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Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, AB Canada

The shuttle system in Lake Louise is easy to follow; we even get a free shuttle from our campground (Lake Louise) to the park and ride. I am so glad I made the reservation back in March. Since you are allowed two vehicles on the site, Sandara can join me.

Wow, the number of people at Lake Louise is unbelievable. I am noticing that the more time I spend alone in nature, the harder it is for me to be with a large amount of people. I am sorry, but that is a bit too much for me. It surprises me because I am a social creature and love people. Then a happy thought comes to mind - this is what world peace looks like. What wishful thinking!

It is a gloomy day, but at least no rain. The skies are heavy in gray color, and still, the lifeless color can't take away from the incredible beauty of Lake Louise. It's no wonder everyone wants to see and experience this place!

Sandra and I start to hike, or should I say climb, to the Lake Agnes Tea House. We pass Mirror Lake and have a view of Beehive Mountain. We sit to relax at the foot of Lake Agnes but choose to skip the long line for a cup of tea. We continue hiking until we get to the junctions, where we split. Sandara is returning to relax at Lake Louise, and I am continuing my climb up to the Plain of Six Glaciers.

It is not an easy climb, but I take my time. There are pockets of solitude on the trail, and my inner battery is recharging! The trail goes through the woods until it opens in sharp contrast to the mountain range's open view. The melting of the glacier water is again a welcome sound to my ears.

I am still climbing, still going up in elevations, but I don't mind the view melting away any hardship. I know it will be a challenging hike, so I am pacing myself accordingly. I get to the second teahouse (Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse) around lunchtime. Thankfully here, there isn't a line at all. I ordered the "Arlington Barlo spiced chocolate with coffee" I feel I need the extra boost for the last half mile of this hike. I also get the chocolate loaf, the "local favorite," to share later with Sandra.

The last half of the mile up to the viewpoint of Plain of Six Glaciers is tough; no wonder most people choose to turn around at the tea house! I stopped to take a break and catch my breath when two young ladies complimented my pants. Yes, a conversation started. Bailey and Madison are from Nashville. We stand there for about twenty minutes talking about life and how wonderful Nashville is. For not being a city girl, I did fall in love with Nashville when I visited back in October. There is fun and vibrant energy there. I love that moment of joy I share with beautiful strangers; there is a special connection. Even though it is just for a short moment, it is still delightful.

That was a much-needed break; I still have more to climb. The view at the top is worth the strenuous climb. This is another image that I will cherish in my mind for many years. No photograph can do justice to this image.

If the up was challenging, you can imagine how difficult going down is. I extend my hiking poles to give me a better grip on the ground. My knees don't like it, but thankfully, I do wear my knee brace. Yes, I am aware that my joints don't appreciate my love for hiking, but for now, I keep going.

The trail back to Lake Louise takes me to the river's edge. The color of the water feels dirty and muddy. It is hard to comprehend that this flowing glacier water is responsible for such stunning color. As I get to Lake Louise, I witness the love story between a muddy river and an innocent lake. Wow, this is an experience!

Ok, I am done hiking for today; twelve miles will get me a good night's sleep.

It is raining on and off through the night, the sounds of thunder visit briefly. I love being cozy in my cocoon, listening to the raindrops. Knowing I have the comfort of shelter in Sandra's van if I need to take away the worries of how to deal with the rain when the morning comes, is very helpful.

Good morning! Still, no sun to welcome the day. The rain stops for now, but the forecast shows rain later in the day. We are on our way to Moraine Lake. Getting the tickets to the shuttle ahead of time is almost a must if you want to ensure a spot. Knowing when the window for reservation opens for the Canada National Park system is essential when you make a reservation. I had to make my reservation back in mid-March.

Unfortunately, my picture cannot capture the beauty around us. The heavy clouds are too low, and there is a slight haze on top of it. My glasses are clean, but they feel like they need a cleaning to wipe off the murky air. We are hiking to Larch Valley. Of course, it is in the up direction. We are in no hurry; life is good at a slow pace. In the first part of the hike, we hike among the trees until we enter Larch Valley and have a view between the clouds of Valley of the Ten Peaks (The Valley of the Ten Peaks is a group of 10 mountains located on the continental divide rising above Moraine Lake). Nature is beautiful in all kinds of weather! Even though we don't have the sun to shine on the mountains, they're still spectacular in color and texture.

We are lying on the soft grass enjoying the landscape around us, when raindrops fall on our faces. We hurry up to put on our rain gear. Well, my rain jacket failed the test. By the time we get down to Moraine Lake, we are both soaked (I am happy to report my rain pants passed the test). We are tired and wet, but one more push to the viewpoint of Moraine Lake is worth the nagging pain in my body.

We return to our campsite to dry off in Sandra's van. Again, I am grateful for the shelter that prevents me from dealing with the challenges of living in my car during harsh weather.

We relax with a cup of hot tea, discussing politics and trying to solve the world's problems.

Soon is happy hour at Sandras's van. She makes the best gin and tonic! :)

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