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A veteran journalist's take on such diverse subjects as religion and religious violence, democracy, freedom of expression, sociology, journalism, criticism, travel, philosophy, Southeast Asia, politics,economics, and even parenthood, the supernatural, film criticism, and cooking. Please don't hesitate to participate by starting a comment thread if you have an interest in any of these subjects...or anything else, for that matter... p.write@gmail.com

One place to see before you die

I wrote this one as a fill-piece for atravel magazine. The published version used some stock photos, but the ones I’ve posted are some that Yolanda and I took when we were there in July this year.
The jewel in the crown of Canada’s parks
Patrick Guntensperger
Banff, Alberta, Canada
Lake Louise in a misty rain

One’s first glimpse of Lake Louise will never be forgotten. The lake, in some ways, is an ordinary, rather small lake in the high Rockies of Canada’s Alberta Province. On the other hand, Lake Louise is blessed with an architecture that stuns; itis situated in a way that the natural approach frames it so perfectly between snowy mountain peaks and under a glacier that the composition of the view inevitably causes visitors to comment that it looks so perfect as to be artificial. That, combined with the utterly unique milky greenish colour of the pristine water, makes that spot the subject of countless postcards, paintings and snapshots by tourists from every corner of the globe. The colour of the water is the result of the relentless grinding of the surrounding glaciers and ice fields against the towering mountains, resulting in silt comprised of microscopic mineral particles, each type of which reflects sunlight at a different wavelength. The particular mineral composition of this area of theRockies produces the startling and unique colour of the region’s lakes and rivers, as well as their propensity to take on different colours depending upon the weather.

The lesser known but equally sublime
Lake Moraine

 

The entire area, including the lesser known but equally sublime nearby Moraine Lake, has a quality of presenting a different face to visitors with each subtle shift inthe weather; the water changes colour, the temperament of the lakes, rivers,mountains, and forests changes with the changing seasons and even the encroachment of clouds or misty rain. The Lake Louise area is the crown jewelof Canada’s Banff National Park, part of a larger designated world heritage site.
Elk from the road through Banff

Banff is alittle more than an hour west of Calgary, Alberta’s home to one of the world’s largest annual rodeos, the Calgary Stampede, and accessible by a very modern highway. The drive from the Albertan capital is only about an hour and a half and sees the landscape change from the dry prairies to the foothills and into the high Rockies.

The town of LakeLouise is well-marked and has hotels and campgrounds, all of which give a real sense of the rugged country and vary from bare bones to ultra-luxurious 5 star accommodations. In the town you can book wilderness excursions, helicopter flights, back-country treks, eco tours…pretty much anything you can think of.
Into the high mountains on horseback
Me and Yolanda in the thin, high-altitude
July air high above Lake Louise














A trip to Lake Louise and Banff is an absolute must for any visit to Canada.
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