I recently went to Alberta to visit my best friend who is currently working at the Fairmont Hotel @ Lake Louise. I jumped on the opportunity to not only see her, but also to be able to stay in such a stunning place for free, get around with discounts and wow, you're right. I was living a dream.
She called me one night and one thing led to another, I bought a plane ticket and I was on my way to the Calgary Airport. I am still in summer school so it was definitely difficult to maximize the amount of time that I could stay there for. However, we managed, and I ended up staying there for 4 days.
Getting around Lake Louise / the Banff area without a car is no easy task, so if you are planning on visiting and would like to take one advice from this post, BRING / RENT A CAR... or not and spend hours on the Brewster bus (but with my best friend around, those hours flew right by anyway).
On my first day there, we hung out with her friends at the cabin and had some really nice talk. We then headed out to Field, B.C. for dinner at Truffle Pigs. Overall, the car ride there & dinner conversations set me up for a great stay ahead. After heading back to Lake Louise, we went out to the pub since not to brag or anything, but I am legal in Alberta. It was a great experience and I'm glad I shared my first legal pub night with my best friend.
On the second day, we decided to hike to Lake Annette and stay at the Paradise Valley Campground. Here is the fun part. It was pouring rain the day we decided to do that 6 hour hike, but not only that, because we did not have proper camping backpacks, we couldn't really fit anything into them other than our tent & sleeping bags. We were hiking in the rain without a spare change of clothes, socks and barely enough food (2 salmon bagels, 2 granola bars & 1 mars bar). We weren't even wearing enough layers to begin with because we completely underestimated the weather and the hiking time between Lake Annette and the actual campground. I even slipped on wet mud on our way there! There went my only hoodie keeping me warm!! The freezing cold night in our tents with barely any sleep showed our summer camping trip was not as perfect as we had imagined it would be after all. However, we made it back and I'm still alive, so I guess it was a hike for the books. Regardless, Lake Annette was drop dead gorgeous and the view from the mountains was worth every step there.
After spending the night in our tents freezing our toes off, we woke up early in the morning, hiked to the Giant Steps and quickly made our way down the mountain. We headed to Banff and went on the gondola, the hot springs, explored a bit and called it a night. I was so happy to be back sleeping in a nice warm room, I slept like a baby.
We woke up on my last day there at 5am to do a sunrise canoe at Lake Louise. It was again, freezing cold but the lake was just so beautiful, I was so speechless. We canoed around while playing music and chatting. Before we knew it, I witnessed the most beautiful sunrise in my life. We then hiked the Plain of Six Glaciers and it was unlike any hike I've ever seen or done. We walked along the ridge of the mountain and found ourselves in a sea of rocks. It felt like falling in love with nature all over again. The switchbacks eventually led to the teahouse and we indulged in some apple pound cake and lemonade.
Here I am back in Vancouver now, blogging and wishing I was in Lake Louise. There are so many trails I haven't been on yet and spending 4 days there simply was not enough. I promise I'll be back but before that, I'll go back to working on my Android App which is due for my summer course next week. How fun!