Banff, Lake Louise, and The Frasier Valley in a Day

As Corey wrote a couple of days ago, we left Canmore and drove Highway 1 through Banff.  Highway 1 had changed a lot since the last time we rode that trail.  Last I saw 1, she was an understated two lane road winding through the prairie.  When I left the road to go south of Medicine Hat, there were just hints of the coming mountains.  Now, meeting 1 after K County, I found a force of a road speeding through the heart of the Canadian Rockies.  Still, I sensed the country boy in the beast and it was not long before there were checkpoints (one needs a pass to enter into Banff NP) and, a little bit down the road, it was a two lane route again with stoplights, intersections, etc.  Corey talked a little yesterday about Henna’s eye and it really put a damper on our mood.  Rain came too and we did not get to play much in the great Canadian wilderness.  We did see Lake Louise and it was a shock to our system.  Waterton and Cameron Lake are by no means untouched, but Lake Louise was an amusement park in comparison.  Four mega parking lots were needed to accommodate the daily tourists.  A massive hotel was at the lake shore and people by the hundreds lined the shore to snap a picture, eat some ice cream, and buy a t-shirt or a postcard.  What made us really laugh was the sign directly in front of the lake stating how delicate an ecosystem the surrounding lake was, and how people should tread lightly here.  Hmm.

After leaving Lake Louise we drove some more and for the first time this trip, road construction seriously impeded our progress.  The scenery was beautiful and as Corey mentioned we found a great boardwalk trail and  picnic area were we cooked up some fish.  The fish was good, but there was no way to do dishes afterwards and our car reeked (still reeks) of fish.  Shortly after lunch we pulled into Revelstoke and I was immediately won over.  Although obviously influenced by tourists, it had a very genuineness that we found refreshing.  We had some dessert (I had a tasty Nanaimo bar) and coffee and our mood lifted.  Shortly afterwards the clouds began to lift and we camped at a KOA in Sicamus.  If it was not for the loud highway noise and mosquitoes it would have been heaven.  Henna and I swam in the outside pool (60 degrees outside but the pool was heated).  This morning I woke up and the trip continued.  Drove to Kamloops where I had an oil change and then took 5 (a true interstate where one can drive 110 KPH or about 70) and the scenery again amazed me.  This time the view was of deep valleys that we seemed to both be in and above at the same time.  At Hope I talked Rambo with the kids at the visitor center (First Blood was filmed here) and then hiked the Othello Tunnels which consist of former railroad tunnels and bridges overlooking white water and a valley.  I write these words now at a semi-private campground with too much loud music coming from my neighbors.  Tomorrow we hope to see Vancouver and then Monday we will take a ferry to the island.