Sunday, August 7, 2016

Legends of Lake Louise --- Banff National Park

Roger here...  The Legends of Lake Louise are not legends.  They are real-life stories of events that occurred decades ago with current day connections.

The Norris Family Chronicles
Episode One

The Mystery of the Missing Rock

Who is this Gracious Lady Posing on a Boulder?

Submitted for your approval....  The year was 1970.  Jim, the father of a family of four was planning an ambitious trip to Banff National Park for his family.  His wife, Ann, was looking forward to the trip, as was the younger son, Dick.  The older son did not want to go.  You must understand, he was 20 years of age and did not want to leave his gorgeous girlfriend back in Indiana to travel for three weeks with his parents.  

The Older Son and the Gorgeous Girlfriend

When the father played the "It will be our last long trip together" card, the older son reluctantly agreed to go, with the understanding that he and the younger son would be actively hiking, canoeing and pursuing other adventures during the trip.  Good-byes were said, and the trip began.

The older son, along with the younger son, did indeed pursue adventures.  The father and mother allowed them to do so, living up to their part of the agreement.

One day, in the Canadian Rockies, the family came upon a view that was so magnificent that the mother posed on a rock to have her picture taken.  This was something that she would not normally have done, making it memorable to the other three members of the family.

After the family returned home, the older son graduated from college, married his girlfriend, and raised a family.

Fast forward to present day...

The older son, now retired, returned to the Canadian Rockies with his wife.  His wife had seen the photo of her mother-in-law that was taken while she patiently waited for the family to return to Indiana in 1970.  It was always her favorite photo of her mother-in-law.  The wife was determined to find the exact location of the photo so that she could pose for a picture in the exact same place on the exact same rock.

The older son agreed that it would be fun to find that spot.  The search began at Lake Louise.  Was this the spot?  No, the mountains don't look the same.

What about here?  No, the mountains still do not look right, and neither does the rock.

The older son and his determined wife fought hoards of people looking for the exact spot.  The older son grew frustrated.  The determined wife remained focused.

The search continued the next day at a different lake, Moraine Lake (with additional hoards of people).  The mountains looked better, but the setting and the rock were not right. Sigh.

Could this be it?  No, the rock is too big and it is too far from the lake.  

The wife was continually meticulously comparing the photo of her mother-in-law to every setting.  The older son says, "This is a nice photo."  The wife says, "Yes, it is, but I am not sitting on a rock.  I am up too high and the mountains are not angled correctly."  Sigh. Sigh.

Retracing steps, the wife says,  "I think this is it!"  She posed on the (not visible) rock and compared it to the picture of the mother-in-law.  "Yes this is it."  It did not look exactly the same because of a pile of logs in the lake and because trees (not visible in the picture) blocked some of the mountains, but this was it.  The older son readily agreed.

Ignore the apparent sticks coming out of my head -- D.

The wife took a photo at the same spot closer to the lake and behind the trees that had grown tall.
Even though the disappearing sun had darkened the lake, the mystery was solved.

Two beautiful ladies in a beautiful setting.

The older son says, "Not the exact spot, but my favorite picture".

The Norris Family Chronicles
Episode Two

The Tragedy of the Lost Shirt

Episode Two begins with a photo several years prior to 1970 of the two sons.  The younger son seemed to be a bit spastic in the water.

The photo below shows the older son just a few years past the events of 1970.  He was a lifeguard.  He was a swimming coach.  He was definitely comfortable in an aquatic environment.

What a hunk!  -- D.

During the fateful excursion of 1970, the vacationing family drove from Banff to Moraine Lake for the day (same day as the above story about the rock).  When the older son saw that canoes could be rented, he insisted that he and the younger brother (now 14 years of age) do a paddle.  The father, remembering the terms of the agreement that the sons have adventures, readily agreed.  The mother was hesitant and fretful, as was her way.  

The sons quickly paddled around a peninsula to be out of view from the worried mother.  As it was a very warm day, the older son removed his life jacket (after all, he was a good swimmer), and his favorite new college fraternity t-shirt.  The sons paddled around the bright blue lake, enjoying the day.  

At the far end of the lake, the sons spotted a waterfall that emptied its glacial waters into the idyllic lake.  They paddled toward the waterfall.  The older son, well aware of boating and water safety, told the younger son that they would paddle directly toward the falls before turning.  The older son instructed the younger that if there was any kind of turbulence or wave action that the younger son should lean into the wave,  never away from the wave.  As is the case in most families, the younger son paid no attention to the wiser older son.  

As the canoe neared the waterfall, the older son turned the canoe to make a retreat.  When the canoe was at a right angle to the falls, and feeling the instability caused by the waves, the younger son leaned away from the waves, thus overturning the canoe.

The two sons splashed into the dangerously frigid water.  The younger son was a basket case.  The older son calmed him down (and the younger son actually listened).  An attempt was made to turn the canoe back over, but failed.  The older son realizing the danger of the cold water directed the younger son to hold on to his life jacket and swim to the nearest beach.  The older son did the same, grabbing one of the paddles.  The treasured fraternity t-shirt from Purdue drifted to the bottom of the lake.

The sons assumed that they would be bushwhacking their way back to civilization (no trail at that time), but the older son noticed that the overturned canoe was drifting toward a nearby shore.  The two sons retrieved and uprighted the canoe.  The older son paddled back to the boat dock, insisting that the younger son abandon his canoe seat for the more stable center of gravity in the gunnel.  The older son also told the younger son to not move in any direction until he climbed onto the boat dock.  

The mother and the father did not see or know about the fiasco until they noticed that the older son was shirtless.  The treasured fraternity t-shirt was forever lost.

Flash forward to present day...

The older son located the boat rental concession and insisted that he and his wife (the former girlfriend) paddle to the scene of the lost t-shirt.

The older son and his wife (former girlfriend) approached the waterfall from a distance.

As the older son and his wife (former girlfriend) got closer to the falls, the older son advised the wife to....   The wife sarcastically interrupted, "Yes, lean into the waves."

As the older son successful negotiated a turn and retreat, the wife (former girlfriend) did not lean away from the waves.  The older son looked back at the choppy water and said, "Yep, this is where it happened.  This is where my beloved fraternity t-shirt rests."

As the older son and his wife (former girlfriend) paddled away, the older son located the site where he and the younger son had swum to shore.

Returning to calm waters, the oldest son began removing (for a very short time) his life jacket, not his shirt --- no one wants to see that anymore...

... to reveal a replica of the lost fraternity t-shirt, a gag gift years later from the now-grown-up younger brother.

The story has a happy ending.  As you already know, the older son married his girlfriend, graduated from Purdue, had a fulfilling career in education, raised two daughters, doted on a loving  granddaughter, and retired with his wife (former girlfriend) to enjoy a life of travel.  

The younger son grew to become less spastic in water-related situations, joined the older son's fraternity, graduated from Purdue, married his girlfriend, raised a son, had a successful career and recently retired.

Still in the Lake Louise area, the next post covers what might be the most pleasant day of our journey, thus far.


If you recall from the last post, Bandido loved re-opening his Bark Box filled with hidden toys.  Tequila is not really toy driven, but she does like the treats that normally arrived in the Bark Box.  The pictures below show her reaction.

"I don't see any treats in there!"

"What's in this for me?"

1 comment:

Nancy and Bill said...

Loved this post!!!! Life is grand...keep enjoying it:o)) It really is all about making memories and remembering them while we can;o)