Monday, August 9, 2010

A Lovely Day in the Mountains

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of going, with two other people, to Waterton Lakes National Park. This park spans across the Alberta -British Columbia border as well as the Canada - USA border (Montana). The American side of the Park is also known as Glacier National Park. It was a gorgeous day! Warm, dry weather, with few clouds. We couldn't ask for anything better!

We started out by driving up to Cameron Lake to start our trek. We were going to head up the east side of the mountain to Summit Lake and then onwards to the summit at Mount Carthew. It was a little bit hazy from all of the forest fires in B.C. recently, but we still had good views down onto Cameron Lake and the higher we got the more turquoise the lake looked. It was so pretty.Just before we left, we snapped a quick photo of the map at the base of the trail. Even though I like to carry a map with me, I always like to get a photo of the map provided on the trail. Sometimes it contains more information than the map in my hand. In this case, the distance between each point was listed on the trail's map (my map only had a scale for distance so I'd have to figure out distances myself).

It took about an hour to reach Summit Lake. It was a cute little lake, enclosed by the trees with the mountain peaks just peeking above the trees. We stopped for a quick look at my map to check out the time, elevation and how steep the trail to the summit would be when a deer ambled by us down the path.

The pathway up to the summit was a gorgeous walk. We had views of our destination almost the whole time we were walking: below us was a valley with a perfectly formed meadow. It looked like a golf course! Behind us (towards Montana) were two glacial lakes; a beautiful shade of blue and turquoise. We could also see the end of the tree line just below the summit where the meadows of bear grass were in full bloom.

We ended up stopping for lunch at the point where the meadows give way to rock and shale. It was a perfect place to stop; the views and the sunshine were glorious, and there was also a lovely breeze which keep the deer flies and horse flies away. The rocks we were sitting on radiated just enough heat to keep us warm too. Mountain breezes on a sweaty back can cool you off very quickly - in about 3 minutes we were happy for the warmth of the rocks!

After our lunch stop, it was a quick 30 minute hike up to the peak. I was amazed that there were flowers and bumblebees at the peak as well as a golden mantled ground squirrel (the kind that looks like a chipmunk). But he was too fast for me to take a photo of him! You'd think there wouldn't be anything making their home up there!

I loved the view from up there. The view went right into the USA. Through the haze from the forest fires, you can see the bigger of two glacial lakes. The smaller one, just visible is to the right of that. Both of these lakes are in Montana.

After adding our stones to the cairn, we had a little breather at the peak and headed back down. It was nearing sunset so all the smells of the various flowers were really noticeable. The Cow Parsnip was especially sweet smelling. Weather wise, we've had an exceptionally wet year. It has obviously been good for the mountain flowers, I have never seen Waterton in full bloom like this in August: Indian Paintbrush, Fleabane, Beebalm, Alpine strawberries and raspberries, cow parsley, bear grass the list goes on and on and it was all blooming!

On our way back, I spotted this little toadstool. Isn't the colour gorgeous?

Time from base to peak: 3.5 hours, total 6 hours
Total km covered: 15.2 km (9.44 miles)
Elevation: 1660- 2300 meters


  1. A beautiful hike and the photos are absolutely gorgeous. I would love to visit the area. I have been to BC, but only the interior around Cranbrook. I love the mountains.

    Thanks for sharing this. The view is breathtaking.


  2. Cranbrook is pretty too! We're so spoiled up here with out lovely landscapes!

  3. Looks like you had a lovely day. The view is amazing and the photo of the toadstool is just beautiful. :)


  4. Sounds like you had a wonderful hike... gorgeous pics too!


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