Canada's Lake Louise – An Elaborate Hoax?

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July 22, 2008

A few years ago, a couple of employees at Yellowstone National Park played a classic joke on the tourists. They placed a large hand crank apparatus on top of a wooden box. Next they set the whole contraption in the vicinity of the world famous Old Faithful geyser, which always naturally erupts once per hour. Just as Old Faithful was ready to erupt, they began vigorously turning the crank. Voila! The geyser’s steaming hot waters spewed forth into the sky.

To their credit, the employees had finally answered that legendary Old Faithful tourist question: “How do you turn it on?” Alas, their employers were not amused. Some rather gullible tourists who witnessed the spectacle left convinced that the venerable geyser was a sham. The two guys got canned.

Upon viewing Canada’s stunning Lake Louise, I began searching for the crank and wooden box…

Airstream RV Blog #27 – Geez (Lake) Louise from Sean Michael on Vimeo.

Lake Louise is a spectacular slice of natural perfection. It may not be the world’s prettiest lake, but it’s got to be on the all-time short list. It’s the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. It’s so awesomely natural, it must be artificial.

Clues abound. There’s the centrally located rocky mountain backdrop, peppered with just the right amount of glacial ice and snow. Then there’s the brilliant water that’s an unnatural shade of turquoise (a dead Disney giveaway, if you ask me). There’s the pristine surrounding forest, with statuesque trees gracefully nestled on each side of the lake. On the day of our visit, they even had some sort of high-tech cloud machine running, dotting the sky with angelic puffs of cotton candy.

The Canadian government claims that Lake Louise’s water is frigid glacial runoff, so swimming is forbidden. But one suspects that this so-called “lake’s” floor is covered with some sort of man made plaster. Or perhaps Lake Louise has one of those vinyl “above ground pool” liners? Unfortunately, someone’s got to jump in for us all to find out. Any volunteers?

Lake Louise is a popular destination, with summertime crowds equivalent to your average theme park. It was no small feat to visit with an RV in tow. If only they’d let Disney handle the parking, too! We ended up docking our rig quite a distance from the actual lake, and hiking to the prize. But in the end, it was all worth it.

It’s hard for photos and even high-definition video to do justice to Lake Louise. But watch our video anyway. Yep, it’s gotta be fake.

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  1. Steve, of course I am joking about Lake Louise being an elaborate hoax. But it was SO pretty the day we visited, that I just MIGHT believe it.

    John, thanks for the tip on Moraine Lake! We will check it out the next time we’re in the area. I must say that we’d love to return. Perhaps we’ll place it on our travel agenda for next year.

    Christine, yes, you are correct…and hey, I knew that! 😉 The video is confusing on this point. We filmed the camping/speaking portion of the video near Whiteswan Lake in British Columbia, so that’s what we were referencing at the beginning of the piece. But of course Lake Louise is in Alberta. I’m sorry that our commentary wasn’t more clear. I will add some clarifying titles in a future edit of the video.

    Thanks for the comments, everyone!

  2. Christine O.

    Loved watching your video. Lake Louise is gorgeous but I have to correct one small thing. It’s in Alberta and not BC. :o) Just had to post since I live close by in Calgary and don’t want to see BC get all the credit! :o)

  3. John Jackman

    I visited Lake Louise more than 30 years ago and there is an even more pristine place nearby called Moraine Lake. The old style canadian 20 dollar bill has even used it on the back as the scene to illustrate the Rockies . The lake is the same colour as Lake Louise. The setting is called the valley of the ten peaks as when you look around you can actually see ten different mountain tops. The valley and lake setting was alot more of a natural setting at that time. I have not been back since but sure hope to see it at least one more time. There was a lodge/restaurant there that I had a meal at that was very good.
    The whole area is pretty spectacular so if you get a chance to visit don’t miss the sights. The whole setting is somewhat unreal at first because of the size and granduer of the place but just when you think you have seen it all something else will catch your eyes and you will be further amazed..

  4. Steve White

    Karin and I were there in early June and practically had the place to ourselves. I guess the busy season starts around mid-June and, happily, we missed it. Ditto for the Ice Fields highway to Jasper and the Yellowhead highway along the Big Thompson river. We did, however, see lots of rented RV’s full of Eurpoean tourists. Not so many that it was a problem, but a lot of folks enjoying the strong Euro and weak US Dollar.
    I don’t know about CNR copying Disney in creating Lake Louise or Banff, but I second the thought about the area’s unparalleled beauty. We loved the whole trip from Thunder Bay to BC.