Lake Louise to Jasper

Friday 16th September, 2016 (part two)
Saturday 17th September, 2016
Sunday 18th September, 2016
Monday 19th September, 2016

Friday 16th September, 2016 (part two)

Lake Louise photograph

Lake Louise in the Sunshine

Drop Cap t Lake Louise we found the most incredible shemozzle, our rooms were not ready and the rather offhand girl behind the reception desk suggested a five kilometre walk around the lake to give them more time. Since we had already walked nearly five kilometres today and were a bit footsore, we were not keen on this suggestion but we walked down to the lake. The foreshore was seething with people and the sun was very bright, so much so that it washed out the view a bit. We walked a little way, then returned to the lobby to see if things had improved. They had actually got worse. At least two tour groups were lined up in front of the desks , not getting their rooms either. It was completely chaotic.

Drop Cap fter Geoff had enquired at the Concierge we were told that our room was ready but Geoff's wasn't. As I write it is now 1850 and Geoff still hasn't got into his room. They said it would be another hour! We are not impressed with the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Mainly because there have been no apologies, or attempts to ameliorate things. We all want to change for dinner but the Lakeside Lounge where we want to eat does not take reservations, so we may miss out.

Chateau Lake Louise room photograph

Our room Chateau Lake Louise

Drop Cap eoff finally started unpacking in our room to get something to wear for dinner, so of course, his key arrived. His room is just as swish as ours is, with a king bed and a lovely view of the lake and the glacier. It is half a corridor away from ours, at the end of the wing. According to the room plan on our door there is a single next to us, but it appears to be unused, not even numbered. Pity, it would have been good to be closer.

Chateau Lake Louise view photograph

Lake Louise from Our bedroom window

Drop Cap ur room, however, is lovely, two queen beds and lots of room. The view of the lake from the windows is breathtaking. You can understand why the place is so popular, especially as the Chateau Lake Louise is the only game in town, really. There is other accommodation in the village but that has no lake view and quite a walk or drive to get to where you can see it. And the lake, of course, is what you come here to see.

Drop Cap ut we finally changed and went down to the Lakeside Lounge for dinner. We had to wait for about half an hour with a pager before being seated, but that was not a problem. The lounge was lovely with panoramic windows framing the view of the lake. The food was also good and the service was great. Geoff had a starter of a Nova Scotia crab cake but Mac and I did not have starters. Then Mac and Geoff both had steak, ale and mushroom pie and I had butter chicken with naan and rice. A bottle of Italian pinot grigio , creme brulee and cheesecake finished us off (probably literally!) Luckily we have walked over six kilometres today. The meal came to just over $200 including tip.

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Saturday 17th September, 2016

Lake Louise shoreline photograph

Lake Louise shoreline

Drop Cap e were able to sleep a bit later today, breakfasting at about 0800. Then we put our outdoor coats on and went to walk the Shoreline to the far (glacier) end of the lake. Unfortunately, the weather has finally broken, the first rain we have had, just a light sprinkle but the clouds are low and are obscuring the glacier. Typical! However, the lake is just as blue without the glare of the sun as it was yesterday.

Lake Louise silt Beach photograph

Silt Beach Lake Louise

Drop Cap e headed off up the shoreline, a pleasant easy walk with lovely views all the way, both up to the glacier and back to the Chateau. We had to stop halfway to give Geoff some jelly beans and a chewy bar, his blood sugar had dropped to 1.8 again! We got down to the grey silt flour beach at the end of the lake and foot of the glacier. It looked as though it would be really slippery but it wasn't. It was not sand or mud, but incredibly finely crushed glacier rock, called "flour".

Chateau Lake Louise view photograph

Chateau Lake Louise from the Beach

Lake Louise view photograph

Rosemary and Mac by Lake Louise

Lake Louise view photograph

Geoff by Lake Louise

Lake Louise view photograph

Lake Louise from the Terrace

Drop Cap hen we got back it was just about lunch time so we went to the deli to pick up some sandwiches for lunch. This place is not at all as organised as the Pantry at Banff Springs Hotel, where the food was self-service and there was a lot of room to sit and eat. Here it is all behind glass so you have to ask for what you want and the servers are dodging back and forth, trying to make coffee and serve at the same time. So many people were trying to get food and eat it that we were forced to perch on a window ledge. Another mob scene.

