Canada’s lakes are exactly what I expected them to be. Peaceful places for those who need quiet. After traveling to the Rocky Mountains, I was looking forward to see Lake Louise, the lake that was named after Queen Victoria’s daughter. When the alarm rings, at 5 am, it is still dark outside. The sun rises after breakfast, as we walk out of our hotel and in the empty streets of Banff. The air is cool and the mountains are as beautiful as ever. The sky is clear. The choice to leave so early in the morning is due to the fact that, after 8 am, the road to Lake Louise will be closed.
LAKE LOUISE (ALBERTA)
Just like a Princess, Lake Louise is protected by the crowd that wants to see it. During the summer, when tourists and Canadians drive up here in their cars, buses and caravans, it’s almost impossible to avoid the crowd. Unless you get there very early in the morning. It makes no sense to push through groups of Chinese, Spanish and Italians (!) to take a picture. Lake Louise deserves our full attention. And we deserve a perfect view. To me, Lake Louise is the most spectacular of Canada’s lakes. A mirror for the clouds and the mountains, the door to a better world.
THE LITTLE HOUSE & THE CASTLE
Walking along the trail that goes around the lake, I think about the perfection of Nature. The only thing that seems out of place, here, is the majestic hotel called Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. This luxury resort resembles a castle; for sure it is impressive, but wouldn’t a simple mountain chalet fit more into the landscape? especially when you think that people come here to walk, trek, row or ski. And to breath beauty. The little house by the lake, probably a place where they rent boats, is far more charming to me.
EVERY PLACE IS UNIQUE
We unwillingly leave this enchanted, timeless place. I am only comforted by the thought that we will see more lakes, more beauty. But I know that every place is unique. Nature never repeats itself. I realize this as I think about Italian lakes, which are also amazing, but different. If you look at the photos, they might be similar. But I believe that every place has a personality of its own. Here the landscape seems to be surrounded by a mysterious spell, as if mountains were sleeping giants, majestic protectors of Canada’s lakes.
canada’s lakes and their hundred shades of blue
We take the Columbia Icefield again, only to stop at Lake Bow, protected by majestic rocks. It is light blue in the morning sun. Then we see the Lake of the Birds (ducks, actually) and Peyto Lake, that takes its name from the explorer Bill Peyto. We see it from above, it looks like an aquamarine arm stretching in the mountains. I am very disappointed as I learn that we won’t see Lake Moraine. This small lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks has a peculiar green colour. So I read in my travel guide. This is the disadvantage of organized tours: you have to adapt. But the tour guide promises that we’ll be rewarded.
EMERALD LAKE (BRITISH COLUMBIA)
Surrounded by the forest, Emerald Lake leaves me breathless. The mist softens the outlines; the sounds are muffled. Several red boats are lined up on a little beach, next to the rental place. Someone is rowing in the middle of the lake. Around us, the wooden, eco-friendly chalets of the Emerald Lake Lodge invite us to stay longer. A week, maybe. Or two. I’d sit on a chair by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate. I would walk in the woods. I would listen to the sounds of nature. We have entered British Columbia and we are now in Yoho National Park. Legendary guide Tom Wilson was the first to discover this jade-coloured lake in 1882, during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railways. For sure, this gem of a lake is one of the most mystic, charming and mysterious places I’ve ever been to. And not just in Canada.