During this past winter of staying home, I looked forward to a spring getaway with my husband Will and our son Matt. With travel outside of Canada and our province of Alberta restricted this month, we booked a four-night stay in Canmore, an hour a half drive from our Calgary home and just outside the entrance to Banff National Park.
Easter Monday, we drove directly to Banff and ate our turkey sandwiches on a bench by the Bow River. Despite the sunshine, a breeze made the 3 degrees Celsius (37.4 F) temperature cool for sitting out. We soon warmed up on our hike up Tunnel Mountain. Sections of mud and ice typical of early spring made us glad we’d brought our cleats. At the top, we rested on Muskoka chairs half buried in snow and enjoyed the panoramic views of Banff.
Day two of our trip was sunny and warmer. Will and Matt went skiing at Lake Louise, while I spent a summer-like day in Canmore. In the morning, I checked out the local stores and bought a salad and bread for our lasagna dinner. My afternoon walk followed part of the town’s extensive trail network. The rest of the day I read on our balcony, looking out at the Three Sisters and HaLing mountain peaks. Will and Matt had a perfect ski day — sunny, warm, uncrowded, fresh snow from a weekend snowfall. I didn’t envy them, since I’d preferred my lazy time.
Balcony view from our AirBnb apartment
Lake Louise ski hill
The weather turned cooler on our third day and cloud mingled with sun. We stayed close to Canmore and hiked up to Grassi Lakes, an icy trail we couldn’t have managed without cleats. At the top, we were surprised and pleased to find the ice on the lakes had melted to reveal their clear, green colour. After lunch, we walked the riverside portion of the trail I’d done the previous day and continued farther. We talked about returning later this spring with our bikes to explore the whole Canmore pathway network.
Former railway bridge on Canmore path – Will didn’t hold the camera straight
Rain blew in that evening and we woke up to a snow-draped town. Matt’s weather app forecast a relatively nice day at Lake Louise with only 17 percent chance of snow. We drove west. As we approached the village of Lake Louise, we hit steady snow and low cloud that made the mountains almost invisible. Hoping the sky would clear later, we opted for a morning hike through a wooded area. The snow continued, but we drove up to the famous lake anyway. Everything was so white, we could hardly tell where the lake ended and the mountains began. We gave up on a viewpoint hike and walked along the lakeshore. When we returned, blue sky started to appear and we left the lake in sunshine.
Winter conditions at Lake Louise, summer on our Canmore balcony, in-between temperatures the rest of the time. That’s spring in Alberta.
Lake Louise village trail
Will and Matt on our Canmore balcony