Afternoon tea seems like such a civilized thing and after hearing about a tea house stuck up high on a mountain pass above a glacier filled lake in western Canada, I thought, “Now that’s a place I want to go!” I’m never quite sure what I love more – going places or the days filled with pulling everything together to get there. I think I actually love both. To love the first is invariably short-lived. To love the second, is a life-long quest! The weeks leading up to this trip were spent getting in better shape, organizing packs, fixing old gear and researching new gear.
I had extended a business trip to Edmonton for just enough days to make the drive from Jasper to Banff and squeeze in a hike and a half-day raft trip. Fortunately, my wife and daughter were able to come along and after they spent two days in North America’s largest mall in Edmonton, Alberta while I worked, they were ready to be outdoors. Before we left home we’d spent the dividend check at REI and each outfitted ourselves with a new pair of Oboz. A good hike starts with good boots. I’ve had alot of them over the years and I’m very pleased with my Bridgers!
The Plains of Six Glaciers trail is located in Banff National Park near the tiny town of Lake Louise. Considered a moderately difficult trail, I expected to see just a few hikers but upon arriving at the parking lot, I could see hundreds of people. Armed with selfie sticks and tour bus tickets they wandered along the shore of Lake Louise in front of the Fairmont Chateau enjoying incredible views of the emerald lake and the distant mountains.The trail starts out as a civilized walk on an asphalt path around one side of the lake. The crowd thins considerably however once you reach the upper end of the lake and start the climb into the mountains towards Victoria glacier.
The Plains of Six Glaciers tea house was built in 1926 by Swiss guides working for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a stopover for alpine climbers on the way to Mount Victoria. Peter and Joy Kimball bought the teahouse in 1959 and Joy ran it for 45 years. Her family still runs it. Just 5.5 kilometers and almost 400 meters of elevation gain brings you to this quaint rustic gem where they serve delicious vegetable soup and and amazing chocolate cake. If you go there don’t bring your American Express, bring cash. Only Canadian or American dollars are accepted. After a working up an appetite taking in the magnificent scenery, have a spot of tea and cake. Cheers!