After we visited Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, we continued northwest through Banff National Park towards Jasper. Along the way we not only saw a bunch more beautiful mountains covered in snow, but we also spotted our first bear of the trip! And it was a grizzly!
Much to Antoine's dismay, the grizzly bear was a quite a ways away from the road. But I was actually pretty relieved by this! I was pretty nervous about seeing bears on our trip, a little paranoid even, so I was thankful that all the bears we saw were from a safe distance or from out car. And I don't care how far away it was, it was still pretty awesome!
After we spotted the bear we made a stop to check out Peyto Lake. Unfortunately, the drive to the upper parking lot, which led directly to the view of the lake was closed because it was covered in several feet of snow. We got to the very small lower parking lot and realized we couldn't find the hiking trail right away because it was covered in snow. In some places it was a couple feet deep! But we saw that there were people still braving it and making there way up the path to Peyto Lake, so we figured why not give it a try...we had hiking boots, unlike some people we saw who were wearing tennis shoes or flats!
We did not anticipate that the path would be almost entirely uphill (at an altitude we were not used to) and almost completely covered in snow or ice the whole way up. I don't know exactly how long the path was, but I can say that it easily felt like 7+ miles. It was one of those things where as you were hiking up you'd pass people on their way down and without asking they'd give you a progress report, "You're about half way there, but it is totally worth it!" Yeah, that happened like 4 times.
Near the top, though we had no idea at that point, Antoine just wasn't feeling it and decided to take a break. At that point I had a crazy burst of energy and decided I would go on ahead and see if we were remotely close to the top...because if I hadn't psyched myself up I probably would have been crying from muscle spasms and lack of oxygen!
This is a rare cleared off portion of the path, and this is looking downhill!
After I left Antoine I walked about 300 more yards, turned a corner, and BEHOLD...
Now, this is the part where I get a little embarrassed by my actions as a wife...I proceeded to stand in awe and take a ton of photos and completely forget that I left my husband a 1/4 mile back saying I would come back for him if we were close! Oops!
In the end, I don't know if Antoine thought it was worth it. I mean, I'm sure he did, but not until a day or two later after his lungs had recovered. But I was just blown away by how blue Peyto Lake was and how gorgeous it was from above. For me, it was totally worth it and I loved our little adventure...especially since neither of us fell on our asses, even though we saw several other people near wipe-out!