Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Peyto Lake

For this wednesday I chose this picture of Peyto Lake in Banff National Park along the Icefield Parkway. Pretty much all lakes in Banff had this turquoise blue color which also had a milky touch to it. But what stuck out about this lake was its weird shape - it looked like a bear.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Banff to Lake Louise - Highway 1A

There are 2 parallel routes one can take between Banff and Lake Louise while driving. The faster one is Highway 1 or the Icefield Parkway. The slower is called Highway 1A. Before heading out on our trip, I had written in to a couple of friends to ask for recommendations on things to do in the area and one of the strong recommendations I got back from both was to definitely take Highway 1A atleast once - its slower but more scenic.

We had just started on 1A when we came across this bull elk grazing by the road. And further up there were a few distinguishable mountains one of which I remember was called Castle Mountain.  (Note to self - should blog sooner so I remember more details. :( )

Castle Mountain

There were quite a few more spots for picture taking along this stretch of the drive, but it is this last picture that I really like. I have always wanted to photograph aspen tree trunks, expecially after I saw a B&W picture of the same by Ansel Adams. Along the drive we stopped at a rest point and I took this one of some trees growing in the forest section nearby - it is no way even an iota as good as what AA had taken, but it gave me immense satisfaction that I was finally able to capture something similar.

P.S. I have recently discovered this system of scheduled posts and I love it - I now create multiple posts mostly over the weekend and schedule them for posting throughout the week - should make this blog seem a lot more regular than it really is.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The tea house trail to Lake Agnes

There are a few trails around Lake Louise and we decided to do the tea house trail. I would call it a moderate trail, not too easy, not too difficult, about 4.5 miles long and 1200 odd feet of elevation gain. Really it took us about 2 hours or so to reach the top. There is a tea house up there to refuel if you need to and then head back down.

Views along the trail

I remember there was some sort of bear warning in effect because Mr. S and I wore our bear bells - just tied small bells on our backpack and shoes. It was a shame though, because the trail was fairly busy and so no bear in sight. Mr. S soon removed his bells but I marched ahead - chhum chhum chhum. No wonder Mr. S  kept trailing behind or leading ahead to take pictures - he was most likely embarassed. :)
Lake Agnes

There were a couple of lakes on the way whose name I forget before we reached Lake Agnes with the teahouse next to it. Serene, quite and small - are the words that come to mind now that I think about it. After a brief stop to munch on some cereal bars we had carried on us, we decided to go a little further up from the teahouse before heading back down. There were some splendid open views of Lake Louise from a window in the trees. Good half day of hiking, and we were back in time for a hearty lunch.

Lake Louise from the top of the trail

Watery Wednesday - Lake Louise

My current blog posts go well with the watery wednesday theme since the Canadian Rockies are literally studded with gem colored lakes. This one is of Lake Louise, taken from I believe the 10th floor of Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise .

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

Though our first visit was to Lake Moraine, it was Lake Louise that formed the base for our travels in the area. The larger area is conserved as a national park called the Banff National Park. And we spent about 4 days driving and hiking around in this area.

I had never seen such turquoise blue waters as those of Lake Louise - it was huge, serene and there were ice capped peaks in the distance. And unlike Lake Moraine, by the time we reached here, the sun was shining. It brought warmth to our spirits too.

Walk along the lake

We were eager to explore and on the first evening itself we strolled over to the other side of the lake. From that side, you could see the lake with the Fairmont hotel at the end. Its a luxurious hotel and our stay here was good. I had managed to convince Mr. S that it was ok to indulge once in a while. Though I must add that for the price we paid (even after we got a hefty discount because of some deal that was going on) the size of the room was rather disappointing. But since we were going to be mostly outdoors, it was ok.

View of the Lake with the hotel from the other side

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lake Moraine

Lake Moraine

A colleague mentioned yesterday that she was going to visit the canadian rockies. And I thought of passing on some tips to the place since we visted it a couple of years back. Generally its easy - I just point people to my blog. But here I noticed that our trip to the Canadian Rockies had completely missed mention on my blog. The reason for not blogging about this trip, I will disclose in due course but for now the next few posts will be on our very wonderful trip to this region.

I will start with some pictures on one of the most scenic lakes in the area - Moraine Lake. Its close to Lake Louise, its bigger and more famous sister lake. A detour of about 15-20 minute drive takes you to this gem colored lake nestled in a valley surrounded by 10 peaks. It was a cloudy, drizzly day when we visited that lake. We could manage only a couple of hikes around the lake - one was to the top of some rock boulders that afforded a high view of the lake and the other was along the lake to the other side. Both were relatively easy hikes and we got plenty of time to amble about lazily and enjoy the views.

Most of the 10 peaks are hidden behind the clouds.

View from the top of the boulders.
There are no touch-ups on this picture - the water looked this blue.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Watery Wednesday: Missing Summit Lake, Alaska

I was flipping through my pictures yesterday and came across this one of Summit Lake in Alaska. It was a bright, warm and pleasant day and we were driving along Richardson Highway. We had driven for a few hours by then, when this sight greeted us. Ah!

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Our eagle's nest in Santa Fe

Part of what made the Santa Fe part of our trip so relaxing and enjoyable was the place we stayed. It was a VRBO (vacation rental by owner) rental recommended to us by our friends B and R.

High up in the mountains with sun soaked decks, vast 180 degree views and abundant windows in the main house where one could sit and enjoy the night sky late into the night, it made for a perfect eagle's nest for us. Nikki was the most gracious owner and we felt right at home.

While Master S and I spent a lot of time on the deck lazing in the sun and rocking in the chairs, not surprisingly Mr. S used his downtime to catch up on work. Phew!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Pointers for Santa Fe

I thought I will jot down some quick pointers for Santa Fe... or rather the high points of our trip to the city.

The Plaza in Santa Fe is where all the action is. Its a lively section of old town - there is a local street side bazaar of the native americans selling their jewelry, a couple of churches, lots of art galleries and handicraft shops, restaurants, jewelry shops, museums etc. Everthing centres around the plaza.

The other notable thing about the town was hanging chilies - they were everywhere. They were being sold in shops and people had them hanging outside their shops and houses.

Then there was this restaurant/shack kind of a place that was definitely serving the best chili sauce in town - it was spicy hot, made our noses water but it was yumm to the last drop. The Shed is definitely a must try for any visitor to Santa Fe.

And right next to it was this other colorful shop with lots of hanging chilies and strands of vegetables but this time they were made of glass. Made a pretty sight for the eyes. It was called the Rainbow Man.