QV2018: Day 13: Lake Louise

5 11 2018

This will be a short post because we had a leisure day today.

After breakfast many of us found our way upstairs to the guest-only lounge overlooking the lobby, and did some hand sewing and played some Scrabble (well, two of us played Scrabble!). Later in the afternoon, most joined Michelle and Helen in the Lakeview room for pre-dinner drinks overlooking the lake, and then we went to the Alpine Social restaurant for dinner. Tonight is packing, ready for our bags to be collected tomorrow morning and for our departure to Calgary.

View from my room first thing this morning, after overnight snow. Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, 4 November 2018

View from my room first thing this morning, after overnight snow. Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, 4 November 2018

View out the window from the guest-only lounge, of snow drifting in. Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, 4 November 2018

View out the window from the guest-only lounge, of snow drifting in. Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, 4 November 2018

View of Lake Louise from my room

View of Lake Louise from my room

View of Lake Louise from the Lakeview room

View of Lake Louise from the Lakeview room

 





QV2018: Day 12: Banff and Sulphur Mountain

4 11 2018

We got to sleep in this morning! Our bus picked us up around 11am and took us into Banff. We did a short tour of Banff, then were dropped off to do our own thing for the next three hours — lunch (like we needed it, with a late breakfast and an early dinner scheduled!), shopping, wandering art galleries etc. I certainly didn’t want lunch, and I’m not much into shopping or galleries. Besides, my feet hurt and I was a bit over taking my coat, scarf, and gloves off every time you enter a (hot) store and putting them back on when you go outside, so I was all done after 90 mins.

Our next stop was the famous Banff Springs Hotel, then Bow River Falls, where the bus driver told us about the phone booth there. There’s no phone any more because one night the phone rang (so the story goes) and a grizzly bear was passing and didn’t like the sound so ripped the phone out of the booth. There are claw marks in the metal to prove it!

Our final stop of the day was at the Sulphur Mountain Gondola, for the ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain where we had some time to explore, walk on the observation decks (it was quite cold and the wind was bitingly chilly!), and then meet for an early (still daylight) dinner at the Northern Lights restaurant there. The prime rib roast beef at the carvery was amazingly tender and delicious — the chef told me they marinate it for 12 hours, then slow cook it on low heat for another 12 hours. We headed back down the mountain at dusk, onto the bus, and back to Lake Louise for the night. Despite being a cloudy day, with some early morning snow at Lake Louise, it was a fine day without clouds, fog, rain, or snow obscuring our 360 degree views of the Canadian Rockies from Sulphur Mountain — we were very lucky!

After all that fresh (super fresh) air and wind and snow and cold, I think we were all ready to have an early night! Tomorrow is a rest day for us to do as much or as little as we want.

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

Banff Springs Hotel

Banff Springs Hotel

Bow River, Banff -- below the falls

Bow River, Banff — below the falls

Grizzly bear claw marks on the silver metal

Grizzly bear claw marks on the silver metal

Sulphur Mountain -- 4-person gondolas

Sulphur Mountain — 4-person gondolas

Yes, we went right to the top -- an 8-minute ride

Yes, we went right to the top — an 8-minute ride

Looking back to the gondola base station

Looking back to the gondola base station

Banff, Bow River, and the surrounding mountains, from the top of Sulphur Mountain

Banff, Bow River, and the surrounding mountains, from the top of Sulphur Mountain

 





QV2018: Day 11: Kamloops to Lake Louise

3 11 2018

Another long travel day today and in some pretty bleak weather — cold, wet, grey, very low cloud/fog — and that’s even before we left Kamloops! That weather continued most of the day but as we got higher into the Rockies, the rain turned to snow at times, and we had the very occasional patch of blue sky. But mostly it was overcast and grey/white. Despite that, we had glimpses of the grandeur of the Rockies all along the way, particularly after Revelstoke, where we stopped for morning coffee. We had another stop for lunch at Golden, then continued higher and higher until we turned off onto the Icefields Parkway and to Bow Lake.

Even though the photos aren’t very clear (most were taken from a moving bus with windows that progressively got grubbier with the slush and that reflected back), the actual glimpses we saw of the mountains were just stunning. Snow decorated the trees and the land — it was just magical. And surprisingly not that cold at Bow Lake where we got out and where some felt tiny snowflakes landing on their face for the first time.

Finally, we were at Lake Louise, our home for the next few nights. I last saw Lake Louise in the summer (32 years ago!), and even though the sky was grey today and there was some wind on the lake so no reflections and no blue/green colour, it was just as stunning in its early winter cloak.

I even got to toast some marshmallows over an open fire! (and found them to be nowhere near as good as they sounded!)

Bow Lake, Alberta, Canada

Bow Lake, Alberta, Canada

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

 





QV2018: Day 10: Workshop day with Katja in Kamloops

2 11 2018

Today was a late start, with a leisurely breakfast at the hotel then down to Katja’s Quilt Shoppe for a workshop. Our project was English Paper Piecing, and Katja had designed a 13-piece maple leaf (representing the 13 provinces of Canada and the Canadian flag) for us to do. Her method doesn’t involve thread basting the fabric onto the paper pieces — instead we glued the fabric down, then whip-stitched the seams (by hand) to join them. No-one finished, but we all made decent progress before it was time to stop at 4pm. We were glad it was a workshop day today because the weather was cold, grey, and wet. (Kamloops is in high desert country, so they don’t get a lot of rain — who were we to begrudge them of that?)

After the workshop Dan, our bus driver, dropped off some of the group back at the hotel and then took others to the Walmart Supercenter for an hour — I bought some knock-off Skechers-style shoes to replace the ones I’ve been wearing for the past four years that are very worn down, as well as a 4-wheel hard-sided suitcase (my current suitcase is only a 2-wheeler, which means I have to get it on a pivot to move it along).

We met in the lobby at 6pm for dinner at a local Chinese/Japanese restaurant (Oriental Garden). Wow! What a meal! We had HEAPS of dishes for our group of 23, and they were piled high with yummy fresh food. The food was great, and the service was super quick. Cocktails were all around $6 to $8 each (my well-made Long Island Iced Tea was only $6.25!) At the end of the night, we divided the leftovers into about 12 take-away containers, got some plastic knives and forks and napkins to go, boxed everything up, then as we walked back to the hotel, Dan and a couple of the others gave the meals to some of the local homeless people nearby.





QV2018: Day 9: Travel day to Kamloops

1 11 2018

Today was a travel day — Vancouver to Kamloops. It started out cloudy and rainy and stayed that way well past Hope, BC. Eventually the cloud lifted and the rain stopped, and for a brief while we had sunshine. Even with snow all around there were fires near Lac Le Jeune — I’m not sure if they were scheduled burn-offs, or the remnants of the terrible fires that came through the area a couple of months ago.

We arrived in Kamloops mid-afternoon, and had the rest of the day to ourselves. Some went to the nearby laundromat, while I walked a couple of streets almost into the main part of town to look for some lunch, which I found in a kebab shop nearby.

Tonight we have a group dinner at a local restaurant, then tomorrow we have another workshop day.

The first sight of snow through the low clouds

The first sight of snow through the low clouds

Yay! blue sky!

Yay! blue sky!

Smoky skies

Smoky skies