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My Life in Canada: Week 2 – Nothing But Lakes

We all knew that we were going to be visiting a multitude of different lakes on our way through the Rockies. But there was one, in particular, I wanted to see. Moraine Lake. So I just had a feeling that this part of my initial journey was going to be the most interesting.

Day 8:

Today we had a quick breakfast in the village. Because it was still the weekend there was no room in the little roadhouse. We had initially planned to eat there but we thought we would try again later if we could. We also realised we needed to book a few things in the village. They needed to be done as early as possible because they could easily fill out. Nate and I booked a zip lining tour with zip trek. This specific tour that we did was called the sasquatch, which was a zip line that was 2km long. It was the longest and highest in all of North America. We booked ourselves in for 4 pm, Jeremy decided not to join us for the tour.

While we waited for our time for the zip lining we went back to the apartment. During this time we just relaxed and watched movies and thought of what we could do. We had to also figure out what we’d be doing on our driving day tomorrow.

When we began to gear up for the zip lining I couldn’t help but get extremely excited. I had never done one this long before. Today was a perfect day to do it as there wasn’t too much sun out so we wouldn’t get sunburnt or anything. We also got told to not bring sunglasses or anything because we would likely not have them by the end of the run.

I got a little nervous while we where getting set up to go. But I pushed through it and jumped off after they did the countdown. Of course when we got put on the zip line Nate and I wanted to race, but sadly I lost.

Sasquatch Zipline

Day 9:

We packed up all of our stuff in the apartment and loaded it up into the car. Today we were leaving Whistler and making our way toward Kamloops. We had a long journey ahead of us. According to Google, it ended up being around a four to five-hour drive in total. But it took us longer because the drive was filled with many stops along the way.

At around 10 am I had a phone interview with another potential employer at a Belgian restaurant back in Vancouver. But I would need to wait a few days to find out whether or not I actually got the position. But with that out of the way, I could enjoy the rest of my day and have no worries.

First up we stopped at Nairn Falls. It was a leisurely hike of 3kms there and back. The trail was flat for most of the way so anyone would be able to do it. The falls had so much water passing through them than if you were to fall in you would be gone. There was so much spray form them the whole area was rather cool.

Next up was the main attraction of the day which was Joffre Lakes. To do this hike you need to make sure that you set aside a decent portion of your day so that you have enough time to enjoy the lakes.

The first lake was only 150m away from the car park, it had a blue tinge to the water. We had heard that each lake heading up the mountain got bluer and bluer because of the glacial ice.

The next lake was about 2/3 of the way up the mountain and it is this stretch that was the hardest part of the hike, some in covered by trees but other parts aren’t so it feels like you are going to get burnt if you do not a cover-up. We stayed at this lake for a decent amount of time just admiring its beauty and refuelling on some snacks we brought along with us.

The last push was another winding climb to the top but along this trip was another fast-flowing multi-tiered waterfall. The spray of this waterfall was enough to cool you down with ease and was very needed after our day of hiking.

The lake at the top was breathtaking and just on the other side of the lake was the mountains filled with glaciers that supplied the lake with its ice-blue water.

The hike down felt a lot quicker than the way up, but we were also just determined to get back to the car so that we could relax. We realised in total we had hiked about 8km in about 4 hours including the breaks in between.

Once we had gotten to the apartment later that afternoon in Kamloops it was safe to say that everyone was exhausted. We thought it best that we should have an early night because tomorrow was another big day. In Kamloops itself, there weren’t many touristy things to do, or we just didn’t look very hard. But the town itself was quite large and it was spread out. It seemed like it was mainly just a transport hub for trade in the region. I would like to come back to explore it better in the future.

Day 10:

We pushed off early from Kamloops because we had another long drive ahead of us toward Jasper.

First up we had to make a stop off at the Best Buy in the local shopping mall. I needed to get a new go pro battery and charger. The Best Buy entrance wasn’t inside the shopping centre so I couldn’t find it. We realised that it was outside and not indoors. The new battery and charger would serve me well because I now have a long time I’m able to film.

We made some small stops along the way to Jasper. One of them was Mount Robson National Park. Here we got to have a perfect view of the mountain that was tall enough to go above the clouds. We tried to get a bit closer to the mountain but instead came to a carpark. It was at this point that a hike started. The hike itself was 11km to the lake at the foothills of the mountain. We decided that was a little bit much for us, so we stayed and watched the river before heading back on the road.

Moose Lake was another large lake that we stopped by and had a look at. There felt like there was a lake every few minutes of driving. To me, it seemed that all of the lakes over here in Canada are extremely large. We don’t really have as many in Australia.

We were staying about an hour outside of Jasper. We didn’t want to spend an exorbitant amount of money on accommodation. The drive from Jasper to the house was spectacular, there were mountains on either side of the road. It felt like everywhere you looked there was something new to see.

We had dinner just down the road from our accommodation. The restaurant was called the Folding Mountain Brewery. The brewery was well worth the visit, they had a nice selection of local or Canadian beers and an assortment of wines. They had a small menu but what was on there sounded delicious.

Day 11:

Today we were going to be heading toward Maligne Canyon. We tried to find a park but ended up driving around for 15 minutes or more. We had no luck finding a park so we decided to move on and go exploring. There was a sign that told us further down the road was Maligne Lake. We thought what the hell, we didn’t have anything else planned for the day. The sign said it was about 38km to the lake from the canyon.

The decision to head to the lake was a brilliant one. The views were spectacular and as we got higher we saw more and more snow in the mountains. Then at one point, there was snow on each side of the car.