Chateau Lake Louise from river photograph

Chateau Lake Louise from the river

Drop Cap e went back to our rooms with the intention to rest but the sun came out and our view reappeared. So Mac and I went out to walk supposedly two kilometres to a lookout point called Fairview. We took a wrong turn and ended up on a very steep and rough track which we eventually gave up on and turned back, as our tourist type map was not very helpful.

Lake Louise view photograph

Lake Louise from the Fairview lookout

Drop Cap e got to the fork where we had gone wrong and found the right track. When we did it was also steep and rough but we persevered, having come this far, eventually making it up to the lookout. This was well worth the effort. The view was stupendous, over the lake, the Chateau and the whole village. Coming down was hard on the knees but not as bad on the breathing. All up today I have done 17,775 steps, 10.66 kilometres!


Drop Cap e had dinner in the Glacier Saloon, a western style eatery with sports TV and a pool table but far enough away from our table not to annoy us. Mac and Geoff shared a serve of BBQ ribs with chips and slaw and I had a burger (huge). Mac finished with pecan pie and Geoff and I opted for spiced rhubarb cake. With Strongbow cider all round it was very good and came to $127.58. By Fairmont standards, not too bad.

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Sunday 18th September, 2016

Sundog Tour Bus photograph

Sundog Tours Bus

Drop Cap oday it dawned much colder - new snow capped the surrounding peaks and snow flurries swirled around us as we boarded our small coach from Sundog Tours with six other passengers, two Americans from Seattle, Pete and Paula, and two Australian couples. It was great only having such a small group. Our driver/guide, Dieter, was a knowledgeable guy who lives in Jasper, so he knows the area well.

Peyto Lake Snow photograph

New Snow at Peyto Lake

Drop Cap ur first stop was lovely Bow Lake, one of the many blue/green gems with which the Rockies are so well supplied. The sun kept trying to come through and there were large patches of blue sky but the wind chill was sub zero and the mountains over the lake were snow topped.

Peyto Lake photograph

Lovely Peyto Lake

Drop Cap ext was Crowfoot Glacier and Peyto Lake. I remembered these from last time. The lake is incredible, such a vivid turquoise, even with a grey sky and snow on the ground. This made it more picturesque than ever, but the timber viewing platform was iced over and made conditions underfoot somewhat treacherous. It was so lovely all the same.

Weeping Wall photograph

The Weeping Wall

Drop Cap efore lunch we had a couple of sightseeing stops at high rock walls and cliffs, one of which was called the Weeping Wall because of the many little trickly waterfalls.

Drop Cap e had lunch at Saskatchewan Crossing , a rather rustic place, geared to campers and mobile homes and small tour groups as it seems to be the only place on the road between Lake Louise and Athabasca Glacier (whose restaurant was not recommended by our driver). Mac and Geoff had chili, I had a sandwich, we all had OJ and a dessert. For a free lunch, quite adequate.

Athabasca Glacier photograph

Athabasca Glacier and Colombia Icefield

Snowcoach photograph

Snowcoach on the Glacier

Athabasca Glacier photograph

On Athabasca Glacier

Drop Cap fter lunch, the main event was , of course, the Athabasca Glacier and Columbia Icefield. It was seething with buses and tour groups . Here we took a bus to the place where you boarded the much larger snowmobile to drive up to the glacier. It does seem to have receded somewhat since we first saw it but it was still very interesting to walk on the glacier. (Although I am beginning to think we should not be allowed to). We were lucky that the sun was making an effort at the time so it was not all clouded in. Geoff filled a bottle with icy glacier melt and it was pure and cold.

Glacier Skywalk photograph

On the Glacier Skywalk

Drop Cap fter this we went to the Glacier Skywalk, a new development which takes you three hundred metres above the valley floor, and has a glass floor to look down. It was amazing, and didn't bother us at all; two of our group opted out because they don't like heights.

Tangled Creek Waterfall photograph

Tangled Creek Waterfall

Drop Cap etween this and Jasper the highlights were waterfalls, Tangled Creek and the big daddy, Athabasca. Athabasca Falls especially, were wonderful, roaring through the ravine and pot holes it has carved through the rocks. Just great. A last ray of sun, gleaming green on the pine trees behind it gave a wonderful picture.

Athabasca Falls photograph

Athabasca Falls

Athabasca River photograph

Athabasca River after the Falls

Drop Cap wenty minutes later we arrived in Jasper. We dropped off the rest of the group in town and were carried on and out to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge which for some quite incomprehensible reason was thought appropriate for tourists arriving by coach and departing by train! We didn't get there until 1930, and, although the place is very attractive, it is also very spread out over the property and we needed a shuttle to get to and from our rooms. Since we are only staying overnight and leave tomorrow morning, it means we won't see much of Jasper.

