Harry loves the campground near Lake Louise, an hour northwest of Banff. He was pacing around for half an hour trying to dig out one of the micro-beavers–small furry creatures that look like hybrids between a squirrel and a beaver–that populate the forest.
Rivers, creeks and lakes look turquoise here in Banff National Park because of the silt washed into the water as glaciers melt. A very pretty sight — even when the sun remains hidden behind clouds for most of the day.
And so Lake Louise doesn’t really shimmer as much as it could either, and the snow-covered peaks framing it bleed into the white sky. I am sipping Darjeeling tea and am slowly realizing that it’s time for some seclusion again: the thousands of tourists–equipped for the 500m “hike” from the parking lot to the paved lake shore with walking sticks and enormous sun visors–are pissing me off. The place appears to be particularly popular among Filipinos and Indians, with dozens of Japanese families mixed in for good measure. There’s also a wedding going on on the grounds of the Austrian castle-looking Fairmont hotel made of precast concrete slabs; the wedding photographer is taking pictures of the guests while scores of tourists are frantically trying to locate the bridal couple. I had to admit to myself that I was reveling in unacceptably elitist daydreams (which I refuse to lay out in detail) so I shall now retreat from Canadian Disneyland, pour myself a Talisker and plot hiking plans for tomorrow morning when most of the tour buses will hopefully be gone.
UPDATE: All it took to clean out nature’s temple was a brief downpour: 95% of the tourists fled the scene in sheer panic. The remaining five percent are mostly Canadians dressed in shorts, flip flops and rain jackets, and they’re laughing. Schadenfreude.