2015/10: Columbia Icefield - Lake Louise

 

Stage 2015/10 [A032]

Columbia Icefield - Saskatchewan River Crossing - Bow Lake - Lake Louise (Icefield Parkway)
⇨ 81 mi / 130 km
⇧ 1250 m (garmin edge 1000)

 

 

 

 

 

Cycling from Columbia Icefield via Saskatchewan River Crossing to Lake Louise. Icefields Parkway by bicycle.
 
 
Cycling from Columbia Icefield via Saskatchewan River Crossing to Lake Louise.  Icefields Parkway by bicycle.
As yesterday so today: we start early in the morning. The clouds are low, the temperatures are even lower, the Icefield Parkway leads uphill. After about 6 km we reach Sunwapta Pass. According to our Garmin the highest point is about 2050 m, approxiamtely 100 m altimeters above our hotel at the Icefield Center.
 
Cycling from Columbia Icefield via Saskatchewan River Crossing to Lake Louise.  Icefields Parkway by bicycle.
Today it takes even longer for the sun to reach us. Depending on the orientation of the road, we drive through the shadow of the mountain range for a long time. The thick layer of clouds reduce this effect to a minimum: Without sun, there is no shadow.  
 
Cycling from Columbia Icefield via Saskatchewan River Crossing to Lake Louise.  Icefields Parkway by bicycle.
Every now and then it is worth to get off from the bike and enjoy the view. 
 
Cycling from Columbia Icefield via Saskatchewan River Crossing to Lake Louise.  Icefields Parkway by bicycle.
In a long hairpin bend the road winds down to the North Saskatchewan River, which we follow the rest of the morning. The elevation gain of the last day is spend within a short distance: on the next 10 km we lose about 500 altimeters.  
 
Cycling from Columbia Icefield via Saskatchewan River Crossing to Lake Louise.  Icefields Parkway by bicycle.
With the Saskatchewan River Crossing, we reach the absolute lowest point of today's stage: with the crossing of the Howse Rivers at a height of 1380 m in a topographic sense. When buying sandwiches at the junction to David Thompson Highway we reach the lowest point in a culinary way: either sandwiches are balanced with gold here or the owner of the self service restaurant abuses his monopolistic position shamelessly. Be that as it may: it was definitely the most expensive sandwich on the tour. And the worst. For the calculation of the price/performance ratio, given by the formula "infinitely much" divided by "infinitely little", the known number range finds its limits.
 
Cycling from Columbia Icefield via Saskatchewan River Crossing to Lake Louise.  Icefields Parkway by bicycle.
The second part of the day isn´t any less exhausting. From the bridge over the Howse River it goes again up to an altitude of 2050 m. The majority of the climbs is done in two steep sections: 5.8 km with 230 altimeters and 6.0 km with 320 altimeters. Demanding but ridable without any problems.
 
Cycling from Columbia Icefield via Saskatchewan River Crossing to Lake Louise.  Icefields Parkway by bicycle.
The weather means well with us and lets the sun through some rare blue spots in the sky.
 
Cycling from Columbia Icefield via Saskatchewan River Crossing to Lake Louise.  Icefields Parkway by bicycle.
At the top of Peyto Lake we reach the highest point of today's afternoon at an altitude of 2050 m: from now on we descend all the way down to the city of Lake Louise.
 
Cycling from Columbia Icefield via Saskatchewan River Crossing to Lake Louise.  Icefields Parkway by bicycle.
In best weather we drive along Bow Lake. The lake radiates blue in the bright sunlight.
 
Cycling from Columbia Icefield via Saskatchewan River Crossing to Lake Louise.  Icefields Parkway by bicycle.
On the last kilometers the Icefield Parkway presents itself from its most beautiful side. Our last two days were quite demanding and in the early morning hours they were quite cold. Nevertheless, we do not want to miss these stages.
The Icefield Parkway ends 3 km northwest of Lake Louise (the village, not the lake) with a driveway to the Trans-Canada Highway 1. This part of the Trans-Canada Highway can be regarded as a multi-lane urban highway: much Traffic, lots of concrete and even more noise. Fortunately, it is only 2.5 km before we leave the highway and cycle into the city of Lake Louise.
 
Beer of the day:.
Beer of the day: Banff Earthquake Double IPA from the Banff Avenue Brewing Company of Alberta. Sounds like a natural catastrophe and that's how it tastes.