One of the biggest advantages of our Cross-Canada Roadtrip so far, has been the difference in traveling off-peak season has made. Sure there have been other people around, but I think we’ve dodged the massive touristy crowds. We’ve been able to just show up on a whim, without plans or bookings, and pretty much do what we’d like; whether that’s arranging accommodation last minute, or finding a place to car camp.
For example, when we visited historic Fort Langley on a Tuesday afternoon, hardly anyone was around. Kelowna had a bit of bustle happening on the May long weekend, but we were too busy searching for beef jerky to take notice. We’ve also been able to do a lot more during the week, which has meant missing the weekend peak times too.
Leaving British Columbia on a holiday Monday (Victoria Day) was a different story. The traffic was noticeably east-bound, with a significant number of Alberta license plates heading home.
From Revelstoke, we were headed for Lake Louise before heading north to Jasper. I’d never been, but it was one of those places I’d seen everyone else’s photos of, and dreamed of going. Truth be told, I hadn’t actually done any research of when to visit or what do there. I just knew I wanted to see it. Embarrassingly enough, it hadn’t actually occurred to me that it might not look exactly like the photo my friend Mel took when she was there in July of 2008:
When I asked for recommendations of where to go and what do, my friend Sarah had told me to definitely check out Lake Morraine while in the Lake Louise area. I spotted it as we drove past… Along with the great big CLOSED for the season sticker across the sign. Sad face. Perhaps I should have realised this might been a precursor of what was to come.
Thom had just been in the snow for the first time in Rogers Pass. I didn’t realise that a couple hundred kilometers later, he was about to have his second experience already! The path from the carpark down to the lake was littered with crunchy snow. He surfed his was to the bottom, and I scuttled behind him, both of us in our shorts and bare feet/jandals.
Seeing Lake Louise, my first thought was “this looks exactly like the pictures!” Except, wait, it wasn’t quite. Same same but different. It was Victoria Day, and the lake was still nearly completely frozen.
The ever-fearless Thom made his way out to the thin ice to explore up close.
My dreams of renting a red canoe from the log cabin and paddling around the lake disappeared a heck of a lot quicker than the ice on the lake. It made a lot of sense, but I did feel silly for not thinking that it of course it would still be frozen. The sun was trying its best to come out for us, and I appreciated it’s momentary appearances.
Regardless of grey sky and frozen lake, all was not lost. Lake Louise in the spring was still absolutely beautiful. Grabbing my camera, I was determined to capture her unique beauty and take my own photos unlike all the ones I’d seen before.
It was late afternoon when we arrived and there were plenty of people milling about, but it wasn’t noticeable or annoying. The clouds above seemed unsure as to whether they’d be sticking around, heading out, or just opening up to downpour, therefore making it a bit less than ideal for taking beautiful landscape photos of the mountains.
Just in case you needed some extra reminding, the ice is thin and melting at this time of year…
The glacial blue-green tint of the water glowed from below the water and with my polarised lens, I could clearly see all the sticks and stones hiding below.
I was drawn to the lake and the magic being revealed as it thawed.
Fascinated by the stillness and mesmerised by the mountains reflections that appeared on the glasslike water, I excitedly kept taking photo after photo. I got a little giddy each time I looked on my camera screen, pleased with finding my very own hidden gem within an ever so popular tourist destination. I quite happily considered my mission to take some unique photos, a success.
I would still love to see Lake Louise in late summer and paddle a red canoe around the lake in front of the mountains, and one day I will plan more diligently, perhaps return in summer or autumn. But for not having made any plans, I was also pleasantly surprised by Lake Louise in the spring, and I’m quite happy that we experienced something a little different.