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Day 38

I wanted to wake up early this morning so we could get into Lake Louise and use the chateau as much as possible! Unfortunately, the two rowers don't like mornings. Actually, to be fair, Travis had a BIG day yesterday and so was obviously tired! But they also like to sleep in. But, not having a big breakfast, we hit the road around 9:30. Although we were camping out on a gorgeous site, with mountains all around, all we could see was the lake. The clouds covered ALL of the mountains. It would have been so much more scenic if we could actually see the mountains we were cycling through! But they never cleared the entire day, so we just had to cycle uphill without any (or at least without most of) the scenery! Our first 17km were uphill. We had to summit the second peak of the Icefield parkway. It was a higher altitude than the Columbian Icefield, but it was definitely a less steep incline! On the way up, we were stopped by a car of Americans who told us that there was a grizzly with her two cubs up ahead, if we wanted to take a look! We were really excited to see a grizzly, but kinda scared that there was a grizzly with her two cubs (that's like in the handbook of what to avoid!). Before we hit the grizzly area, we did a side trip to Peyto lake (pronounced Pee-toe). At the start of the hike, there was a sign explaining the lake and the area. It said that this was the bluest lake in the area. I didn't actually know what that means! The least green? The darkest? The brightest? Is baby blue more blue than navy? Right when I saw the lake I knew. It was definitely the bluest. It almost looked fake. It was a bright, unreal tarp-coloured blue. It was so cool! As we hit the road again, we thought the grizzlies might be gone because we passed a lot of cars. Turns out they were still there! They were FAR in the distance, so we were a safe distance away. There were tons of cars parked at the side of the road, and tons of people were out with their telephoto lenses. We stopped to take pictures, then headed over to the service station where we hoped to dry off (as it had started to hail and rain), warm up, and get some food (we didn't have a big breakfast at all!). It was a small log cabin type hotel with a cafe where we could warm up! Bow lake was still frozen! It was literally still winter! We were wearing all our winter gear we brought (hats, mitts, scarfs, etc). We had a bowl of chili, and some tea. Then we hit the road straight to Lake Louise. The weather was miserable, but we were heading to the Chateau so it was only a matter of time before we warmed up! It was a net downhill into the town, which was nice! We saw another grizzly at the side of the road, and another black bear. This was the most amount of bears we've seen in one day so far! Five in one day, four of which were grizzlies (which count for SO many more cool points!). That brings our tally up to 13! We bought some food in town, then headed straight up the 4km solid uphill to the chateau. Michael was VERY tired, and only later realized his brakes were rubbing the entire way up! Michael and I waited (in the rain) by the lake while Travis checked in. The lake was gorgeous (a really cool, unreal light blue colour). We couldn't really see the mountains around unfortunately because of the clouds. Travis' friend was able to get us a discount, which was wicked! We didn't want to clutter up the front of the hotel with our bikes. The bell boy brought all our (very wet) gear up to our rooms for us and they put our bikes away in their storage. The first thing we did was get out of our wet gear, and then we showered! Then we went swimming and went in the hot tub. It was so nice! The hotel was gorgeous! The rooms were really nice, and the bathroom had a double door so every time you were done in the washroom, you felt like you were making an entrance back into the room! It was funny (and posh). We wandered around the hotel and shops for a bit before we met up with Travis' friend for dinner. It was crazy expensive, but what do you expect? At the table beside us was a group of guys, around 50ish years old who were watching the game (last game of the stanley cup it turns out). One guy was from Thunderbay who told us about the roads in northern Ontario. We've heard a few horror stories, so it was good to get more info! He said the main route that goes through Dryden was more direct, more hilly, and more dangerous (because of all the trucks), but probably more scenic. He said the other route was mostly through the forest, so boring. The lonely planet disagrees. We'll probably go the route through International Falls because it's safer, and we're assuming more scenic. Turns out, this guy was also a HUGE Pittsburgh fan (always has been). It was so funny because he was out of his chair cheering and taunting his friends when the Penguins tied the game, bringing it to overtime. He was so funny! Then we went to our super comfortable beds and planned not to wake up early at all tomorrow!