July 31, 1990 -- Day 2

Great Falls MT to Lake Louise ALTA

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Gardens at Chateau Louise A low ceiling in Great Falls fell apart into scattered cumulus, and by 10:00 we were on our way to Calgary. Even though conditions were VFR, I elected to make the trip under IFR control. Twenty-five miles north of Cut Bank MT the American controllers handed us off to their Canadian counterparts.

Approaching Lethbridge (ALTA), our way to Calgary was blocked by a large thunderstorm, very ominous in appearance. A lot of nervous pilots were asking for detours. Suddenly without warning, the Lethbridge VOR lost its commercial power, and all planes were without navigation. Thank goodness the storm remained north of Lethbridge, so all of us were able to negotiate contact approaches into Lethbridge. If we had been in IMC at the time, it would have been a first-rate disaster.

After waiting out the storm, we were finally able to resume our trip to Calgary. We rented a car and drove over to Lake Louise, in Banff National Park. We stayed at the Chateau Louise, a very British and very posh hotel right on the lake. The lake itself is unquestionably one of the most beautiful natural settings I have ever seen. The lake is glacier-fed and is a startling blue in color. Later, in Alaska, I learned that this blue color is due to glacial silt. In late afternoon, as the long shadows began to come out, a serenade is played on a lone Alpine horn. The sound echoes off of the mountains surrounding the lake. Lake Louise is a beautiful experience, but be prepared for the price -- it is astronomical.

Storms over Lake Louise

The many moods of Lake Louise...
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Linda Dowdy
P.O. Box 137
Bethel, Minnesota
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Copyright © 2003 Linda Dowdy, last revision 030302