Into the Heart of Banff: A Turquoise Paradise
First trip to Western Canada and let me just say.. it certainly did not disappoint. I hadn't done a whole lot of research prior to my arrival in Banff, Canada. I was kind of just winging the trip and leaving everything up to surprise. I have been told about Banff briefly before. I was aware that the area is beautiful, but what I experienced was truly breath taking. The drive from Calgary was just over 90 minutes. We hit the road early, stopping at Tim Hortons on the way. Tim Hortons is Canadas Dunkin which in my opinion is better and everyone who goes needs to try it. Once out of the city, you are surrounded by rolling hills of farm land, and in this time of year they are draped in the most crisp autumn reds and yellows. In the deep distance, you are teased with a small taste of the Canadian Rockies. The horizon is lined with mountain ranges for as far as the eye can see.
Established in 1885, it was Canada's first national park and is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you're interested there is a site that lists all of the UNESCO sites in the world, definitely a fun way to plan your next trip. Banff is a unique area with diverse landcapes that features jagged, snowcapped peaks, crystal clear lakes, thick dense greenery, and abundant wildlife. The amazing thing about this area is it looks different in different times of the day and year. With different seasons come different sceneries. In the winter, Banff transforms into a winter wonderland, perfect for those who ski and snowboard,and in the summer it turns into a lush green landscape with scenic hiking trails with captivating waterfalls and serene lakes with paddle boarding and kayaking.
Lake Louise, is one of the most popular lakes in the park. Hot tip: set that alarm early and get there before the crowds. Not many people are up before sunrise and beating the crowd is the best advice anyone could have given me. It is just you and the mountains, they have a way of making you feel small in the grand scheme of things while filling your heart with an overwhelming sense of admiration and love. The lake is pretty accesible to all, follow the paved pathway that leads you to a glistening emerald green lake bookended by towering snow-capped peaks. It offers many opportunities for hiking, canoeing, or just gazing out into the sparkling, tranquil turquoise water.
There are multiple hiking trails in the area (be sure to bring an air horn or bear spray) in case you run into wild life. If you have time, take the Lake Agnes hike. It is a moderate hike, so be prepared for some steep inclines and curving paths. We took our time, taking in the scenery around us completely in awe of this place. The path leads you up the side of the mountain and in the early/mid fall the trees are coated in a dusting of white powdery snow that makes for a dreamy experience.
During your journey you are greeted with Mirror Lake along the way, which is named for obvious reasons, and a nice little surprise. All the way at the top is Lake Agnes, nestled comfortably in the heart of the Rockies. The hike rewards you with not only stunning mountain vistas, but the serene charm of a lake surrounded by flourishing greenery. Perched on the top of the mountain is a quiant Japanese tea house that serves piping hot tea and lovely peanut butter and jam sandwiches, take your time up here, the clouds are like waves, rolling in and out of the area, if the visibility is not perfect, wait a few minutes and things might just open up for you. When you are up there... listen to the stillness of the landscape, notice the sunny reflection bouncing off the most perfect white snow, and the crisp smell of the aspen trees surrounding you.
Whether you're gazing at its shimmering waters in the summer sun or witnessing the frozen splendor of Lake Louise in winter, it's a place that leaves an indelible mark on the soul, reminding us of the awe-inspiring power of nature.