MP3 track of the day - The ring goes south - Lord of the Rings
Weather: The day started with intermittent rain and hail showers, after this the weather was beautiful until 4:30pm when a heavy shower came in.
Well last night I shared my hostel room with three runners who were doing a relay race along the Icefield Parkway today (more runners!). They left at 4:00am and luckily I didn't hear them get up.
I woke at 9:00am and got ready for a hike up to Lake Louise. I was running low on cash and, after paying for my hostel, I had $10.00 left which was just enough to pay for a pancake and orange juice breakfast. Again the pancakes were huge and I only managed 2/3 of the breakfast.
After this I headed into the town to find an ATM; I tried two and both times a connection couldn't be made to my bank. I had tried to withdraw £100 twice but I wasn't worried that the money had come out of my account as, quite clearly, the statements from the machines said 'transaction terminated, $0.00 withdrawn' (though I will try to check my account soon). I wondered if RBS had cancelled my card, then I looked at which cards were accepted at the ATM's ... no Plus. Now I've never, ever, looked at which cards can be used at an ATM. It appeared that every ATM in Lake Louise did not accept Plus and so I was left with 63 cents and my credit cards as I went to Lake Louise.
After a long walk up to Lake Louise I was confronted by the worst disaster in planning history; the Fairmount Lake Louise Hotel has been built right on the lake front itself. It would be an okay building anywhere else, but here it looked revolting and ugly ... it had completed destroyed one side of Lake Louise.
Lake Louise it's self is beautiful; I got a few photos (which was a bit of a mission because stupid Chinese tourists kept getting in the way ... If I see another Chinese tourist it will be too soon) and then the hail came for a short spell. I decided to head away from the crowds at Lake Louise and hike up to Lake Agnes.
The hike it's self was exhausting; about 1hr 30mins spent climbing up to the lake, sometimes through the snow. However it was worth it; firstly Mirror Lake (on the way) was cool, but there was a very tame red squirrel and chipmunk (I think). I got some great close ups of both (check my flickr account).
Once at Lake Agnes there was a tea room (but with no dosh I couldn't get anything ... I had water and 2 nutria-grain bars with me so it was okay) and a very, very beautiful lake. Because of the altitude the lake was still frozen and it was very beautiful. I spent a little time here taking photos and then headed back down the way I came (I was going to take another footpath but it was covered in snow so I didn't fancy it without the proper equipment).
Once down I went along Lake Louise where I met the 2 'old gals' from the mini-bus trip (still awake) and the British girl who was biking it through America. We had a bit of chat and it appeared we were in the same hostel.
I finished my walk just before the heavens opened and so I headed in the Fairmount Hotel to find the gift shop (rubbish) and had a look around. How this building passed planning permission I will never know; it has totally spoilt the area.
Both Lakes are stunning, simply stunning but I prefer Lake Agnes; it's smaller but more enclosed by the mountains and alpine woodlands ... I could have stayed up there all day.
Once back at the hostel I updated my blog, met my new room mates (more Aussies ... they are like the Chinese) and had a chat to Rosie, the girl who is cycling through America. It seems we are staying at the same hostel in Banff so I'll see her there.
I then went to the restaurant within the HI hostel for a meal (fish and chips); I was served by a good looking Canadian chick, and when she gave me the bill it stated that "... In Canada it is customary to give a 15% tip for good service...". Well it maybe customary in your country love, however in mine it's 10% and I'm sticking to it. However I got the amount totally wrong and actually only gave like 65 cents (40p) instead of 10% of my meal, $1.50 (£1.00) ... felt a little bad and so I left sharpish.
I'm building up a bit of a shopping list for Banff / Vancouver; one of my earphones has packed up, so I need a new pair. I'm almost out of space on my camera memory cards for photos and I'm low on shampoo ... better get some stuff soon.
Tomorrow I'm off to Banff