Well, it seems that we have found ourselves in the middle of a ‘once in a 100 year disaster’. The tremendous volume of rain here has become a real problem. A large number of little towns are flooded and so is Calgary. From the pictures on TV, we can see that our car would be underwater if we were still at the hotel in which we stayed in Calgary. The stadium for the Calgary Stampede has been flooded up to the 14th row of seats. People in towns between Banff and Calgary have had forced evacuations from their homes with major disruptions to power, water and sewerage. We went down to the Bow River this morning to see how large it had become. The car park below the Fairmont Hotel wa submerged and the road was closed. However, we were able to get this view from a higher lookout at ‘Surprise Corner’. This is the river that flows through Calgary about 100 kms away.
The highway to Calgary is completely closed with a bridge washed out just 15 kms or so east of Banff. Another 80 kms away to the west, at a town called Golden, the road is closed again. Therefore there are only currently about 100 navigable kilometres of highway open through the Rockies and there is very little traffic on the road.
We decided to test our luck this morning because we found that the landslide which has blocked the Trans Canada Highway near Banff had been cleared enough by this morning for the highway to be opened again, but this only lets us get a further 58 km and as far west as Lake Louise. In fact we visited Lake Louise twice today. When we first arrived, we remembered that we had left our passports in the safe at the hotel back in Banff, so after checking in to our hotel, we had to drive back to Banff to collect them.
Somewhere along the away, we visited a beautiful lake named Moraine Lake. The weather in Lake Louise was much dryer than in Banff, the cloud had lifted and we even had some sunshine.
Now we are staying at the famous Fairmont Hotel at Lake Louse. It is a spectacular location and very expensive. Our room costs a little over $620 per night (plus GST and taxes). It is in a superb location. The service is first class, although after a few days without supplies, they are starting to modify menus and are asking guests not to change their linen and towels every day.
This is our $600 view, looking over Lake Louise and toward the Glacier on Mount Victoria at the end of the lake. It is just stunning and hard to describe in words. We may well have a few days in which to find the right words as it now looks as though we will be stuck here for at least two days. Highway 93 to our next planned destination at Jasper is still closed with multiple land slides and is not expected to be open for at least another 48 hours. Every other road is also closed and the only two places it is now possible for us to be is either here or Banff. We are now deciding which parts of our planned itinerary we will have to omit because of these delays.