eve took a photo with some Japanese tourists. I think it was the kitty riding hat that put her over the top). What began as a simple wooden chalet in 1894 has transformed into a regal chateau with over 500 luxury rooms, several restaurants, shopping and entertainment areas. It's really spectacular. I would love to stay here on a romantic vacation - maybe in 15 years. We ate at the deli and had the best lunch of the trip. I found a beautiful poster in one of the shops, the only souvenir that wasn't stored on a memory card. Combined with the scenery of the Ice-field Parkway we traveled through on our way to Jasper, this was my favorite day of the journey. It felt very surreal and everyone was at their happiest. The perfect day.