Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cardston and Waterton Lakes National Park

We spent two nights at the Lee Creek Campground in Cardston, AB so we could drive to Waterton Lakes National Park to get a national park stamp in our book.  We now have several Parks Canada stamps in our book.  When we arrived I went to an ATM to get some Canadian cash and was happy to see the exchange rate was in our favor.  $300 CDN was only $277 US.  This will help a bit with higher Canadian prices and the fee the bank charges when we use the credit card.  One item I knew would be much higher was alcohol.  A 12 pack of beer was over $25.  No wonder they limit how much booze you can bring into the country.  I guess it's just our contribution to the Canadian health care system.
It turns out that little Cardston was the home of two famous people.  Fay Wray, the damsel in the original King Kong movie was born here and is honored with a fountain.  The other famous local was George Woolf who rode the famous racehorse, Seabiscuit, in several races including the famous win over War Admiral.  The statue of Woolf and Seabiscuit are at the Remington Carriage Museum.  We did not have the time to check out the museum.
Our main purpose for staying here was to visit Waterton Lakes National Park, part of the International Peace Park along with Glacier National Park in the US.  We were disappointed when we awoke to overcast skies but decided to make the trip anyway.  We have often heard how mountains make there own weather and in this case they seemed to be holding back the clouds so the closer we got the clearer the mountain peaks were.  How would you like to have the view the people in this house have everyday?
One of the iconic sights at Waterton is the Prince of Wales Hotel that sits alone above the lakes.  Unfortunately, we only got to peek through the window as the hotel does not open until the middle of June.
The view of Upper Waterton Lake from the hotel.  This lake goes all the way into Glacier.  During the summer you can hike from here to the US and then take a boat back.  Friends of ours did it and it sounds real neat.  A reason to return.
The Prince of Wales overlooking the lake.
A lot of wildlife have the run of the Waterton Village.  In the summer they use herding dogs to keep the deer away from tourist who are not smart enough to realize they are wild animals and this is not a zoo.
Beautiful Cameron Falls was flowing with snow melt.  The falls is right by the village.  We did walk around the town but did not do any longer hikes because many trails were still snowed in.
This harlequin duck was a first for us.  Along with his mate they were on a couple of rocks in the middle of the rapids.  Beautiful!!
The other animals that were roaming all over town were big horn sheep.  This magpie decided to take a break on this sheep and he does not appear to be to happy about it. 
A whole yard of big horns.  It is neat to see them up close but they are very destructive of any ornamental plants the locals plant.  Many homes had the shrubs fenced off.  The other downside of all the animals in town was the piles and pellets of poo everywhere.  Watch your step!!
One mountain road that was open was the Red Rock Parkway, a scenic drive where we were told we would see animals.   Not, there were more in town.  It was a beautiful drive through an ancient glacial canyon between towering snow capped peaks.
The spring flowers are just now blooming this far north.  Everything from daffodils to what we think is an orchid.  We have been following early spring flowers since we left Las Vegas a month ago. 
The creek along the drive was brown with all the silt it was carrying.
The drive ends at Red Rock Canyon where the silty water flows through ancient red rocks that were once part of the seabed.  They say the canyon erodes at about the depth of a nickle and a half each year, so if you return in ten years it would be 75 cents deeper. A different way to think about how erosion happens.

We could see a lot of avalanche runs in the mountains where the snow had wiped out all the trees.  At the bottom of the mountain what looks like a waterfall is a huge ice pack hanging on the side of the mountain.
One last look at the mountains of Waterton.  This is a place we could return to in the summer as there is so much to see and do in the park and the surrounding area.
There is a great lake side campground in the park.  It was overrun with these cute little ground squirrels.  They are fun to watch but you need to be careful where you walk so you don't step in a chuckhole.

As I write it is day four of our trek to Alaska and we have traveled 352 miles north of the border and are near Edmonton for a couple of days.  We hope to be at Mile Zero of the Alaskan Highway in Dawson Creek, BC on Monday.  The weather has been fine with cool nights and highs in the 60's.  Our adventure continues.


Bobbie and Jim said...

Great photos!!! At those beer prices I can see you staying pretty sober the next few months ha-ha.

Ray/Wendy said...

Man really awesome pics. Just breathtaking!

Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

Wow that new camera is taking awesome images!