The following is a description of a self-organized 18 days hiking tour in the Canadian Rockies that my wife and I undertook in the summer of 2011.
We arrived at Calgary airport on July 11, at 10:50 a.m. and drove south towards Waterton Lakes National Park immediately thereafter. Waterton is a beautiful park with beautiful trails.
We departed Calgary for home on July 28.
WATERTON, AB (elevation 1,279 m. asl)
We stayed at: DUNGARVAN CREEK B&B
|From Calgary, we drove to the Dungarvan B&B via the #2 highway. Nanton, a little town on the way, has a very interesting little aviation museum: "NANTON LANCASTER SOCIETY AIR MUSEUM"|
Waterton Lakes National Park adjoins National Glacier National Park (USA) to the south and together they form Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.
For thousands of years this was primarily the territory of the Aboriginal tribes of the Kootnai and Blackfoot. Thomas Blakiston was the first European on record to explore the area back in 1858 and he named the lakes for Charles Waterton, an XVIII century English naturalist.
This past winter and spring, many areas where the Canadian Parks are situated, received more than double the normal accumulation of snow, and lots of rain in the early part of summer. At the time of our visit, some trails were not reccomended by Parks Canada due to lingering snow accumulation on higher elevation with the possibility of avalanches (e.g., and Carthew-Alderson trails, Lineham Ridge).
NOTES: In the morning we took the first "INTERNATIONAL" boat ride (just short of 1 hr.) to Goat Haunt, situated at the south end of Waterton lake and hike from there. This end of the lake is in the USA, threfore if you intend to hike in the area you will need a passport. The american border guards will require one, and will stamp it, before allowing you to wonder any further than the lakeshore.
Very easy hike that allows you to catch the 14:30 boat back to Waterton Lake Village.
The area around the lake is normally a great place to see moose.
Temperatures: a.m. 14 0C / p.m. 22 0C
NOTES: The first 4.6 kilometers along the Snowshoe trail are rather easy. Then at the junction the trail to Goat Lake climbs steadily, with a few switchbacks, and gains 455 meters in the remaining 2.4 km.
We had to cross four creeks, 2 easily crossed and the other 2 not so easily, and a snow packed gulley with a rather long (100 meters or so) and steep incline and a meter drop off lip at the other end.
The hiking poles were very helpuf in the crossing while kicking in little notches with my boots.
Once we entered the wooded cirque area, there were a few more snow patches and lots of running water, but here the terrain is basically almost all level.
Temperatures: a.m. 12 0C / p.m. 22 0C
1) On the way back, an unfortunate accident happened to a lady while crossing this same snow pack, a couple of minutes ahead of us. She slipped and fell, and luckily for her, she was able to steer to one side of the snow-slide and was able to stop within 30 meters and climb back up to the trail. She was badly scraped and bruised on her arms and legs by the rocks embedded in the snowpack.
2) On the way up, maybe just a couple of kilometers from the trailhead, we saw a black bear wondering along the banks of Bauerman Creek (well below the trail at about 100 meters).
On our way back, notwistanding our loud voices and noise, there he was on our left side within 10 meters of the trail (he had come up from the creek and crossed the trail). He turned around, looked at us. I quickly took a picture (otherwise who would believe me ...), practically without stopping, but just in case, the bear spray canister was at hand ...
In the meanwhile, at the start of the trail, Parks Canada had posted a bear warning sign.
NOTES: We hiked only to the Lower Rowe Lake because, at the Park Info office, they informed us that the trail for the Upper Lake was snowy and the Lineham Ridge trail was prone to avalanches from the snowy ledges above it.
Not far from the lake we noticed bear paw-prints in the mud; they looked farely recent; we proceeded with caution. We didn't stay long at the lake.
FIELD, BC (elevation 1,243 m. asl)
situated in YOHO NATIONAL PARK
This year we drove to Field via Hwy #22/#40 (Cowboy Trail) (473 Km). Just before the town of Longview we visited the Bar U Ranch Historical Site (Parks Canada).
Yoho Park was named as such by Deville and it means "wonder, astonishment" in Cree Indian.
I had phoned to book 2 daily passes 3 months to the day prior to our intended visit to Lake O'Hara.
NOTES: On the trail to Lake McArthur by 9:00.
NOTES: This is a beautiful hike.
NOTES: Cloudy all day; Dolomite Peak semi-covered by clouds. Muddy trail after the lake on the way to the Summit ridge.
The noticerboard at thetrailhead reccomended that groups of at least 4 people should venture on the trail due to grizzly bear activities. We tagged along a large group of hikers from Austria.
NOTES: We had booked the guided tour "Senior Steamers" with Geoscience Foundation, well in advance. The group had 12 people, the maximum permitted. Another group, guided by a Parks Canada guide, had left well bofore us; we encountered them coming down while we were still a few kilometers away from destination.
JULY 23 - 25
(elevation 1,000 m. asl)
We stayed at: BECKERS CHALETS
On the day we left Field to drive up to Jasper, a large mudslide (rocks, mud and large trees; six metres deep and 70 metres long tumbled down Cathedral Mountain), had blocked the Trans-Canada Highway near the Spiral Tunnell section of the road (since we arrived, it had rain almost every night). We had to backtrack to Golden and take an alternate route. The highway was not open until Sunday afternoon. This caused major detour and delays.
Because last year the road to Edith Cavell was closed during our visit, we returned this year just to go up Cavell Meadows.
Temperatures: 8 0C a.m.; 22 0C p.m.
NOTES: While hiking to the top cairn in the Meadows there was a very strong and cold wind plummeting the temperature close to zero.
2 nights in CANMORE
The weather turned dismal in Canmore. Low clouds and heavy rain from early morning were not conducive to go hiking. So we drove to Highwood Pass; here we saw for the first and only time during this trip, a grizzly sow with a cub browsing on the side of the road.
|TOWNS WHERE WE STAYED AT|
SUMMER 2011 - PHOTO ALBUMS
WATERTON NATIONAL PARK YOHO NATIONAL PARK JASPER NATIONAL PARK
1) The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide; Brian Patton and Bart Robinson, Summerthought Publication, Banff, Canada - Eight edition, 2007