Field, Yoho NP, British Columbia and Lake Louise, Banff NP, Alberta – Glacier retreat and exhaust smoke

Weather isn’t too much inviting this morning: 6° C with rain, snow and graupel showers. We go anyway to Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park that looks like its name says: emerald. Wir fahren trotzdem an den Emerald Lake im Yoho Nationalpark, der so aussieht wie er heißt: Smaragd. A coach full of Japanese drives us cackling and flashing down the road to another outlook where it is more quiet and Emerald River, that is nevertheless grey, washed away the bottom of some rocks. The mountain river squeezes through a cleft and squirts out on the other side as waterfall. This spot is called Natural Bridge. The creek whisks through the woods, but there are coves everywhere where water flows slower and the deposited mud makes cute beaches.

Back to Lake Louise, Banff NP, we meet a snow plough. That gives us something to think about. We start our hike to Plane of Six Glaciers despite snow. Weather forecast promises improvement. It’ll be right: In glorious sunshine we walk along kitsch-coloured Lake Louise where one more of the famous railway hotels is situated. Unfortunately not every effort was made to give The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel architectonical splendour back then. It looks boring, nothing sort of prison-like ugly. The over 5 km long ascent up to Six Glaciers Tea House is much more beautiful though and so warm that we start to remove clothes. Most hikers stop off for coffee and cake, but the ambitious start to put on clothes again to resist the now chilly wind. They put up with further one and a half kilometres climb to get to the outlook. To not suffer from vertigo might be quite helpful here, but Joerg is very brave and ignores the slope (on both sides of the trail!). The effort is worth it. The view to the surrounding glaciers is marvellous, much better than from the tea house. Meanwhile we put all clothes we have. The wind gliding over the surface of the ice collects coldness and hands it over to ears, noses, and hands. I’m not capable of saying if they are really six glaciers, because there is not too much left of them. Not just due to summerly thaw. Glacial retreat in the last decades is alarming. Comparative images from 100 years ago and today make incredibly clear how few frozen fresh water is left. What glaciers left behind isn’t less impressive. Huge scree slopes with very fine gravel, larger rocks are found mostly at the foot of the mountain at the end of the former glacier tongue.

Back to the parking lot Arminius doesn’t want as he should. He works, but he smokes. We should break him of that, smoking could harm, as we know. Since we didn’t plan to smoke national parks’ campgrounds we decide to leave Lake Louise. Namely in southern direction, back to Calgary, where we want to overnight for the moment.

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