Columbian Icefield Just North Of Lake Louis
Most Beautiful Place In The World Probably
July 25, `72
Lake Louis was as beautiful as people had told us it would be. The
lake was nestled at the foot of glacier-filled mountains. We walked
along the lake’s asphalt path, up to the teahouse where we sat sipping
tea. The teahouse was set on what is called the Plane of Six Glaciers.
The view from the teahouse was the kind of scene that took your breath
away. It looked out on the large glaciers across the lake from us. It
was an incredible sight.
The day of beautiful surprises was not over yet. North of Lake Louis,
we actually got to climb on a glacier. The Columbian Icefield was a
massive glacier almost touching the highway. It was so large that you
couldn’t see where it began since it stretched over the back of one of
the mountains. On top of the glacier, Mike and I walked into its huge,
deep blue cracks and crevices and marveled at its decaying face
(glaciers were receding). It was a hot, sunny day, and we had a great
time sliding down the glacier’s snowy white curves. We spent most of
the day just playing on the glacier.
When we finally headed out, we couldn’t find a place to camp. It was
getting dark, and we didn’t want to risk getting caught and fined by a
Ranger, so we pulled into a campground. It was full. We went to the
next campground. It was full also. It was 11 p.m. when we decided to
risk camping off the highway. We weren’t far from the campground that
was full, so we figured if we got caught we’d plead helplessness. What
else could we do, follow the rules and drive all night?
I put up the tent in the dark. Mike started the fire and, after an
enjoyable dinner of hot beans, sardines, biscuits, spinach, and beer,
neither one of us felt like cleaning up. We threw everything in the
back of the truck and climbed into our tent. By then it was 1 a.m. We
had no sooner got in our sleeping bags than we heard a noise outside.
Sure as shit, it was a black bear. He had wandered into our camp, or
was pulled in by the cooking smells. He immediately started taking
advantage of our sloppy housekeeping. Not only did he chow down on our
table scraps, he helped himself to the groceries that were supposed to
get us to the coast. They were stupidly stored in the back of the pick-up.