Alumni Travel to ‘Glacial Mountains and Emerald Lakes’ in the Canadian Rockies

By Purnell T. Cropper | August 9, 2011

By Georgene Pilling ’04M, Director of Alumni Relations

A hearty group of alumni and friends met in Vancouver, British Columbia, on July 18 to begin a nine-day adventure through the Canadian Rockies. The journey began with a full day of sightseeing in Victoria, learning about the Story Poles in Stanley Park, gingerly walking across the swaying planks of the Capilano Suspension Bridge, and strolling through busy downtown before boarding VIA Rails to experience the nostalgic lure of train travel that took us overnight through the Canadian countryside to Jasper National Park.

From there we traveled by bus to Banff, Lake Louise and Calgary. Along the way, we enjoyed breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls, snow-covered mountain peaks, turquoise glacial lakes, exquisite gardens, flower baskets that popped with bright reds, yellows and purples, and wildlife that sauntered along the side of the road—bears, elk and mountain goats.
Betty Holton Weiss ’60 writes, “Our Arcadian travelers were a small cohesive fabulous group. The view of the glacial mountains and emerald lakes were absolutely beautiful. We loved the accommodations, overnight train ride, and white water rafting.”

Our excursions were many and varied. We cruised to Spirit Island through the sparkling waters of Maligne Lake, the largest glacially fed lake in Jasper National Park and famous for its surrounding peaks and the three glaciers that sit atop them. We traveled through the Columbia Icefields, where we boarded the Ice Explorer, which rolled over a mass of glacial ice more than 1,000 feet thick and deposited us on top of the glacier, with fresh snow falling, where we treated ourselves to a taste of glacial water. A hearty group donned life jackets for a white water rafting experience down the Athabasca River. We stopped at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park and stood in awe of the stunning scenery that spread out before us—the turquoise water nestled inside the Valley of the Ten Peaks.

Our stay in world famous Chateau Lake Louise afforded us so many opportunities for breathtaking views. We explored the area by hiking, canoeing and strolling around the gardens. We gathered early one morning to see the sun rise and cast a pink glow over Mount Victoria and Lake Louise—a stunning sight that lasted only moments. If we could only bottle up that experience and take it home! Mimi Brauch ’64 explains, “Do you remember the old movies in which the backdrop had been painted? This Lake Louise photo almost reminds me of that except that it is real, not painted. The words ‘breathtaking’ and ‘awesome’ are so overused, but for almost all the places we visited on this trip, those words are exactly right.”

Every day afforded a memorable highlight and no one could say with any authority which was their favorite moment. Elizabeth Davis McGuire ’71 reflects, “People have asked what was our favorite part of the trip? And it’s difficult to answer. Each part had its own special experience. The train trip was unique and awe-inspiring as we traveled through vast areas without anything around but mountain peaks and countryside; the hotels each had their own flavor and excellent food; and the natural beauty of the magnificent mountains and lakes were breathtaking. Seeing the wildlife so close at hand added an extra touch, and the fact that the people on the trip were wonderful, just added the icing on the cake.”

Chateau Lake Louise Photo: Front row, left to right: Jill Olson, Lisa Kim Bahnemann ’93MSPT, Elizabeth Holton Weiss ’60, Morrie Weiss, Elizabeth Davis McGuire ’71, Jim McGuire. Back row, left to right: Alumni Director Georgene Pilling ’04M, Marie-Louise Brauch ’64, Nancy Lindstrom, Loli Jaeger Lindstrom ’59, Jane Lewis Grove ’59, Deborah Gable ’59, Chad Pilling.