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Kelowna/Jasper/Banff/Glacier Trip

Day 10 of 17

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Sunday, July 26th
Laundry day, Moraine Lake hike

We woke up to overcast skies. After breakfast I started to drive out of camp but then realized we had left our rain jackets in camp. I returned for them, and it started to sprinkle. As we drove out of the campground, we saw a long line of cars and RVs waiting to check in. Since it was a Sunday, lots of weekend visitors were checking out, but there was no shortage of campers to replace them. The campground would be full again by the evening.

Today was laundry day, so I was planning on doing a hike near Banff and then finding a laundromat in Banff. As we drove south along the highway toward Banff, it started to rain more. Originally we were thinking of doing a hike at Sunshine Meadows. Unfortunately you have to take a shuttle bus from the parking lot to the top (the ski lift doesn't operate during the summer), and it looked like we were going to miss the next bus (they leave approximately every hour). Plus, it was still raining. So we decided we'd try for a shorter hike, at Mt. Norquay to Stoney Squaw Lookout.

Stoney Squaw Lookout trailhead

Stoney Squaw Lookout trail

While it was still overcast, the rain had stopped as we prepped in the parking lot. We were hoping against hope that it would stay that way. A few other hikers also went up the trail, either hoping it wouldn't rain, or not minding that possibility. We started up the trail, which climbs gently through a dense forest. But then it started to sprinkle again. And then it started to rain. A little at first, but getting worse and worse. Eventually, we decided to turn around. In total we ended up hiking about 0.6 miles to and from the trailhead, with 250 feet of climbing. As we reached our car, we started to hear thunder.

We dried off in the car and ate our lunch, then went into town to do our laundry. We used the Cascade Coin laundry, which is connected to a shopping mall. I'm not sure if it's the only laundromat in town, but it might be; in any case it was very busy. Lots of other campers and backpackers were using it, as well. They have reduced hours on Sunday, so if you plan on using them, keep that in mind.

After doing our laundry, we stopped by the Safeway in town for some supplies. By this time the rain was starting to subside, so we decided to try for a short hike. We drove back to the Lake Louise area and then did a very short hike at Moraine Lake.

I thought the rain was over, but it rained a little more on our drive back to Lake Louise village. We picked up some ice and then went back to camp. It was sunny back at our camp. The ground was wet, but everything else seemed otherwise fine. We did notice that someone had taken the ashes out of our campfire pit. I'm guessing that someone comes by to make sure that anyone with ashes had a campfire permit.

Our camp site at Lake Louise Campground

After dinner we took a walk down to the Bow River, which flows next to the campground. We walked past the electrified fences. There are yellow safety bars you can use to open gates in the fence. The Bow River is much smaller and tamer than the Athabasca River. We walked north along the shore, then crossed a bridge over to the other side, where we found a nice beach to enjoy the river. There are interpretive signs describing the plants and animals on either side of the river.

Electrified fence at the campground

The electrified fence goes on and on

Bow River

Bow River

After enjoying the beach, we started walking back to our camp. I noticed the unmistakable glow of a nice sunset, but it was miles north of us. Despite the clearing storm, the sky above us was uneventful at sunset.

After our walk, we had a campfire and then went to sleep, hoping it wouldn't rain the next day.

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