Lake Louise, July 2011

Lake Louise photograph by Nathan Bauman

Photographs by Nathan Bauman; copying for commercial and government use is prohibited; for personal use, please link back to this site, and include my name in a caption; thank you!

If the Banff Springs Hotel is perhaps the reason to visit Banff, then surely Lake Louise is the reason to visit the Rocky Mountains in the first place. On the way up to Banff last weekend, and on the way back, we stopped in at Lake Louise for a brief visit. It was raining the first time, but sunny two days later, and regardless of the weather, the lake holds up as one of the most beautiful places on earth thanks to the exquisitely-pleasing colour of the water and the ice and mountains behind it:

Lake Louise and ice behind; photograph by Nathan Bauman

The following photograph was actually from our first visit, when it was raining:

Lake Louise in cloud; photograph by Nathan Bauman

I regret very much not having the time to either do any hiking around the lake, or canoeing in it. I definitely want to do both on my next trip to this place that is among Canada’s most beautiful sites.

Photoblogging the Banff Springs Hotel

Photograph of the exterior of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel by Nathan Bauman

Perhaps the reason to visit Banff is to spend a night or two in the historic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. The hotel is a kind of living museum, and one-hour tours are provided free of charge to guests and for a fee to others. The hotel itself is quite old, and exquisitely beautiful, inside and out. Stone facades, tapestries, carpets with intricate designs, and unique passage-ways between the turret rooms make for a memorable experience. Meanwhile, large rooms, halls, and corridors simply take the one’s breath away.

I quite liked the stone on the exterior of the building; another angle is shown below:

View of southern wing of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel; photograph by Nathan Bauman

When one comes in the interior, it is quite dark:

Interior of the lobby area in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel; photograph by Nathan Bauman

One of the highlights of the tour I went on was the famous Mount Stephen Hall, two views of which are shown below:

Mount Stephen Hall in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta; photograph by Nathan Bauman

Second view of Mount Stephen Hall in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta; photograph by Nathan Bauman

The individual rooms, columned halls, and corridors of the hotel are also stunning:

Columned hall in the Banff Springs Hotel photograph by Nathan Bauman

Oak Room in the Banff Springs Hotel photograph by Nathan Bauman

Above: the Oak Room in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

The Rundle Lounge in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel; photograph by Nathan Bauman

Above: the Rundle Lounge and Restaurant (I think!) in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Cascade Ballroom in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel photograph by Nathan Bauman

Above: the Cascade Ballroom in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

The Conservatory also has a charm of its own:

The Conservatory in the Banff Springs Hotel photograph by Nathan Bauman

A former-CP Rail hotel, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is much more than these photographs, of course. I was unable to get photographs of the Alhambra room, or of Grapes or almost any of the other eateries in the hotel. Perhaps another time–when I can learn more settings on my camera. One thing I can say: I happened to drive by the Fairmont in Lake Louise, and while I didn’t go inside it, I can say that it is characterless in its bland newness; the Banff Springs Hotel maintains its character thanks to the architectural values of the age which built it. Money permitting, I would be happy to go back many times to visit it.

Below: part of the hotel is visible from the parking garage:

Banff Springs Hotel view from the parking garage; photograph by Nathan Bauman

The Rocky Mountains of Banff, Alberta

Mountain in the Rocky Mountain range near the Banff Springs Hotel picture by Nathan Bauman

Last weekend my family and I took a very short trip to Banff, Alberta. We stayed there for two nights and took in the Rocky Mountains and the gorgeous colours of the rivers and lakes there. The following photograph shows the water just below Bow Falls, and the one after that shows the falls themselves:

Below Bow Falls in Banff, Alberta; photograph by Nathan Bauman

Bow Falls in Banff, Alberta; photograph by Nathan Bauman t2

We took the gondola to the top of Sulfur Mountain; the following photograph shows a view on our ascent:

View of the Rocky Mountains from the Banff gondola on Sulfur Mountain

This is one of many views one can see from that vantage point:

The Rocky Mountains as seen from Sulfur Mountain in Banff, Alberta; photograph by Nathan Bauman

There is an interesting boardwalk involving a lot of stairs that runs atop a short distance of the ridge on this mountain:

Boardwalk along the Rocky Mountains in Banff, Alberta; photograph by Nathan Bauman

On the way back from Banff, I was struck by the way the sunlight and shadows were playing on this peak, and I stopped the car to take a picture; five other cars stopped to do exactly the same thing.

Peaks in the Rocky Mountain range photograph by Nathan Bauman

Unfortunately, the clouds covered more of the peak just before I was able to take any pictures at all, and another gentleman remarked to me how disappointed he was as this had happened to him, too. But the clouds themselves can be quite lovely, can’t they?

Clouds and trees; photograph by Nathan Bauman

Another Brief Thought on C.S. Lewis and Nietzsche

The other day I remarked that C.S. Lewis seemed to be living his adult intellectual life as a reaction to Nietzsche. Now, I’m starting to wonder if Lewis might rather have been influenced by Nietzsche before he turned against him. The reason I wonder this is that Lewis is so often at such pains to make his Narnia theology grounded in “earthiness”; this seems to show him to be the intellectual descendant in some ways of Nietzsche, whose Thus Spoke Zarathustra sets out a call to create a system of ethics that is friendly to the Earth, not imposed from a delusional picture of heaven.

I suppose Lewis would say that he got his “earthiness” directly from mythological antecedents rather than from Nietzsche. On the other hand, I think Thus Spoke Zarathustra would have struck a chord with Lewis before his conversion to Christianity. At some point, though, Lewis became a Christian as an adult, and then from that time on it would seem that he reacted to Nietzsche’s idea of the overman just as much as he agreed with him about the need for “earthiness” in human values. Lewis’s creation of an earthy spirituality, then, was Nietzschean in earthy flavour and in substance. I think we might well consider Lewis to have had nearly as profound an effect on Christianity as Paul did on the theology of “the Way” that would later become known as Christianity. (Lewis was not the only person seeking to make Christianity more body-friendly, of course, but he popularized this new direction to an unprecedented degree.) If I’m right, then Nietzsche himself exercised a profound influence on the Christian religion through religious writers like Lewis.