Monday 19 January 2015

Break Even With Nature

Today, Louise and I decided to go to the mountains and do a little snowshoeing. It has been a long time since we strapped on snowshoes, so I was stressing “little” in my mind. I figured we would walk around a field for a half hour or so and then head into Banff for lunch and to check out the sights. I was camera’d up and ready to capture some feral beauty whenever it popped up.

Unfortunately, there was very little snow in the Banff area and when we attempted to push on to Lake Minnewanka the one road was closed and the other had a sign that told us we needed winter tires or chains. Not willing to end up in a ditch somewhere in the back country, I turned the car around and was prepared for lunch and a stroll down Banff Ave. Louise had other ideas, or perhaps this was her idea all along, we were to keep driving till we arrived at Lake Louise.

There was much more snow accumulation on the road to Lake Louise and there was a truck in the ditch to prove it. I don’t like to drive in the winter and I like to drive in the mountains in the winter even less. To me it is a no brainer and I lump it in with swimming with sharks, rock climbing, sky diving, playing pool with anyone named after a city or a state or pointing out what a stupid game hockey is in Canada. Louise had heard there were snow sculptures at the chateau and there was no sense talking to her.

The first thing you always do when arriving at the parking lot is to empty your bladder. It has become something of a tradition with me over the years, kind of like my body is saying “Piss on you Chateau Lake Louise!” Don’t get me wrong, you won’t be able to find a more scenic spot on this planet and the hike up to either of the tea houses or the plain of the six glaciers makes for a perfect day. In the summer! I just don’t like the Chateau itself ever since I was told that I was welcome to shop in the stores on the bottom level, but only guests were allowed on the main floor. I have never spent a cent at the chateau.

We walked around the corner of the chateau and saw a beautiful, winterized Lake Louise spread out before us. Typically, the hotel has a skating rink for the guests and those of us who just drop in and this year was no exception. In the centre of the rink they always build a castle of ice as a backdrop for photos. They really needn’t go to that trouble as nature provides the most stunning backdrops imaginable. This month is a celebration of winter for Banff National Park and the hotel had an ice sculpting competition. Some of them were pretty good, some were very good and a few were just great!





We finished taking pictures and decided to take advantage of the snow and put the snowshoes to use. It was a bit of a struggle to put them on, it has been a while, but eventually we were ready to leave the parking lot. I think I made it about ten steps before I sunk up to my waist in snow. I knew then and there that our snowshoe trip had come to an end. We took a couple of pictures once I got out of the deep, took off the snowshoes and headed to the village of Lake Louise for lunch. We picked up a lottery ticket or two so one of us could be the asshole from Lake Louise that won the millions, got in the car, turned up the heat and drove home.

There is always something sad about leaving the mountains. Today I made a promise to get in better shape so that with any luck I can break even with nature the next time I head to the mountains.

No comments:

Post a Comment