It's a good thing not very many people know how beautiful Waterton National Park is, because then it would be way more busy (she says as she writes a public blog post on the topic).
Well, I'll say it anyway: Waterton is breath-taking.
It helped that the weather was 100% cooperative while we were there, certainly.
We got a campsite overlooking the creek, overlooking the prairies jutting into the mountain valley, and overlooking the mountains themselves.
The campground had no showers and no hot water, so our bathing was done in the creek--fine by me! It reminded me of the good old days spending weeks at Kootenay Plains working at summer camp.
I've been wanting to do the Crypt Lake Hike for years, ever since I first read about it in the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, and saw a picture of a guy climbing through the side of a mountain. Our route looking forward (Brent has added a red line where we walked): Our route looking backward:
In order to do this hike, you need to cross the lake by ferry. Then in addition to the usual switchbacks, valley-walk, creek-crossings and what-not, you have to climb a metal ladder and, crouching down, squirm through a 60ish foot natural tunnel in the side of the mountain, before emerging on the other side. Then you skirt around the side of the mountain, holding onto a cable if you're worried about the drop-off or are feeling unsteady on your feet.The following picture makes it look like the tunnel is huge. It's not. Brent pretty much had to crab-walk to get through.
Then a little further up and over the lip of the valley and you drop into a cirque where the ice-cold Crypt Lake lies. On the far side of the lake, part way up the scree slope, is the border between Canada and the United States. So we could almost say that we went to the US without passports...
We took the nine o'clock ferry across (you could also catch one at ten) and took the four o'clock one home (you could also take one at five thirty). The Waterton Shoreline Cruise Company ran the boats that took us across. The staff were friendly and entertaining and apparently the company does a number of other ferry-trips for hikers upon request (at a cost, of course.) Aside from the hike, the scenery in general was lovely.
We saw three bears and plenty of deer. Sunday morning we got up early so Brent could get some shots with the long-shadowed sunrise lighting and I just sat and took it all in: the scents of pine and berries and grass, the sunshine streaming across the prairie , the mountains and hills and lake, the wind whistling in the grass and trees....I would like to preserve that moment forever. God's creative power was visible everywhere.