When we actually arrive at the lake there was snow everywhere. It was our first experience of seeing snow on the ground, or more accurately snow that we could actually walk through. So, of course, we had to go for a walk around in it but that would have to be after lunch.

When we got to the shores of the lake, I got to see for myself how gorgeous it was. I said to myself that the next time that I visit Jasper again, I would love to do a cruise across it. There are campsites over the other end of the lake that I think would be amazing to stay at for a night or two. There was so much to see yet so little time.

After playing around in the snow and getting all of the photos we could, we made our way back to Jasper but since it wasn’t too late in the day we headed to another lake. This one a little bit closer to the actual town of Jasper.

Pyramid Lake seemed to be a little off the beaten track. The lake itself was surrounded by large mountains, some of which were capped with snow. We spent about an hour or so walking around the little island and taking all of the photos that we could.

After driving around the lake and seeing it from all angles we headed back to our apartment for our last night there. We just had a relaxing night in on this one, since we had a long day ahead of us we didn’t want to be too tired.

Day 12:

Today we made our way from Jasper to Banff and initially we were hit with an incredible amount of rain but as we went further down the road the rain turned to snow and just got heavier. For someone who has never seen snow properly falls, I was like a little kid at Christmas time.

We stopped off at a fast-flowing waterfall which had seemingly flooded from all of the rain overnight and then during the day and there was snow all around us and it made the whole place that more magical

I would have loved to play in the snow forever but the other guys were rather cold, so we made our move to push on.

Further down the road from the waterfall, there was a multiple car pile up. We weren’t exactly sure what the details were but we got stuck in a massive line of cars for several hours and couldn’t do anything but wait.

Finally, we arrived in Banff, much later than we had initially anticipated but at least we got there all in one piece. Overall it took us about 10 hours to do a 3-4 hour trip. It was safe to say that the entire day was both eventful and also uneventful. I said to myself that I will most definitely be back to visit that strip of the road since on a clear day it is supposed to be one of the most scenic drives in the world, and we, unfortunately, travelled it on a snowy day.

Day 13:

Today was our first full day in Banff. To begin the day we made sure to have breakfast in the village, as we wanted to spend as much time as we could exploring the general area and the village itself.

Banff Village

After breakfast, we left the village and headed back the way that we came from Jasper. We were hoping that the roads were going to be a lot better than they were the day before.

Sadly when we got closer to Peyto Lake it started raining/snowing again. Peyto Lake was about 10-20 kilometres or so past Lake Louise so we were hoping that wouldn’t affect us seeing that lake. Since we really wanted to see Peyto Lake because we’d heard many good things about it. We decided to head up one of the roads to view it from higher but it was foggy and rainy and you were unable to see any kind of distance in front of you.

On our way back towards Banff, the weather got a whole lot better. We assume because it wasn’t as high as the other lake. We saw a sign pointing to a massive lake next to the road called Bow Lake. so we thought why not stop here and spend a bit of time here.

Bow lake had turquoise water much like the upper Joffre lake. the clouds seemed to glide around the mountains and the water had small waves along the surface.

After we had spent an hour or so there we headed back toward Lake Louise.

This was the first time any of us had ever seen Lake Louise person and we were not disappointed in the slightest. There were so many tourists around us trying to get the best photos of the lake. Even a couple of newlyweds getting their photos taken.

We thought while we were here we should at least take a little bit of time to relax and take in the sights. We decided to sit by the stones for a while and just watch the clouds and the water. After we had done that for a while we thought that we would move on and do a walk to the far side of the lake to see it from another angle. It was beautiful from all angles.

My overall thoughts were that Lake Louise was stunning, and I cannot wait to come back here in the winter to walk across it. Because that would be an entirely different experience. I would also want to stay at the hotel that they have there one time down the track. But I’d have to save up for that because it didn’t appear to be very cheap at all.

Day 14:

In the morning we raced back to the Lake Louise area. We wanted to see Moraine Lake during the golden hour. But once we got there the road to Moraine Lake was closed off because the car park was full. We had to catch a bus from Lake Louise so we thought we’d see what the lake looked like in the morning.

The lake was stunning and because there was little to no wind the whole top of the water was crystal clear. You could see the reflections of the surrounding mountains. We had to wait about an hour or more to get a bus up to Moraine Lake, but it was well it.

Just up the road from Lake Louise is Moraine Lake and its breathtakingly beautiful turquoise water. The blue water looks far too blue to be naturally occurring. Because of the colour, it felt like the water was being photoshopped right before my eyes, it was that blue.

We sat there for ages just watching the mountains and the water and just enjoying being there in the moment. There were a few chipmunks that hung around us, obviously wanting some food. They were so cute, it just added to the whole experience we were having.

One of my recommendations, if you are wanting to see Moraine Lake, is to leave early in the morning because the car park at the lake fill up extremely early and all the good shots are from early in the day.

When Nate got his picturesque photos on a log, he managed to fall off on his way back and get drenched all the way up to his chest. Luckily for him, it was the end of the day and we had pretty much done everything at that lake that we had wanted to.

After everything was done we made our way back to the bus and got a lift all the way back to where we had parked our car. We were quite tired from the long day that we had so we thought we’d head back to Banff while we could. The next day we headed on from Banff to Calgary to finish off our roadtrip.

Kyle Warford

I am an Aussie traveller who wishes to travel the entire world. I have currently been to 29 different countries. That is including my home country. I want to bring everyone along with me on my adventure.

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