The unending crap storm that has been summer 08 has seemed to continue into this trip. Having finally finished our first drive across the unending boredom of western Manitoba and Saskatchewan we pulled in to the bustling metropolis of Swift Current. After 12 hours or so on the road I have to admit I was dying to hit the hot tub. What does the summer of fun have for us next? An ice cold whirlpool and swimming pool that have apparently been freshly filled with water from Lake Superior. Shitty shitty finish to a long boring day.
Right from the start this day was going to be better, something about knowing the unending beauty of Waterton Lake National Park was at the other end of a decent length drive.
Waterton is the Canadian half of the Waterton-Glacier international peace park originally set up early in the 20th century (and greatly expanded by make-work projects during the depression.)
Personally I’ve always been really drawn to mountains and the first sight of them on the horizon made me sigh in contentment. I’ll be spending the next 2 weeks or so surrounded by the beauty of the rocky mountains. Last time I was in Waterton we’d been surrounded by a massive amount of elk in the Campground so I’m very used to seeing wildlife here.
This time we’re crazy on deer…
Starting from the moment we hit the townsite we were surrounded by does and fauns. At first we kept pointing them out, but as we drove around looking for the place we were staying the deer count probably hit 30… The only buck we saw was sitting chilling in the shade. I guess being the only stud in a town full of white tailed lasses wears one out.
For anyone who’s never been to Waterton I thoroughly recommend visiting. Just as beautiful as Banff and Jasper but thankfully nowhere near as busy (or filled with crazy Japanese tourists in roving packs of 50.)
Waking up, opening your blinds and seeing mountains and the Prince of Wales hotel overlooking the lake is almost too gorgeous. We ended up having lunch up there but spent the morning hiking the redrock canyon and nearby waterfalls first. Given our somewhat limited mobility it was nice to be able to get right down to some of these beautiful places. It’s very sad how much the glaciers have visibly shrunken even since my last visit 12 years ago. A little drinking on the patio closed out the afternoon followed by a fantastic italian dinner and a smidgin of fudge.
I must admit, I miss the days when gift stores actually sold neat local things. More and more I see the same 50 items across every park giftshop from Riding Mountain in Manitoba to the shittiest little giftshop in the crappiest little park in Ohio. The same little Black Bear figurines that are cute and all, but hardly unique. Amazingly the only things I saw in one shop that I didn’t see in at least one other were some strange Ethiopian looking figurines… African figurines in a mountain park in Alberta… sure why not???
In any case, onto another favorite place tomorrow… Glacier National Park and the “Going to the Sun” Highway.