Our biggest decision leaving camp at the Icefields was whether to try to reach Lake Louise in 80 miles of biking or stop at Mosquito Creek Camp in 62. There are a lot of people here. Most have had reservations for months. A few tenting camps have a first come first serve policy. Those were our best options. Lake Louise town is out of the Park, so without a rez it would be risky counting on accommodation just biking in. We stopped at Mosquito camp and found it full. Now what. A few meters down the road there was a wilderness hostel. Two beds left. Yes.
We met a young Frenchman who is biking across Canada. His quandary was deciding on a route beyond Thunder Bay. He had heard about the truck traffic along the North Shore. Also that there are no shoulders on much of the highway. We gave him our phone numbers to call if he still needed route advice when he arrived. Having ridden that section last summer as well as the South Shore in US, I have a few suggestions.
A middle-aged woman spoke with us at breakfast. She could remember sections of the Icefields in the sixties lying right next to the roadway. As with most of the world’s remaining glaciers, these are rapidly disappearing. Her occupation in Calgary was as a private courier delivering documents for companies around town. Like the glaciers, her work was receding rapidly, not because of a warming climate, but due to paper being replaced by computer communications in business affairs.
When we did reach Lake Louise we found a town bustling with crowds. Truly an international destination, smatterings of different languages assailed our senses from all sides as we sat on a bench in front of the Info Centre. A two mile steep bike climb brought us to the Lake. Initially difficult to even see it through the crowd, our efforts eventually led to the stunning panorama that is Lake Louise. More than worth the climb.
Tonight finds Brian and I in a well laid out Hostel in Banff. Again, there were only a few spots left upon arrival at two. A 1200 site campground outside of town was completely full. The other campground further out was also full. Forget even trying for a hotel/motel without prior reservations.
Tomorrow all that will change as we start our ride south on trails and gravel roads on the Divide.