Monday, October 17, 2016

Western Canada Diaries - 8. Lake Louise and Moraine Lake

[ Continued from Part 7 - Bow Falls and Vermilion Lakes  ]

About half an hour's (at most) drive north of Banff on the Trans-Canada Highway 1 lies a little spot of heaven.

Rockies along the highway

It started to rain heavily as we left Banff and headed for Lake Louise. Now I may have reused that "slice of heaven" phrase often, but as anyone who has visited Lake Louise knows, it's appropriate over and over again to describe this place.

When you park your car, you have to walk for about 5-10 minutes until you are at the lake. All along, you are wondering just how beautiful it could be and will it match the hype. After all, everyone has praised this place, and you have seen the pictures. But how will it be in real life.

Suddenly, you are there. And it hits you.


It was over cast but not raining when we arrived at Lake Louise, yet we were mesmerized by the beauty of the serene lake. Not a single mechanical sound could be heard. It was just throngs of people, and nature.

Slowly the clouds started to part as the junction of mountains, glaciers and glacier lakes became more pronounced. I have said it once but it bears repeating - you can NOT take photographs that do justice to the natural beauty of the place. It has to be seen to be believed that such a place exists.

Lake Louise is often termed as the most photographed place in Canada. And it's not hard to see why.

There is a perfect spot on the pier where you stand, and you can see directly opposite you - it's where two mountains meet. Behind it, there's another two mountains meeting. And so on ... the illusion is of several mountains meeting in layers. All of it in front of a glacier in the background. The clouds curve above along the mountains and reflect the colours of the sky and the aqua blue colours of the lake. And then a crimson red canoe slowly drifts in front of you, complimenting the natural colours.

Sometimes, if you are very lucky, there may not be a wind across the lake, and the waters will be very still. This is when you can take a perfect picture. The mountains, the glacier, the clouds, all reflected on the crystal water surface of the lake.

Panaromic shot of Lake Louise by my brother.
 Like some of the lakes here at Banff National Park, there was a canoeing facility at Lake Louise.

Now this is one lake I would recommend you spend your money and go for the little exercise.

It's actually worth the money, and I would recommend it over the Lake Minnewanka cruise if you have done that before.

Nothing can prepare you for the feeling of unpolluted, clean, natural breeze in your hair, the sounds of the sparkling water as you peddle across the lake, and the awesome majesty of the tree line (that looks so small but is huge as you near it) and of course, the glorious Rockies.

It is worth noting that 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation and admission is free to all national parks across Canada, including Banff National Park.

There is a Fairmont hotel across from Lake Louise (and very pricey too, during the summer season!). You can explore the hotel grounds and take pictures of the lake from various view points.

A view of the waters from the boardwalk across the hotel

We eventually left Lake Louise (rather reluctantly, no one wanted to leave!). A short drive from Lake Louise (about ten to fifteen minutes) is another little lake called Moraine Lake.

Some say Moraine Lake is equally beautiful (and if you see the post cards, some of the pictures are amazing). Unfortunately there was some type of construction when we were there, and besides the kids were getting a little antsy after a busy day, so we couldn't climb this little hillock nearby from which the views are said to be spectacular.

Insha Allah, something to do for next time.

Over all, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake are said to be easily the two most beautiful sights of nature in the world. And I feel blessed seeing both of them. If you are visiting Banff National Park, you can NOT miss either of them.


nadia said...

You've taken really good photographs of the place! And I certainly don't blame you for using the "slice of heaven" phrase often; with a place as incredibly scenic as that, one often runs out of phrases. I'm really enjoying Western Canada through your blog posts. Thank you for sharing them!

mezba said...

Nadia, that's high praise from a fantastic photographer like you! We actually didn't take a lot of pictures and most of these are cell phone pics, some are camera.

Next time you and Masood are in US do checkout Pacific Highway 1 and Big Sur and the Yellowstone National park. While not as scenic as the Rockies (no glaciers, for one), they are also incredibly beautiful in their own way.

Salma - The Write Balance said...

It's definitely a little piece of heaven!

Unknown said...

"Little piece of heaven " you couldn't describe it better. I went there twice ( morning and evening ) just to see the change of color of the water.

Unknown said...

"Little piece of heaven " you couldn't describe it better. I went there twice ( morning and evening ) just to see the change of color of the water.

mezba said...

I want to visit this again.