We wake up under a light rain this morning. In no time we are already on the run: it is beginning to rain heavily and we have to unpack everything quickly so it won’t be soaking wet.
Breakfast is due in town, where we find a cozy place – actually one of the only open ones – we sit and we realize we are the only people under the age of 50. Interesting, we enjoy our coffee with some cookies and cake, watching the other clients.
Then it’s time, we say our goodbye to Radium Hot Springs and head towards a new day of hiking and discoveries.
Some switchbacks after, we are able to take the photo of a lifetime, one we were dreaming about since a long time: a logging truck slowly appears from the turn, in the fog, one of that horror movie scenes. Amazing! Another thing seen which we can erase of our endless wish list.
Again in the car. We decided for a quite short hike today, the violent and unpredictable heavy showers don’t allow us for a long one. The Dog Lake hike is just on the road towards Field, our destination.
We get in a lay-by along the Kootenay River and exit at the clearly sign for the trail to the Dog Lake – yep, they do sign trails on the highway exit, you totally don’t have to search for them in some hidden place or narrow street – and we arrive at the beginning of our short hike…right here!
Once we are back, we go directly towards Field visitor center, to take some maps and infos for our next two days.
Along the road we make a lucky and really particular encounter: what does seem to be a wolf, is slowly running along the road, oblivious of the cars. We slow down to better understand what it is and discover, sadly, that it is just a big, lonely coyote – poor him, we have nothing against coyotes, but a wolf would have been a whole different story.
We finally get to Field and we are greet by the always present huge, noisy, red train. It is now raining again and heavily, so we decide to have a hot chocolate – such a watery one, though – while we wait it to stop.
Once we enter the visitor center we are soaking wet and dripping even tough we just had some steps in the rain, and another surprise is waiting for us: we talk with a girl of Parks Canada for at least 10 minutes, about hiking and places we have to see, then she suts up for some seconds and ask us where are we from: she is italian too!
Her name is Heidi, obviously from Trentino, half neo-zelandese and now employed in the utmost governmental authority of Canada. So, we are a bit envious about her!
We go on chatting for about half an hour more while we decide which campground we are going to. In the end we decide for the Kicking Horse Campground.
Before going to the camping, we decide to have a little detour to Emerald Lake, it is actually along our road and we had no time to hike a lot today.
We turn onto Emerald Lake Road and it takes only some turns to arrive at a special sign which makes us curious, the Natural Bridge. We stop in the wide parking lot and have a walk towards the boardwalk, to be speechless: it really is an amazing show. The river which used to jump over the rock spur, over hundreds of years has made a hole in it, at the bottom, leaving the upper part untouched, just a little crevasse has opened, one or two feet wide. Now the water flows violently in the little gap at the bottom, creating vortexes and foam all around its enrance.
It is something hard to explain, a rare show of nature. We stay quite a long time observing it from every direction, enraptured by its constant change and then we decide to go and drive the last kilometers towards Emerald Lake.
Once we get to Emerald Lake, a light rain is still pouring and the still water is rippled by the drops. We stroll around the lakeshore, on the trail which enclose the lake, but it is too long to walk it all without getting soaking wet and soon we turn around and walk again to the Lodge on the little peninsula, with its red canoes.
It is now time to go and set our camp and dinner, we just had a snack today and even if it is quite early, we are pretty hungry.
We get to the camping, pay with the now usual system, take some logs and go search for a place which will fit our tent and tarp.
It is not so easy although, all the better spots are already taken – it is mid june, the weather is bad, but campers don’t care about it and campings are almost full. We decide for one spot that look better than the other, set the tarp on, which will shield us from the violent rain shower during the night and pitch the tent a little too close to the firepit – we will be ansious for the whole time the fire is going! – and we cook an almost disgusting pasta.
Then we relax, we pierce our marshmellows with our sticks, we begin to roast them, and it starts to rain heavily. It is a short shower and we are able to save the fire, but our marhsmellows are not cold and half cooked, gone!
The rain shower has made us finish our dinner too fast and the hot running water in the bathroom has make the dishwashing a fast and easy task. So, there is still light in the sky, we are not so tired, but we have nothing to do.
In seconds the decision is done, Lake Louise we are coming! And we hopefully will avoid the daytime crowd.
Along the road we have a stop at the Spiral Tunnel, an outlook on what once was and still is a milestone in the railway technology:
Big Hill: this steep way just 16 km long with a 330 meters heightdrop, between the narrow valleys of Field and the Continental Divide, the continental watershed, has always been a big challenge to the railway system.
Between 1906 and 1909 a long double spiral tunnel has been planned and carried out, so that the steep way would be longer and easier to climb for the really long canadian trains – we have estimated they are more than a kilometer long, sometimes two.
Still today, one engine is not enough to overcome this steep passage and additionl engines are added to push the train.
We are really surprise when we arrive at Lake Louise: it is 10 PM for a while now and a tourist bus is arriving with us, Yes, a place to avoid at all costs uring daytime.
We are able to enjoy some ten minutes of light and loneliness, then the dark comes over the valley.Lake ouise is really a beautiful place, if not for the ugly building on the shore and the huge crowds who are walking on the boardwalk at daytime. So, a really good walk to digest our dinner.
We head back towards the campground, but surprises are not ended yet: a big bear cross our road just after a turn on the highway.
We drive with extremely caution and so slowly that even the really calm canadian drivers begins to flash at us.
It is really time to go to bed now, it is raining again, but we are already fast asleep. Goodnight everybody!