Saturday, January 12, 2008

Lake Louise for New Year

We hope you all had a wonderful New Year.

We decided to spend it in the Rockies as we had been desperate to see what they are like in the winter. Having now returned, we can’t find the words to describe the beauty of it all, (some blog this, eh!) We hope the following photos and videos will give some sense of what it is like.

The drive up to (and in and around) the Rockies was spectacular.
We had our New Year’s dinner in Banff at a restaurant called the Saltlik Steakhouse.

http://www.saltliksteakhouse.com/sl.html

We had Blue Crab & Shrimp Cakes and Almond Crusted Cheese Pate to start, followed by a lovely juicy steak for Eamonn and steak and lobster for Janet. Unfortunately we didn’t have room for desert. It was a fabulous feast and it warmed us nicely – which was good as it was absolutely freezing outside!

Whilst in Banff we saw some rather large Elk complete with their winter coats.

Banff townsite looked the picture of Christmas. Here's the high street.

We then headed to our hotel, located about 30 miles north of Banff, at Chateau Lake Louise.
We were held up slightly on the way by a snow plough that had fallen over! We can't imagine why...it's not like they get much snow up here...just the occasional "dusting"!
Our room at the hotel was fantastic. The view by night and day was stunning. As you can see, we had a view of the lake with the mountain backdrop. The room was cozy and warm and we really didn’t want to leave! They had horse drawn sleighs taking people for rides around the lake.
The hotel foyer looked exceptionally seasonal.
And over the preceding months, the catering team had spent countless man hours constructing this “to scale” replica of the hotel, apparently correct in every detail, made entirely out of sugar!

The hotel had prepared an area of Lake Louise as a skating rink, and just for good measure, planted an ice sculpture of the hotel in the middle of the rink! At "minus plenty" degrees Centigrade, there’s no danger of this melting until Spring!
Dawn breaking over the mountains on New Year's Day was a fairly special view from the hotel room window...
On New Years day we went for a walk on the frozen lake (just to prove we can walk on water!) and to take a closer look at the ice sculpture. That was quite something. The video below gives you a little panoramic tour of Lake Louise, from the middle of the lake, starting and finishing at the hotel and circling around the tree lined mountains. Needless to say, the only way we would have achieved this when we were here in the Summer would have been to rent a boat! The crunching sound you can hear is the snow beneath our feet as we circled around.

video

Obviously, it's no surprise to see icicles in this sort of environment but we had never seen any quite like these - you really don’t want one of these falling on your head.

We then drove on to Johnson Canyon which, in the Summer, is a series of waterfalls. We have done the walk several times, but never like this. First of all it was -20°C and Janet’s scarf and hair froze! Also, if you blow your nose and put the tissue in your pocket, it freezes, (bet you’re all glad we shared that snippet of info with you aren’t you!)

The walk was cold but amazing. The river that normally rages through the canyon was still running in places but under a thick layer of ice. It was making an eerie banging sound under the ice which made us think of horror films where someone gets trapped beneath, (are we weird!?!). When we got to the lower Johnson Canyon waterfall, it was covered with a thick shell of ice and icicles but you could still see it flowing in places underneath, which was completely bizarre! The ice was blue and white. This is really hard to describe but really amazing to see. The video below doesn’t do it justice.

video

We both had a really lovely time. It was the perfect way to see in the New Year. The drive home on New Year's Day wasn't too bad either as we had an opportunity to pull over and watch the sun set over the mountains.
Lots of Love