The idea for today is to get up early at 04:50 and to return to the Vermillion Lakes of yesterday evening, as sunrise can be excellent here. Reason for this is that this one of the few places where sunrise above the prairy is not obstructed by mountains. When I wake up it is pooring rain and I decide to take some more sleep as photographing rain is not on my wish list in particular.
Later it stops raining but I am feeling really tired. This has most probably something todo with the timeshift of yesterday. In hindsight I could have gone to the lakes after all, to look for animals in the twilight, but I let it go. Now the sky is a heavy overcast blanket, hanging very low. There is no point in going out as there is no mountain to see. Everything is covered in cloud and fog.
I follow the Bow Valley Parkway to Johnston Canyon. The path through the canyon is easy to follow and a bit climbing. There are some nice views on the stream below from wooden walkways and to the side from the path. Here the stream disappears in a waterfall on the right side of the photo.
The stone in the middle of the stream with dynamic water patterns.
I decide to drive straight through Kootenay National Park to Radium Hot Springs. I really like the word Radium as it seems to express something dynamic and ‘dreamy’ to me. On the road, I am suddenly surprised by a solitary moose wandering near the road. I look several times behind to study it but have to continue as there is no place to stop.
The first stop is at Numa Falls, a violent rock slicing stream.
A vertical composition provides a more tunnel like view.
Intimate rock details at one of the side walls of the stream.
Water grinding and polishing the rock wall.
A little later I see my first black bear very close to the road. This is totally unexpected as it is around noon. Most animals would retreat during twilight or else early morning at least. Both camera’s are in the back of the car and not configured for ‘moving’ animal photography. I am not sure whether or not it is allowed to stop on this road as it is marked as a highway. There is no shoulder and cars and trucks are driving really fast here, probably bored by all this nature here.
Soon after that, I see a deer walking along the road. Driving further I feel a growing temptation to turn the car around and shoot some photographs. There are so many animals wandering around here. I must try to photograph a couple of them. You are never sure whether this has something to do with weather or other circumstances or that animals are simply abundant here. How many more animals am I going to see during this trip? Better to use the opportunity than to wait.
A few kilometers further down the road there is a turn-off. I stop here to first configure one of the camera’s for wildlife photography with the longest lens I am carrying. I turn back to the spot where I saw the deer before, but he (or she for that matter) is gone.
Wild Animal World
I turn the car and continue, all senses tuned into wandering animals. Soon after, I discover my second black bear. This time it is really close to the road and there are already other cars parked close to it. I decide to copycat, and park the car in the middle of the road. This is the first time I really have a close view on a wild black bear, only a few meters away. Circumstances for photography are far from perfect and I stick to watching it. After a while I continue, quite happy encountering all these ‘wild things’.
A short while after that I spot the first mountain goat. This particular one is standing on the other side of the road and makes a perfect subject to isolate with a long lens.
Later, I discover that everybody simply dumps the car on the side of the road, if there is something to see. Most people here are tourists so it is expected in general that people want to see things. Park rangers do it as well and seem to understand the behaviour. As soon as I understand this, I start doing it as well, because it is simply required for proper animal photography. You can miss so many good photographs because there are many animals around here and so few places to really park your car.
After entering the town of Radium Hot Springs, I turn back almost immediately. The Radium surroundings are not particularly interesting and I want to be in Lake Louise before night fall. On the way back, I take a hike to The Paint Pots, a special place with small yellow lakes discovered and used by Indians as a base for making paint.
The Paint Pots are pools with a very saturated yellow color.
And another one.
Close to Lake Louise, I find some ground squirls hopping around. As soon as I stop the car, they all run to the safety of their homes and hide, except for one.
Chateau Lake Louise and Herbert Lake
Sometimes you just have to do something absurd and this is the time. I take a room in the worldfamous chateau on the edge of Lake Louise, to stay a night in 5-star style. The mission statement of this hotel is “Turning moments into memories for our guests”. One would indeed expect some kind of miracle for the 274 dollars I pay here for the most simple room, not facing the lake. It is kind of special though.
Magnificent view on Lake Louise from one of the chateau windows.
An impression of the style of the hotel
Beautiful Herbert Lake
In the evening, I take the car to Herbert Lake, where sometimes nice mountain reflections can be seen. This time it is all fog, but I take some photographs however.
The red lighted tree trunks come out nicely between the lush green trees and I do keep wondering what is just behind the corner overthere, in the back…
There is still some warmish light on the left side, providing a nice color contrast with the right side.
I talk a bit with another photographer and he shows me awesome closeups of Grizzly bears he has taken today at Bow Lake. He tells me the Grizzlies seem to be there all day and are very easy to approach. In winter they get worms and in spring they eat dandelions to kill the worms.
From Herbert Lake I return straight to the chateau for a high class beauty sleep (-;
Maps, Charts & Downloads
GPS Map with color coded altitude information
Color coded distance/altitude chart
Download the original gpx file here.