It was with great excitement that I was heading to see the beautiful Lake Louise in Alberta Canada. I was told that I needed to do the hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House (www.lakeagnesteahouse.com) above Lake Louise. I drove from my hotel in Canmore, trying to stay off the rumble strips as my eyes kept wandering to the amazing views of the Canadian Rockies.
I pulled into the park and squeezed my car into what was most likely an illegal spot amongst thousands of other tourists and headed down to the lake. A quick walk down a path from the parking lot had me on the edge of Lake Louise and at the base of the Fairmont Hotel (www.fairmont.com/lake-louise). There was a nice leisure walk along the lake but I was given strict instructions that the Tea House was my destination.
Now for those of you who do not know me, I am not outdoorsy. I have found myself walking around REI a handful of times wishing I was an outdoorsy person but oddly, nature is not a natural fit for me. I was teased prior to coming on this trip as I went for a feather duvet over a sleeping bag for my tent experiences.
I found the map with the arrows showing me where to start my ascent. The first few hundred feet I was thinking, wow, hiking is fun, look at me out with nature, maybe I am outdoorsy after all! That feeling stopped about three feet after that when I found myself panting heavily trying to catch my breath. I was confused, I had been working out regularly for months how was it that I was already out of breath? It should have occurred to me but I didn’t realize until someone told me that the altitude was much greater in the Canadian Rockies than it was in Seattle. Of course! Duh!
At one point I decided to take a video of me hiking, I had important things to say…this is all I could muster (sorry for the large video, I can’t figure out how to reduce the size!):
I found myself stepping to the side so that little children could scramble up past me, there were many moments of humiliation but I persevered. By the time I reached the top there were a lot of crying children, some bloody knees (not mine) and plenty of pride having successfully completed the 3.5 km hike, with an elevation gain of 1,300 ft.
What I found to be so interesting about the Teahouse besides the views was that the dry supplies are flown in by helicopter once a year and the other supplies are hiked in by employees on an almost daily basis. Quite admirable particularly having just hiked it myself.
What my take away from this experience was that I know now that I….am still not outdoorsy. If I never do that hike again it will be too soon, however, I am very happy that I completed the climb. The views were gorgeous, and a personal challenge was conquered. I took another few videos that sum up this part of my journey:
The trail before I wanted to cry
Mirror Lake, approximately 2/3 the way to the top
Teahouse at Lake Agnes
View from the Teahouse
View from the top, the Fairmont Hotel can be seen at the bottom left of the pictures, see how small it is?!