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We are in the right house, I’ll tell you that. I naturally awoke at 5:30am (regular trail wake up) and heard John (medical intern staying at the house) getting ready for work. Soon after I heard Kane (CDT mountain biker) and E moving around. Everyone was up and moving around by 6:15am. We were fed and on our way to sightsee by 7:20am. Leslie is our host for this zero and her trailname is Tour Guide. She showed why loud and clear this morning. We were in Banff and Lake Louise is about 45mins away. Leslie took me, E, and Kane sightseeing to see Lake Louise and neighboring Lake Moraine. It’s a Friday and sure to get packed, so we got an early start to beat the crowds. Leslie knew exactly where to go and when and hit the sights one right after another. First up was Lake Moraine.

I was glad we got to Lake Moraine early. As we were walking down the short access trail, bus loads were headed up. Perfect timing! Next up was the second most photographed spot in Canada (Niagra Falls is #1), Lake Louise. My middle name is Louise, so I was looking forward to seeing it. Surprisingly, I liked Lake Moraine more, BUT there is a hike up from Lake Louise that sounds pretty cool with tea houses another lake and a glacier that I think I would have liked if I had the time. The lake was much bigger than Moraine and there was a massive luxury hotel right on the lake…maybe that’s why I didn’t like it as much as Moraine, but I do think it’s pretty great that it’s been made easily accessible and inviting for people to experience such grandness in nature.

Here is the view from the courtyard of the hotel and from the arched windows in the hotel. Fan-cy…In the winter, Leslie says you can ice skate on the lake and that they have a snow castle and stuff. Pretty cool! She says she still comes up early in the morning for runs and can get emotional to see such a sight. She LOVES living out here!

On the way back to Banff, we pulled over to see the Bow River along the train tracks. There is an option at the end of our upcoming leg to walk the tracks or walk the highway…we have yet to decide. The tracks seem more of an “experience” but it also sounds like it could be a harrowing experience because the trains come by fairly often…

Then we went to a viewpoint overlooking Banff. It’s small and surrounded by mountains. Leslie says it has pretty much hit it’s max in residents. It is like a little village, but much busier in the summer months. If didn’t feel overwhelming and I expected it to be worse than it was with congestion. Leslie and Keith live just a mile from downtown and it’s quiet and peaceful with mountains all around. This is the view of Mt. Cascade from Leslie and Keith’s living room. There are views of mountains all around the house. Yeah, Banff is definitely a scenic place to live!

For lunch, we had a special guest over…the author of the Great Divide Guidebook, Hiking Canada’s Great Divide Trail, Dustin Lynx! It was an honor to have him over for lunch and pick his brain a bit on how he made the guidebook and some of his thoughts about the trail. A soft spoken man that I wish we had more time with, that’s for sure. It has really been great to meet so many tied to this trail as we are hiking it. The guidebook was made in 2000 and updated in 2007 and is still very applicable. It’s great to have met Dustin since it is his words describing the twists and turns of the trail to us as we hike. Now I have the voice to hear as I read those words and either curse or thank him…usually thank him:) 

Dustin went to college in Calgary just to be near the trail and spent 5yrs hiking it and writing the guidebook before it came out. Now, he’s happy for the next generation to take it wherever it shall lead. Dustin still seeks out those remote places alone with the wilderness and it was inspiring to hear some of the things he’s done and has planned. Really, a great experience. THANK YOU for taking the time to meet us Dustin!

For dinner, we headed to the main strip, which is only a mile or less long, and had dinner. Here is downtown with Mt Cascade in the background.

Kane, Leslie, E, Keith, me.

 Final photo of the day is of the diagonal crosswalks. I’m such a fan…it’s all about efficiency!

Tomorrow, we have a very relaxed leave time with a short hike to a reserved campground. Once again, weather is NOT looking clear at all…we are just hoping our luck continues. We don’t mind the rain, but we still want the views. I actually have loved having the clouds and cooler weather. Fingers crossed that it stays clear enough to see everything. We are getting more remote as we head north, so it may be full legs before I can post blog posts, but they will get out as soon as I can get the service. I have a slideshow from this past section to keep everyone entertained during the interim in the next post.

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