Drop Cap e had an interesting dinner here - Geoff had a bison burger (!), Mac an ordinary, but large beef burger, while I had lime and chili marinated shrimps in tiny taco shells. Quite nice, and different. We had a bottle of local wine and dessert (must stop this!!!) then back to the room to sort clothes into a small bag for the train, and crash.

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Monday 19th September, 2016

Jasper Park Lodge photograph

Our Adjoining Rooms
in Jasper Park Lodge

Jasper Park Lodge photograph

Jasper Park Lodge

Drop Cap e started the day with a great breakfast at Orso Restaurant at Jasper Park Lodge. This is an attractive resort style complex with guest rooms in individual cabins. Geoff was just next door and we had back doors opening on to a covered verandah. It is on the shore of a lake and is surrounded by attractive flower gardens. Mac and I saw a squirrel when coming back from checking out.

Jasper Park Lodge photograph

Reception at Jasper Park Lodge

Drop Cap must remember to tell Chris that one of the waiters who served us came from St. Catherines, where Chris' father was born. The waiter told us that it is a pleasant small town of 150,000 on the shores of a lake. Later, while dining on the train, our wine also came from St. Catherines! Two mentions in one day!

Jasper Railway Station photograph

Jasper Heritage Railway Station

Drop Cap e got a free shuttle from the resort (a normal service for them as it is quite remote and not all the guests must want to play golf all day) to the Railway Station in Jasper just before noon. Jasper is a "Heritage Station", one of the few remaining from the glory days, and we were able to check the luggage in when they opened at noon.

Jasper Info Centre photograph

Jasper's Historic Information Centre

Drop Cap hen we went out to explore Jasper, not that there is much to explore really, it is a very small town, existing only for winter sports and the railhead. There was a very attractive old building used as a tourist information centre and an equally historic (and now unused) fire station. We had lunch and bought a few souvenirs, paddling through the rain, not very heavy but damp, then returned to the station to wait.

Jasper Firehall photograph

Jasper Heritage Firehall

Drop Cap e met all our fellow-travellers from yesterday, Pete and Paula catching our train (but not in our Prestige class) and the other two couples returning to Vancouver tomorrow. They told us they had seen wildlife, nature red in tooth and claw, a coyote with two cubs stalking a deer with two fawns, just on the outskirts of the station. We never see anything like that! I don't believe in bears and moose any more, didn't even see a rutting elk, which they did last night in town! That's the bonus of being in town, not out in the donga like us. (Although one would be more inclined to believe in seeing wildlife out where we were, rather than in town.)


Rosemary on Canadian photograph

Rosemary Shows off our Cabin

Drop Cap he train, although nearly an hour late, came at last , so here we are in our lovely "Prestige" cabin on board "The Canadian". It is spacious and comfortable with cooler, coffee table, small closet and shelves, TV with video and movie selection on demand. A fruit bowl with an orange and an apple plus two bottles of water just made it more homelike.

Rosemary on Canadian photograph

Relaxing in our Cabin

Drop Cap here is a lovely bathroom with proper shower cubicle, toilet and handbasin, even a hairdryer! Plus all the usual toiletries and lots of towels. Really makes the Indian Pacific look a bit sick. The thing that sets it apart from other train sleepers is the double bed which pulls down from the wall! No climbing ladders. The bed sits on top of the corner unit of leather couches, both of which are long enough for us to put our feet up. Really different from any train cabin we have had previously.

Bed on Canadian photograph

And So to Bed

Drop Cap e had two cabins, one for Geoff and one for us. Compact but really spacious. Geoff was co-opted by our "concierge" , to be the one who opened emergency doors at need , since he was a single man and able bodied (little did she know!)

We were called for early sitting dinner and it was delicious: a little amuse-bouche in a shot glass, followed by soup or salad. Geoff had soup, Mac and I passed, then I had rack of lamb, my favourite, with vegs, lovely, Mac and Geoff both had duck breast, which they enjoyed. Then a decadent chocolate/caramel cake, and coffee. We are eating far too much, but it seems such a waste not to. We saw a group of bighorn sheep and I saw a deer.

Drop Cap hen back to the cabin where we found our lovely double bed set up for the night. So we settled in for hopefully a better night than last night when my neck really ached all night.

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