Banff National Park No 2
On day two, we spent the beginning of our morning enjoying coffee and snuggled up in cozy socks, blankets and jackets utilizing the wonderful porch that came with our bungalow. When we finally got in gear we packed up our stuff, checked out of our bungalow (as the check out time was 11 and we would be hiking at this point) and then had a small breakfast we'd packed.
We then walked over from the check out to the trailhead of Johnston Canyon and begun an incredible start to our trip in Banff National Park.
Once you start on the trail you are instantly hit with aqua blue and clear waters and beautiful rock formations. This is one of the most popular destinations in Banff National Park, and it's quickly easy to understand why. Do note that though the first part of the trail is flat and paved, shortly after you do have grades, stairs and some short but steep inclines so not really wheelchair or stroller friendly, so plan accordingly.
The lower falls are a super fun and breath taking beginning. Take the path to lower falls that leads shortly off trail to the upper falls, and this will take you straight to a wonderful look out point. Continue shortly forward and you can go through a small tunnel to be just feet away from the breath taking lower falls. This was one of my absolute highlights of the trip because you could feel the immense power riveting from the water beating down with such force.
We then continued onward to upper falls. We defiantly took our time because of the constant beautiful views. I regretted not bringing my camera on this hike, but my iPhone 6 camera was defiantly appreciated as we continued thru this hike.
Right next to upper falls is the whole reason I was drooling for Banff National Park for six-years. This boulder in the canyon comes to a tapered point, as does the rest of the canyon because of the minerals in the water that eat away at the limestone that makes up most of the canyon and the rockies that make up Banff National Park.
From the Upper Falls, you can continue onward to the Ink Pots, however we did not and returned back to our car to get to our campsite at the Lake Louise Campground.
The Lake Louise Village was a sweet lil' corner and my mom and I really enjoyed it. The two restaurants (one up an elevator and one across the street next to the gas station) both served us two of our best meals on the trip. There is also a wonderful book store full of local works (both writing and art), a small grocer store and an outdoors shop as well as the typical tourist type spots. There also was the first our of our two favorite coffee shops, with pastries, homemade styled stews and wonderful coffee (may I suggest their in-house special Mystic Mocha.)
After viewing the shops, we stopped into the information office, which was by far the most helpful and informational stop we visited the whole trip!
Finally, we went to our campsite, and set up the tent and made it as cozy as possible. Little did we know we were in for a 26-degree/lower night. But we quickly scampered off to go view the lake before settling in for the night.
At Lake Louise you get multiple trail heads (including the trail heads to the two-tea houses Big Agnus and The Plain of Six Glaciers). You also get beautiful views no matter if your there to stop and have a stroller or there for the long hike ahead. Lake Louise also shares her estate with the Lake Louise Chateau, though very much out of my price range, I did enjoy her splendor just as a spectator from the outside. The lake provides a smaller walkway that's paved and available to use for the public, as well as canoe rentals. All to enhance the enjoyability of Lake Louise.
Things Learned: Pack some food along (check border laws) or make a pit stop at a grocery store, food is expensive and it's helpful to have some smaller meals for breakfast and lunch you can pack around. If you stay at the Johnston Canyon Resort park there, the available parking lot fills up by 10am and people are scrambling to park alongside the road, this is in fact one of the most popular stops in Banff. If camping after August 31st be prepared for cooler to very cold temperatures, though you have less wildlife concerns bears, elk and other animals are still around. Always have a bear box, or rent a bear box locker available at most of the front-country campgrounds. Also, be prepared for any changes, we planned to camp most of the week, but with low low temperatures rain and snow, this quickly changed - all the joys of traveling.