Saturday, September 29, 2007

Lake Louise arrival by bike

After a night at Mosquito Creek hostel, my bike is frosted with a night's worth of snow and the water bottle is solid ice. Michelle reports that while the Icefields Parkway is bare, the shoulder ~ where we'll be riding ~ is snowy with slippery sections. We tuck in, linger, and let the sun warm and push snow clumps off trees and by noon, we figure the twenty-five kilometres into Lake Louise are safe. Better than safe, they are gloriously downhill. We ride the shoulder but discover that when the bikes pick up speed, regularly-spaced lateral cracks in the pavement bump and throw the bike's wheels as if we were coasting on railway tracks.

We coast into the village of Lake Louise at a relaxed pace and aim for the Lake Louise Alpine Centre hostel. The hostel is pure pine lodge clubhouse ~ with big, raw, hand-joined beams; a vaulted ceiling; fireplaces in common rooms; and vintage details such as archival photos, a mountaineering library and furniture made entirely of twigs.

The hostel seems luxurious with simple amen ties: electricity, hot water and an on-site cafe. A quick turn around the "village" (two gas stations, a sports shop, a post office, a bakery, a market, a liquor store and about four souvenir shops) tells us we can either eat posh, or eat pub food at post prices. We return to the hostel for pub-priced pub food.

At the cafe, we get chatting with a couple who will be attending a veterinarian conference tomorrow. "It's minor, really," he says, "You gather twenty-five people in a meeting room and order sandwiches, and they call it a 'conference'". They tell us they'd like to try biking with their four-month-old. He's a chubby, sturdy fellow and I agree that a bit of time on the bike would give him a thrill. View photos.