Lake Louise: Discovering Something Unexpected

I arrive at Lake Louise for the second time in my life. And for the second time, I am met by rain and fog. The immaculate view you see in Google images and on travel sites, I am convinced they are staged.


Determined to not let this ‘Take 2’ trip to the Lake be a complete bust, I pick a short hike and begin to climb.

This will be my first real physical activity since breaking my ankle, but I got the final ok from my doctor last week and I am determined to kill the fall since I completely missed the entire summer.

It’s only 2.8 kilometres to Mirror Lake. Less than 3k is no problem; it’s shorter than my walk to work. But within 45 seconds of being on the trail, it dawns on me that this is 2.8k straight up. I finally see the mountains that surround Lake Louise…because I’m climbing one!

I’m gassed from the get go. I have to steady my breathing with the altitude. By the end my foot is hurting. But I don’t give up. I want to. But I don’t.


I find joy and inspiration in the beauty that surrounds me. The views are spectacular. Triple generation families are slowly trudging along the trail creating memories. Dads are entertaining their tired kids with words games and fairy tale stories. It’s a beautiful day for so many reasons.

As I write this with a skin-stretching and logic-defying swollen ankle, I reflect on the fact that this is not my greatest physical feat. But it is a huge moral victory. I have conquered my injury. I have conquered the pain and isolation that came with it. I made it to Mirror Lake (elevation 295m), but that was actually the smallest summit I reached today.


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