Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Day in the Life of the Magic Campers

Thought maybe you would enjoy following us through a non-travel day to see what FUN we have! It will give you the opportunity to see a little of Magic and our views along the way.

Today - Tuesday, September 15 - we have set up the following ‘rough’ schedule:

8:00 Leave Magic for Lake Louise

9:00 Board the tram at Lake Louise to see grizzlies

10:00 Brunch at Lake Louise

11:30 Arrive at Lake Johnson to hike and eat lunch along the way

3:00 Arrive at Banff gondola

5:00 Return from gondola ride and investigate Banff Hotel - decide from here what to do about dinner - eat at Hotel or return to Magic??

So - this is how the day went:

Camp Counselor Gary got up at 5:30, as it takes him a little longer than camper Elizabeth to get going! I get my ‘chai latte wake up cup’ in bed at 7. By 7:15 the bed is made -

Bed made - check

and by 7:30 we are showered (using that LARGE shower that Gary had to have) and eating breakfast. Since the day calls for lunch on the trail, PB&J sandwiches are made and the ‘lunch box’ packed.

PB&J made in our kitchen - check

This morning we get a little delayed, as we remember that Gary needs to get a few more things done with the pictures for the blog posting of the last couple of days that we hope to get done later today - so he spends a few minutes at the computer in our office/living room.

Pictures ready for blog post - check

It is about 8:30 by the time we actually get out the door. But, that is OK - we are only a little off schedule - can make up 30 minutes easily throughout the day. Just as we pull out of the campgrounds we have our first sighting of the day - a beautiful, BIG elk buck is ‘posing’ by the side of the road for us as he eats his breakfast!! A GREAT start to the day.

Elk buck sighting - check

Well - it is now about 10 and we are finally ready to board the gondola at Lake Louise. So, off to the top of Mt. Whitehorn over grizzly country, to the Wildlife Interpretive Centre and beautiful views of Lake Louise, Victoria Glacier and the Lake Louise Fairmont Chateau. And what views they were -

Lake Louise & Victoria Glacier from top of gondola - check

History lesson - Lake Louise is a glacial lake fed from the Victoria Glacier, which is named for Queen Victoria. Lake Louise is named for Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, daughter of Queen Victoria, and is 5,680 feet above sea level. The lake is a striking turquoise color, which is created from the melting glacier silt. All very fascinating and beautiful!

With all there was to take in atop the mountain, it was 11:30 before we returned to the bottom (by the way - NO grizzly sightings!). After seeing the Lake and Chateau from the top of the mountain, we decided we needed to investigate a little closer up - and maybe have lunch there. In case you are looking at our schedule for the day and wondering how we were going to get back on track - forget about it! We have done as we do many of these days - modify, modify, modify - because we can! So - off to the Chateau for lunch, a walk around the hotel and the lake and a few more pictures.

Eat lunch with a great view of Lake Louise - check

Oh yes - one other thing happened at the Chateau during lunch. We discovered that Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra were performing tonight at the Banff Centre (their performing arts center) and thought we would try for tickets - even though we were at the last minute. I put on my most friendly face once again and begged the concierge at the hotel to call for us (remember no cell service/no internet!) - she did and got us second row!! We were soooooo excited - BUT, now we had a real schedule to keep. Had to be back to Magic to eat and clean up for the performance by 6. So - on our way.

We were back in the car around 1 and decided that we needed to drive to another lake we heard about at the Interpretive Centre - Moraine Lake. This lake is in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, surrounded by ten mountains, which house the Wenkchemna Glacier and also include Mount Temple, which is the third highest mountain in Banff National Park. Sorry - but no pictures from here as Gary did not think the lighting was right. We did however have $5 ice cream cones!!

It is now 2 and we were back in the car on our way to Lake Johnson. It is decision time - to hike or not to hike - as we would like to go through town to the Starbucks and get yesterday’s write-up posted on the blog before we have to be back to Magic to get ready for the show. We take the scenic drive back to Banff and wave at Lake Johnson as we drive by. That hike will have to be saved for perhaps next year on our way to Alaska. (For those who have not heard - we are already planning our trip for next summer/fall which will be to Alaska through Canada.)

We cruised into the Starbucks around 3 and spent about an hour and a half getting the posting done. This might seem like a long time for a techie like Gary - but this is how this process goes on the road: I have already written the narrative at home and just have to copy and paste onto the blog and Gary has the pictures all ready to transfer. We have finally learned this second time around that it is easier for Gary to move the pictures first. If we are lucky he only gets ‘kicked off’ the internet once or twice in the process. Then I move the narrative - a section at a time (around the pictures) - if I am lucky only getting ‘kicked off’ the internet after each paste!! Then when we have both looked at it one more time - all complete - we hit the “POST” button. At this point we receive the last notice - ‘can’t post as not on internet’! I throw up my hands, bang on the table and Gary gets back on the internet ONE MORE TIME! Finally it gets posted - we smile at our accomplishment and give the Starbucks back to the rest of the clientele.

At 5:30 we are hurrying back to camp to fix dinner, eat and change. With all of this accomplished, we are back in the car at 6:45 on our way back into town (all of 15 minutes) for a fantastic evening with Wynton Marsalis and his Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra. They were awesome (as were our seats)!! There were 15 performers on the stage playing as one with incredible coordinated effort. Gary and I both tried to think of how to communicate to you their rapport with each other and could think of NO way to describe it other than we were mesmerized by them, their musical talent and their ability to communicate with each other via hand signs and head nods (there was no conductor and Wynton sat in the back with the other trumpet players - three trombone players in front of them - five woodwind players in the front - a bass, piano and drummer off to the side). Clearly they have all played together for so long they no exactly what each of them will do - even when they are doing their ‘jam’ portions. Just Awesome! They even kept Gary up past 11!!

SO - that is a day in our travel life. As you can see, impromptu and spontaneous are two words that are a definite part of our travels - even though we start with a plan.

In case you are wondering what happened to the Banff Gondola and Hotel - it was visited on Wednesday and you will get that report shortly -

Bye for now - Elizabeth and Gary

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