June 18, 2008

6/18/08 Lake Louise, AB - Canada

85.8km/974km

As you can imagine, after riding almost seven and half hours yesterday, loosing an hour with the time change, we had a difficult time waking up this morning, especially with temps in the 40s.

There really wasn't a store nearby and nothing for the first 54kms, so we decided to stop off at the hotel restaurant next door for a big breakfast. While waiting for your food, we talked to one of the employees, John. He as an avid cyclist and skier but was recovering from ACL surgery from a skiing accident. He recommended a few bike shops that we should pass by in the next couple of days including ReBound in Canmore.

We thought yesterdays climb to the campground was the end of it, but we had a lot more climbing to get out of town. But on the way up, what should we pass but a handful of bighorn sheep just resting along the side of the road. They didn't really like us stopping to take their picture, but they didn't spook either. Weird.

Bighorn sheep outside of Golden

Our route included the 10 Mile Hill which thankfully wasn't that long. Temperatures were still pretty cold but the sun was up, for now.

Just after the Ten-Mile Hill

Entering the Yoho National Park was a repeat of yesterday's impressive views. It's hard to capture the immensity of the landscape with pictures. You just have to see it for yourself. It became a bit overcast as we made our way through the park, as there is a forecast of rain for this afternoon.

We stopped for a quick bite to eat in Field, a cozy railway town built at the base of a huge snow covered mountain. There we met Dave and Tessa, Canadians who had just graduated from university and heading across country before they were to report for work in September.

Field, British Columbia


Canadians Tessa & Dave

Our immediate plan was to get out of town quick, racing the rain storm you could see coming in behind us. But first we had to make a huge climb out of the valley. Even from a distance it looked impossible. But with the clouds darkening overhead and a strong tailwind gave you the needed motivation to get to the top.

George racing the rain clouds in the distance

I didn't know it before, but we crossed from British Columbia into Alberta provence this afternoon. More great views as we rode the last twenty kilometers to Lake Louise.

At the campground entrance, I had one of those standing still crashes that are more embarrassing than painful. Our campsite is in a bear-proof compound with an electrified fence around the entire thing. There is a female grizzly in the area with two cubs, so even with the fence, we are supposed to put our food in a locker in a shed near our campsite. The ranger did tell us that they are expecting the low temperature tonight to be -5C (23F). Brrr.

The view near our campsite

Almost as soon as we set up the tents it started to sprinkle for the next couple of hours. After getting a shower, we all headed to a restaurant in town. Just like yesterday, the place with filled to the brim with Chinese tourists on a bus tour. Afterward, we mostly wanted to get to bed before the temperatures really started to drop.

The crazy thing is that it is 10:30pm and you can still see outside without a light. I guess we're approaching the longest day of the year soon. Tomorrow we go to Canmore and meet up with George's wife and daughter who have flow up to meet us and pamper us for a few days.

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