As we drove through these spectacular Canadian National Parks, we continually exclaimed “beautiful” or “incredible,” as our views of the mountains, valleys, and rivers were breathtaking. Unfortunately accessing some of the specific areas we planned on visiting, like Lake Louise, Lake Moraine, Bow Falls, and some of the less difficult hikes I physically am capable of doing, was impossible.
There are hordes of tourists! All parking lots were full by 9am, and the lines for the shuttle, which we were going to take, were two blocks long! We had no hope of seeing what we came to see. Even if we had been willing to stand in line there were only shuttles to Lake Louise and as one woman stated, once they arrived it was so crowded they had to fight for a view of the lake. “How ridiculous!” were the words we were now exclaiming. Although the irony was not lost on us; we were part of the horde, part of the problem. However, I would not go under those circumstances and fight for a view of the lake! We did that once, while visiting the Palace of Versailles, and I swore I would never do it again.
So what should we do? Leave and lose the money we spent on our hotel room? Tom give up on seeing one of his bucket list items after driving all this way? Me give up on seeing the lake our mother talked about for fifty years after she and our father joined Juanita and Bob (our aunt and uncle) for a trip to Banff?
We honestly did not know what to do. Then we went where we would have normally never gone because of it being too touristy, on a Gondola/chair-lift ride. The irony was that there were no lines, and less then ten people at the top when we arrived. We could not see Lake Moraine or Bow Falls, and there was limited hiking due to a grizzly mom and her cubs, and the steep, uneven terrain, which messes with my knees; however, we could see Lake Louise and the surrounding mountains and valleys. The views were spectacular!
Tomorrow we are getting up at five and heading to Lake Moraine, Lake Louise, and Bow Falls. If we cannot see them then we will accept defeat and be satisfied with having been to the top of Sulphur Mountain, 7,486 feet above sea level where we had 360 degree views of the countryside, and a bird’s eye view of six mountain ranges. If there is one thing I have learned from traveling is that I can’t do it all; I have to be flexible, and it helps to have a sense of humor!