Remember when Pinterest came out? Everyone pinned wedding ideas, cute clothes, funny memes.. Looking back at my Pinterest page, apparently I just pinned 100 photos of Banff National Park. Pinterest started in 2010! So basically for the past 7 years, I’ve been sitting at home staring at photos of the Canadian Rockies.
I must have put on my big girl pants this past May, because my 7 years of pipe dream suddenly became a reality.
Day One– Lake Louise & Emerald Lake
First full day in Banff National Park! Lake Louise was the first destination. If you Google Lake Louise, you’ll see this famous lake in the summertime: calm turquoise waters, visitors kayaking across the tranquil lake, bright/beautiful flowers blooming around the lake.. My experience was completely different. The lake was mostly frozen, snow was pouring down on the frozen lake, white/untouched sheet of snow blanketed the lake.
I was FREEZING. You can imagine how cold I am, flying straight in from Hawai’i. But I didn’t care. I wanted to prance around this winter wonderland!
20 minutes in, I became unbearably cold so I headed out to my second destination. What can I say, I’m a wimp. 😉
Few minutes away from Lake Louise is another famous lake: Emerald Lake. How many times can I say the word ‘lake’ in one sentence?! Haha! I came to Canada for lakes.
Emerald Lake was practically melted so I was able to photograph the green/clear emerald hue to this lake. The water was so clear I was able to count the number of logs on the bottom of the lake. There were too many, so I stopped at 20. 😉
Day two– Johnston Canyon Hike & Peyto Lake
Man, I was so jet-lagged.. I set the alarm for 7am every morning, but I snoozed them ten times until I woke up at 10am. EVERY MORNING. I really wanted to do this hike because 30 minutes into the hike will lead you to the Lower Falls, and additional 1 hour in, it’ll lead you to the Upper Falls. But I had so much to see in Alberta— I ended up hiking to the Lower Falls only. The hike was super easy. The entire trail is pretty much paved. I mean, it’s so easy that I saw multiple families pushing strollers with newborns in them. I even saw an electrical wheelchair rolling on this trail. Awesome. Go grandma! (She wheeled so fast I couldn’t take a photo).
I drove onto my next destination: Peyto Lake. 1 hour drive along this beautiful highway.. I saw so many different wildlife. A tip I received from another visitor- keep your eyes peeled! Mountain goats scaling rocky steep cliffs, black bears crossing the street, deers hanging out everywhere.. I even saw otters!
More than one hour later (because I kept stopping to take photos of wildlife), I finally arrived at the parking lot of Peyto Lake. I say the parking lot, because it’s quite a hike to the lake, especially in 2 feet of snow.
After slipping and falling couple of times, I finally made it to the viewpoint!
People call this the wolf head lake. Can you see the shape of the wolf’s head? I’ve heard this place looks completely different in the summertime– bright blue water resonates through the wolf’s head apparently. This makes me want to pay another visit in the summer! But still! Look at this view! It absolutely took my breath away.
After snapping hundreds of photos, I hiked back down towards the car. On the way down, I saw several fresh huge paw prints.. Probably a bear. And the scariest part? I was alone in this snowy forest! I trekked down the mountain as fast as possible.. I didn’t want to be mauled by a black bear! I didn’t even have bear spray. 😦
I finally made it back to my car and drove towards the Icefields Parkway. I wasn’t able to make it all the way to the Icefields Parkway due to time constraint (waking up late all the time) but I managed to make it to this beautiful river and snap this photo. Possibly one of my favorite!
Day 3— Two Jack Lake
Last day! I follow few travel bloggers and photographers on Instagram and I read one particular post regarding a lake that’s completely melted in May. Just 15 minutes away from Banff town center lies a beautiful/peaceful lake surrounded by snow capped rocky mountains. As I photographed the lake and its surroundings, few ground squirrels curiously and cautiously approached me. Two geese wandered around me, minding their own business. Apparently I’m Snow White in Canada. 🙂
Winter time in Canada (May) is absolutely gorgeous, and I can’t wait to return in the summertime to witness the bright blue lakes.