I get a campsite and leave my tarp and tent out flat to dry from last night’s rain while I drive up to Moraine Lake to take a short hike. When I first get there it’s a little foggy, but still really beautiful and I’m taking pictures when it suddenly starts to hail. Along with the busloads of everyone else I shuffle back to my car and head back to the campsite, the views now all obstructed with fog. I resolve to get up as early as I can tomorrow and not break down my campsite to save time so that I can beat the crowds to Lake Louise. But who am I kidding?
After a mostly sleepless night in freezing temperatures in a wet tent, it’s easy to wake early and get on the trail. I go to Lake Louise and start on the Plain of Six Glaciers trail. It is probably the most popular hike in the area, but luckily I’m there so early and it’s so foggy I pass some people in the beginning but don’t see another soul for the rest of my assent. At first the trail is paved, flat and easy, but soon enough it starts to climb and then it starts to snow. It’s about this time, out of breath and cold, that I start to wonder about the tea house that is supposed to be at the end of the trail.
When I first learned about it I pictured something like a Starbucks on top of a mountain. Now my expectations turn toward something even more exciting, like a bergasthaus, rustic and warm with huge plates of rosti and bratwurst waiting for me. Then I start to wonder if maybe it’s just a self-serve kiosk with a hotplate and some damp bags of chamomile. It turns out to be something in between. When I finally make it, it’s around 10 o’clock but snowing. The doors are closed but a couple is sitting outside and the hostess is taking their orders, so I sit down. It’s only then that I realize how wet my clothes are and how cold I am. I debate going inside, but it's dark and isn't heated and then you can’t see the view. I wanted a scone, but they weren’t out of the oven yet, so I ordered their famous chocolate cake instead. It was burnt on the edges but incredibly tasty. And the tea I got was very good. But I left feeling colder and less gastronomically satisfied than when I arrived. Oh well, it’s the novelty of eating at a little cabin in the woods that’s memorable. On the way down I must have seen a hundred people and got tired of saying hello over and over again. So I was very glad I got up early, although maybe if I would have came with the crowd I would have gotten a warm scone.