Depending on the schedule for the next day, you are up early for breakfast and whatever activity you chose for the morning. On our second day at Château Lake Louise we went on a nature tour around the lake with a local guide named Joel. He started our hike by telling us how the lake got its striking turquoise blue color. So the story goes, the lake was drained and towns folk, armed with brushes came out in mass to paint the bottom of the lake. He even showed us a photo of the mayor, with a roller brush in hand, hard at work.
Then, in an effort to correct the legend, he told us that the wonderful color comes from rock worn away over the centuries by the glaciers as they crawl through and down the mountains. The dust created by the glaciers is called “rock flour.” Then he began to tell us how the water and the rock flour refract light resulting in unbelievable colors that have mesmerized people forever.
Our lakeside tour, which covered about 1 1/2 miles, included stops to discuss wildlife, the ecosystem of the forests and the history of the people and the Rockies. It was all very interesting. Joel would stop, here and there, to discuss a topic. Here is a photo of Joel and our friend Stuart as Joel explained the importance of the mushroom to the growth and existence of the forest. Stuart is dressed in white as a mushroom and was known as “funiguy” and Joel as a tree.
Then Joel began to tell us about the “Mighty Squirrel” when, as if on cue, a little squirrel ran down the path, paused for a moment, and then disappeared into the undergrowth. I didn’t get a photo of him then but here is a photo of one of the Mighty Squirrels taken later that day.
They are mighty because they are are able to hibernate and, while hibernating, they are able to survive by slowing their heart rates, breathing and consumption of stored calories and, perhaps most importantly, clear their brains of the plaque that researchers believe cause Alzheimer’s. Researchers are looking into this to see how this occurs and how it may benefit humans.
We learned quite a lot from Joel, not only about the color of the lake, squirrels and the ecosystem but about other animals (bears, eagles, marmots, various birds and others I can’t remember). He talked about flowers, trees and shrubs. He was excellent!
Joel even told us about Wilf Carter a cowboy singer from Nova Scotia who travelled extensively in the Rockies singing songs and entertaining. Wilf ultimately came into the lower 48 and was known as “Montana Slim.” He had a radio show on CBS and was wildly popular. Here is a photo of Slimm which I took from the internet. The tour ended with Joel playing his guitar and singing a Wilf Carter song.
Then we were on our own to make our way back to the Château at a leisurely pace. Here are a number of shots I took as we progressed on our tour around the lake and as we made our way back. Let’s start with a little purple wildflower growing among the rocks.
Looking across the lake on a sunny day.
JoAnn and me on the path.
And, just a few vistas for you to enjoy.
No forest is complete without trees reaching for the clouds.
Speaking of trees, I found this one fascinating. Imagine how difficult it must have been to start the struggle for life by growing parallel to the ground, kissed by a rock and then straight up to the sun. Look at its trunk.
Another wildflower of a different color.
After our tour we returned to the Château and relaxed until cocktail time followed by dinner.
One last photo from Lake Louise; a view not to be missed; the morning sun on Lake Louise.