This morning some of our group coordinated and drove up to Lake Louise to do some hiking. There were 12 or so of us who decided we'd hike to the tea house at Lake Agnes (and from there figured we'd decide based on how we felt if we wanted to take the 7 mile add-on to go to the second tea house — Plain of Six Glaciers). Here's some info about the tea house hikes if you're curious.
The hike to the Lake Agnes tea house splits off from Lake Louise and heads up through some nice forested scenery for about 3.5 km to the tea house with some pretty good elevation gain. Once you're at the teahouse you climb a steep set of stairs to get there and then you're at this crazy little structure in the middle of the mountains where you can sit and have some tea and some soup or sandwiches or cookies. All the food is packed in on horseback and everything is cooked on propane stoves…there's no electricity or running water.
Mirror Lake, just before the last climb up to the tea house:
The stairs looking down:
The tea house at Lake Agnes:
We had sandwiches and a cup of soup and some tea. At that point, six of us decided we'd head on and do the rest of the hike over to the Plain of Six Glaciers and wow were we glad we did.
Lake Louise from the trail:
At some point along the trail we noticed a group of canoes down in the lake and could hear the distress whistles blowing even from this far away. A canoe had capsized and other canoes were rallying around trying to get the occupants out of the water before hypothermia set in. We took photos (and wished them well from a distance, of course):
That water is no joke cold!
This trail was incredible. The weather got kinda crappy (and eventually rained and hailed on us) but it was still completely worth the trek. (Tiny red dot in the middle is a person on the trail, for scale):
It's really just the last part of this hike that's difficult. The steepness of the switchbacks plus the hail and rain made us really step up our pace so we were pretty tired (and soaked) when we got to the top. Here's the tea house in the rain:
It's such a nice, inviting atmosphere though:
We ordered chocolate cake and I had a ginger chai latte and Kevin had a mocha and we sat right there with this view and warmed up:
Cute (but a little bit stinky) outhouses:
I love this part of the trail:
A little bit of a washout on the trail:
The way back took us down to the back end of the lake and as we progressed, the weather improved (bonus!)
Back at the lake:
I just can't get enough of this color:
View from the end of our hike, right where we started:
According to our Fitbits (and one of our group's handheld GPS), the stats for this hike were: 9.5 miles, 238 floors climbed (approximately 2,380 feet), over 21,000 steps, lunch at one tea house and dessert at the other, and 1,538 calories burned. Not bad.
Our drive back to Banff was gorgeous…the weather was nice, the sky was blue and the clouds were puffy and OMG these mountains! We're so glad to be back here.
We got back to camp around 6:30pm, had a quick shower, and then 11 of us headed into town to have a beer and some dinner at the Banff Avenue Brewing. There are now 10 Airstreams here in our group! We met up with Kyle as soon as we arrived, and the Wandrly crew arrived today as well. We'll try to get some good group photos tomorrow to post later on.