Human Drama at Lake Louise

There are plenty of other incredible sights along Highway 93. Here's something that made me happy as a designer and a lover of not seeing dead animals along roads.

And the lovely Lake Louise, which comes well before the Columbian Icefield. It's not that far out of Banff.

One more thing about Banff before I discuss Lake Louise - it's lousy with Aussies. I was married to a Kiwi once, and I'm still a proud New Zealander by association, but even if I wasn't, there seemed to be an absurd number of Australians in the area. This is what you get, Commonwealth!

I joke, but that was about the ratio, 1 to 3. The other two kids shown above were vacationing Quebecois. They were my first hitchhikers. I don't normally pick up hitchhikers because I have no seats, but when they're just trying to get up from the highway to the lake, it's not that big a deal, like jumping in the back of a pickup truck. Solomon likes the company too.

Well he would if he'd have noticed.

Lake Louise is stunning. The icy water makes everything else glow a little blue.

There was a fancy hotel (not much to look at on the outside), that framed magnificent views of the lake from every vantage point.

But by far that most exciting thing that happened here was after reading this placard about Georgia Engelhard Cromwell. Her exploits in the mountains of this region make my little glacier excursion look like a drunken stumble to the corner store. She's the first female mentioned on one of these explorers of interest signs in my whole journey. I tried googling her and ludicrously, there's a mountain named after her which shows up in wikipedia, but there is no wikipedia entry for her!

Georgia was awesome, but she just got me talking to these two kind people.

Turns out they are long lost siblings meeting for the first time on this trip! Their story is incredible, including going to school in the same English village briefly without knowing they were brother and sister. He'd moved to from England to Canada as an adult and was at last hanging out with his sis. They were adorable and it was a great joy talking to them.

When traveling alone, don't forget to talk to people. They are always amazing.

Banff, Pt. 1

The day was finally a little cooler so the boy went for the the warmer blanket.

Canmore is a little resort town before the big resort town of Banff. I had a waffle at this farmer's market from a Belgian girl who explained that the TinTin cutout was recognized by everyone. Would never happen in the states. There was a special sugar cooked into the waffle so it supposedly didn't need syrup or anything. It didn't. Delicious.

"Hi honey, I'm home (and once again took for granted the 10,000 foot high, stunning mountainscape in our back-fricking-yard).

The main street of Banff and the local fuzz. She was very confused that I didn't want to be in the picture with her. I was rather aggressively interested in her outfit and story and then she explained she was a for real law enforcement person and part of her local gig was public relations and awareness. L.A. could use this sort of thing.

While walking down the main street, I was confounded by a store with this symbol on the outside. My first thought was, huh, someone bought the rights to use this old amazing brand, The Hudson's Bay Company, the organization that was the de facto government of the region, a veritable empire. Turns out HBC, founded in 1670, is in fact STILL IN BUSINESS, is owned by Americans now, and exists as a string of department stores!

Solomon was not at all interested in the gondola ride, though they said he was allowed to jump on.

The town of Banff was a joy, plenty to do and see. I'll go into more detail in Part Two but here are a few of the casual activities enjoyed by the hoi polloi ...

tennis with the chalet and mountain view, or other mountain view, or beautiful forest view ...

... golf - this hole is at the base of a great German restaurant hidden in the woods. To complete this Par 4, you have to clear a river ...

or a little pool time ...