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Journal for 14-June-2004 : Lake Louise

Surprisingly sunny morning, we could see the amazing Rocky Mountains that were shrouded in mist yesterday. It was a terribly cold night in the tent. We started a fire in the kitchen boiler.

Our start was delayed by the discovery of Linda's rear tyre being completely flat, and the first replacement tube I installed having a dwarf of a valve stem.

Our start was delayed again by a flurry of sleet.

Finally on the road at 11:00am, making lots of noise today.

Got back to the open section of the road where lots of frustrated RV drivers were still waiting.

Made it down to the kicking horse campground just before another massive sleet storm whited out (more like washed out) everything. It looked and felt like it was snowing, raining and hailing at the same time. And it got really *really* cold. My teeth were chattering and limbs not working properly by the time we were back on the road.

Kicking Horse Pass not all that steep, but went on for a bit. Traffic not that kind to us today. Apparently we were supposed to leap over concrete walls onto railway tracks to make way for RVs.

The lake at Kicking Horse Pass summit reached without many dramas, but the pass wasn't finished with us yet, It started snowing, quite heavily too!

We outran the snow storm, then turned off the highway onto the old road, closed to motorised traffic. Slow going. It should be renamed “the Ice Crack Parkway”.

The “Great Divide” rest area and sign marked the highest point and the border between British Columbia and Alberta provinces. Curiously, the road then went straight up a hill once crossing this summit.

Cycled up to the Lake Louise Lake. Something of a disappointment. We took a postcard photo of the aqua mountain lake and rocky mountain backdrop through the chicken wire fencing off the foreshore construction. And to our left the 9 story (I counted) 2000 room Chalet (not to mention the hundreds of Japanese and English tourists taking happy snaps) suggested this was not quite the pristine wilderness the “Be Bear Aware” signs suggested. And it was busy. There were more people than places for all of them to park. Hadn't these people ever seen an aqua blue mountain lake before?

Major downhill into the town proper, which was very cold and even more of a tourist trap. With our accommodation guides and pamphlets spread across the table, we sat in the bakery watching it snow outside and contemplating our options: a) Camping in the snow, b) declaring bankruptcy.

Cycled to the extra cold campground. This camp ground surrounded by an electric fence to keep the bears out. We were also given a warning about the grid protecting the park's only entrance. “Careful, we've had cyclists try to ride over it, fall throught it and crash.” Then matter-of-factly he added “and *then* they get zapped”. Sure enough, this grid was also electrified.

Met Kiwis Leia and Peter, who we sub-let our camp site to. These guys are hiking around the world! Very impressive.

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