The trip from Banff to Waterton Lake was uneventful and only took a little less than five hours to drive the 241 miles. The only real slowdown was coming though Calgary. I had forgotten what big cities are like! We didn’t take any pictures of the trip as most of it was just farm and ranch land. Just as we were getting to Waterton we started into the mountains again but by that time the windshield was absolutely full of bugs and the skies were hazy!
Waterton National Park is the Canadian Side of the Glacier National Park in Montana. In 1932 they were together called the International Peace Park. I believe it is the only place where we have national parks from the two nations adjoining each other. You can even hike within the park from one country to the other and the Lower Waterton Lake is so large it is about half in each park.
Just like Jasper and Banff, Waterton has a town within it (called Waterton Park) which is a small service community and also contains the campground we are in: Townsite Campground. We have a full hookup, pull-though site which is very nice. I was able to get the satellite sighted in quickly and we also have cell service. Still no internet, though I may be able to get WiFi at one of the coffee shops in town. The campground also has its own resident herd of Mule Deer which wander through the campground all day keeping the grass mowed – no need for goats here. :) They don’t pay any attention to the campers whatsoever. One laid down next to the Mothership this afternoon for a while before getting up to eat more grass/clover.
On Tuesday we went on one of the scenic drives, Red Rock Parkway. This is a 10 mile road that starts in the plains and ends up in the mountains at a trailhead for several hikes. From that trailhead, we took two different hikes. The first was to Blakiston Falls which was a little over a mile. We pretty well had the trail to ourselves and it was a beautiful, peaceful hike ending at the falls which were also well worth the hike. After returning from that hike, we hiked up the Red Rock Canyon trail which is a loop going up one side of the canyon and then comes back on the other side. The trails were a little more crowded by that time but it was still a great hike with fantastic views of the canyon.
Next we went to the Buffalo Paddock. This is an area on the plains at the edge of the park where they maintain a small herd of bison. This was also a very scenic drive with the added benefit of getting up close and personal with the bison. The road goes through their grazing area and they stroll back and forth over the road as you are driving through it. This particular herd contains bison that are direct descendents of the original herd of the Great Plains. It was really great seeing these magnificent animals in their own environment. When we arrived back at the Mothership, we had a visitor. A small fawn had taken up residence in the shade next to our rear wheel, pictures included.
Wednesday we drove out to Cameron Lake to see the sights and hike two more trails. The first was to Akamina Lake which is a small lake only a .6 mile hike from the Cameron Lake trailhead. While at the lake we just sat while enjoying the view when a doe and her fawn came through the tall grass and crossed the lake about 50 feet in front of us. There are not used to humans like the ones in the campground and we just stayed as quiet and still as possible so as not to scare them.
After returning to the trailhead we took the Cameron Lake trail which is about two miles round trip. It was a very nice hike next to the lake shore with magnificent views of the lake and mountains around it. We didn’t see any wildlife on this trail but did run across some more Big Horn Sheep as we drove back to the campground. Doris did real well and her knee is getting stronger every day.
Thursday we didn’t do much but hike into town for a little shopping and just lounging around the Mothership getting ready for the short trip to Glacier National Park, MT tomorrow. It will be nice to get back to US soil and prices!!