One of the little splurges on our trip was a night at the Chateau Lake Louise. There isn't much to Lake Louise -- it's not a town like Banff or Jasper. There's a strip mall with a bakery I always make a point to stop at, but the main attraction is the lake itself and the various hikes to Lake Agnes and Moraine Lake.
I've been to Lake Louise in the depths of winter and the height of summer and it's a fairytale in all seasons really. I'm sad to say that I've never paddled the lake - something I had hoped to do this time... But in a way, it's nice to leave something for another visit.
It's interesting to think back to when I first visited here. I was matching up the reality with images I'd seen in postcards and Lonely Planet guidebooks. It was hard to even tell whether it met up with expectations - the mind is so unprepared for such sights. Did I expect the lake to be more turquoise? The mountains to have more grandeur? No - it's just like a first reading of a book that you're unequipped to process: You have to go back when the mind is better equipped.
Now I go and there's no shock of the new. But there's still a stunned sense of the beauty, which is breathtaking, no matter how many times you see it.
P.S. To read more about this part of the trip, check out my story on Driving.ca