Peak Ex­pe­ri­ence

All aboard the Rocky Moun­taineer for a mem­o­rable jour­ney through Canada.

Australian House & Garden - - Content -

ABri­tish tourist once asked why Lake Louise is so blue and was told by a wag­gish lo­cal that it is drained ev­ery so of­ten and the bot­tom painted. Apocryphal no doubt, but the in­for­mant had a point. The truth be­hind this pic­ture-post­card sight, high in the Cana­dian Rocky Moun­tains, is far more in­trigu­ing. The lake, front and cen­tre at the five-star Fair­mont Chateau Lake Louise, owes its hues to the light-fil­ter­ing ef­fect of ‘rock flour’ – fine silt-sized par­ti­cles ground down by glacial ero­sion, which can be rubbed off rocks picked up from the ground or lake. A shift in the sun turns the turquoise wa­ter to emer­ald.

The lake is only the opener to an un­sur­passed view from the ho­tel. The sparkling 2.5km-long wa­ter­way is en­cased in an arc of ragged, snow-capped peaks.At the far end is a tow­er­ing cliff topped by the sheer edge of a glacier, a plinth of ice which, if you hear the thun­der of bits break­ing away, means you missed the vis­ual spec­ta­cle by min­utes.

Guests young and old take a moun­tain hike up to Mir­ror Lake – so called be­cause moun­tain goats can see their re­flec­tions – to a tea­house over­look­ing Lake Agnes. It’s a climb roughly equiv­a­lent to the height of the Em­pire State Build­ing plus an­other 20 storeys, pass­ing a wa­ter­fall and look­ing out for bears, cougars, ot­ters and wolves on the way. In sum­mer, you can paddle a ca­noe on the lake; win­ter is the time for snow­shoe­ing (walk­ing on snow) in the moon­light.

This is the starter for our jour­ney on the Rocky Moun­taineer train, from the time­less, World Her­itage-listed Banff Na­tional Park to the mod­ern foodie des­ti­na­tion of Van­cou­ver. We are in GoldLeaf Ser­vice class – the most pop­u­lar – en­sconced in a glass-domed car­riage with gen­er­ous seat­ing up­stairs, and an open bar and fine din­ing be­low. The poor souls in Sil­verLeaf must eat in their seats. Such suf­fer­ing! > The Rocky Moun­taineer, one of the world’s great rail jour­neys, gives trav­ellers easy ac­cess to Canada’s iconic land­scapes of snow-capped moun­tains, turquoise lakes and alpine forests. This is the view from Fair­mont Banff Springs Ho­tel.

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