After our great hike on the Ice Line trail, we spent a nice Sunday attending church in Banff, and the people there were nice enough to let us stay for as long as we wanted after the services were over to use the Internet to catch up on e-mail and to do some other business. They told us to just turn out the lights and make sure the door was closed when we left. This was a good thing too, because we heard at church that a really big snowstorm was on its way Monday, and we did not want to be camping through that storm. So, I worked to find us an affordable hotel room for a couple of days to wait out the storm. And, Good Thing! The storm was "historical" nothing seen like it since the mid 1800's, they said. It put about 8 inches of snow on the ground, and we sat cozy for a couple of days in Canmore, doing laundry and relaxing.
When the storm was done we went out again to see the beauty. On our way to Jasper, we stopped at Johnston Canyon and hiked in a light snowfall through a lovely slot canyon. Fairy Snowmen were seen at benches along the way.
Then we proceeded to Jasper, where we had found last minute lodging in some "we have a room to rent" homes. They were great. Yes, we didn't camp in Jasper b/c it was just too cold! Jasper is a lovely small town and we enjoyed the stay there. The highlight was our hike to Mt Edith Cavell. When we started on our hike that morning it was 21 degrees!
There was snow on the ground from the storm that had passed through, and it made the trail icy and slippery, but Sue, the Everprepared, had remembered to bring our YakTraks
and we had no problems climbing to the summit of the "meadow" under the shadow of the FIVE THOUSAND FOOT VERTICAL RISE OF THE MOUNTAIN WALL. Yep, it was really cool. This however, was no meadow. it was a very steep hill above treeline…at one point I felt like I was climbing up a snow route in the Andes! But, it was all very worth it. Mt Edith Cavell towers above the Angel Glacier, which hovers above Cavell Pond, a glacial lake. The face of the mountain was so steep that as the morning sun warmed the rock the accumulated snow began to sluff off in myriad places, creating "snow fall" all over the face of the mountain. I'd never seen that before and it was magical. We met some nice folks from New Hampshire, and loaned them our spare pairs of YakTraks. By the time we were done with the hike the temperature had risen to a balmy 42 degrees, twice that of when we started. It was a marvelous hike.
The next day we left Jasper planning to stop at Parker Ridge for a hike to a glacier overlook, but while I was napping in the car Sue made a command decision to skip the hike and head straight to Moraine Lake, near where we camped at Lake Louise. It was snowing lightly when we got there, but our goal was to rent a canoe and paddle the lake for a while. At first I thought this would be dumb…paddling a canoe on a lake in the snow…big deal. Well, I was WRONG. It was, and I'm overusing this term, magical. Moraine Lake is the most enchanting shade of blue. The snow was falling lightly, the water was smooth as a mirror, it was almost perfectly quiet. Finally it came to me, and I told Sue, "this is like floating on the sky". And it was. This was really a trip highlight for me.
So then we touched down back to earth, and headed for Calgary. While we were hiding from the storm in Canmore, Sue posted something on Facebook about us being in Canada, and Kate's church Young Women leader in VA (Janaya Rampton) wrote back that her parents live in Calgary and that if we were anywhere near there we should go and stay with them. We both kind of hesitated at that, but soon Winona Shepard (the Mom) wrote to Sue with the most sincere invitation that we simply couldn't resist. So, we met Winona and her husband Leigh at a cooking demonstration class (it was their planned date-night activity) in Calgary and struck an instant friendship. We enjoyed the class together and the talking afterwards (until Sue was falling asleep at the kitchen table). Then, as a sendoff in the morning, Leigh, a gourmet cook himself, treated us to eggs benedict for breakfast! The best I've ever had. What a wonderful thing to have made such instant friends with the gospel and families in common. I can't wait to get back to Calgary to visit them again. Thanks Winona and Leigh!