WATERTON LAKE NATIONAL PARK
Shortly after the aborted Oregon drive trip, I spotted a piece in our local newspaper that described a trip to Waterton Lake taken by that person. That triggered me to look into that one since it is about 300 KM (189 miles) from home. So we got a motel room for the night, and packed up a few days later, and headed for Waterton. Now Waterton is not new to us, but it was 2008 when we were last there.
There are several ways to get to Waterton from Calgary, all of them are OK, and some are a bit longer than the other. Going from the easternmost to the westernmost, it looks like this. Leave Calgary, going south on Highway 2, all the way to highway 3 (the Crowsnest highway), turn right and head west to Pincher Creek and highway 6. Turn left on 6, and go south about 50 KM, and you are at the park entrance.
Another way is to simply leave Calgary going south on Highway 2, and turn west at highway 22X and follow it to highway 22 and turn south. You can’t get lost on this one because it goes all the way to the Crowsnest (highway 3) and you turn left eastbound until you again get to Pincher Creek and Highway 6, and take it to Waterton. That is a bit shorter, and a bit more scenic.
The last way is even shorter, not by much, but you get to see a few more towns. Leave Calgary going south on Highway 2, but turn off at the Okotoks turn, and head west. You will go through the town of Okotoks, and continue to Highway 7. Turn onto it and head for Black Diamond and highway 22. Follow the same drill as above. You will be at the park in about 3 ½ hours without breaking the speed laws. All routes are on excellent road except for repairs done to Highway 22, brought about by the recent Alberta floods. I expect to have a bit more on this tomorrow.
Speaking of floods, we had followed the weather forecast for Waterton and as of the night before, it all looked gold. The trip down was perfect. We made one bush stop at the Chain Lakes Park, and you would be wise to use it. It was gorgeous out, with lots of sun and warm. Highway 6 climbs as it gets closer to the park and the prairie landscape simply stops and butts right up against the mountains. Not much here in the way of foothills. There is a lookout point just north of the park on Highway 6 where you can pull off the road safely and read about the phenomena, and take a photo of it. Well, not today! We could and did pull in, but the entire area seemed to be enclosed in a kind of fog, or smoke, and a large dark cloud was developing overhead.
So, we continued on, and the cloud was getting darker, and bigger. I thought maybe smoke from forest fires in Idaho or Montana, but it was rain! It started to sprinkle within 15 seconds of entering the park! OK, we bought our entry for the day, chatted with the Ranger at the gate about the rain, and he said it was now forecast to go to thunderstorms on and off all day. Gee, thanks! Check out the Waterton web page, take a look: Waterton Park
After the gate you get to drive about 8 KM and the Park Visitor Centre is on the right. (Yea, with washrooms). By now it is no longer sprinkling, it is coming down quite hard, and Joanie heads for the washrooms, and I manage to get out of the car, find out that my arthritic knee was going to hold up, and I hobbled to the centre. And, yes I did get quite wet, seeing as how I was a ways from the entrance. The lady ranger in the centre was very nice, gave us maps, showed us on the map which road is still washed out from the floods, directed us to where our motel was located, etc., but it is still raining. Check in isn’t until 4:00 and it is before noon now, so we have some time to kill, and we found a nice place overlooking the lake, and we ate our lunch. The rain has slowed and the sun is out, so I got a few pictures of the mountains and the lake.
We plan on taking a boat trip on the Lower Waterton Lake, and went to check that out. It goes at 1:00, with boarding at 12:45 and we are early enough that there is nobody around at the pier ticket booth. On the way in to the park there are some very good places where one can get a great photo of the old, but iconic Prince of Wales Hotel. I got a picture from the pier where our lake boat will depart from, and we decided to go see the hotel, check out the inside shops, and make a reservation for dinner. We have eaten in here before and we always found the food to be very good, in a nice dining room that overlooks the entire lake. We were just in time for “Afternoon Tea” served in the lobby, but at the price they wanted, we decided and justified our decision with “it will spoil our dinner”.
We got back to the pier, got our tickets for the boat ride. The rain has stopped now and the sun is out. The wind however has increased considerably and the lake has some good size wave with wind whipped whitecaps. More on the boat ride tomorrow.
After getting back we checked in to our motel, which turned out to be quite nice, and I hope to have more on that tomorrow too. For the next hour we had our own happy hour in our room and then went to dinner at the Prince of Wales Hotel dining room. Now this hotel does not stay open over the winter, much like the rest of the tourist facilities in the park, and they were closing the following day. The dinner menu was a wee bit restricted since they were closing later tonight, and had run out of some items on the menu, and obviously didn’t replenish the stock. We had a piece of Angus beef, that was tasty, but we both found it tough. The price was OK, considering that any kind of food in a park setting is usually out of sight.
Now, we go back to the room, and see some deer wandering around in the town. Usually there are a lot of them, but right now we saw just a few, maybe 10 in total. With the big ears and the grey hair I assume they were mule deer. They were all small too. Still nice to see them.
So, what with being up early, all that fresh mountain air, happy hour and a full belly, we got back to our room, read the paper for a while, read some of our books and it was not long before we were tucked in and sound asleep.
I hope to continue with the saga of our trip to Waterton tomorrow, but I think this will suffice for now.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
More quotes I like!
“A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”
“The President has kept all of the promises he intended to keep.”
-Clinton Aide George Stephanopoulos
“China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese.”
-Former French President Charles De Gaulle
“A billion here, a billion there, sooner or later it adds up to real money.”
-Senator Everett Dirksen
“Things are more like they are now than they ever were before.”
-Former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower
“When more people are thrown out of work, unemployment results.”
-Former US President Calvin Coolidge
“That low down scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’m just the one to do it.”
-A congressional candidate in Texas
“It is necessary for me to establish a winner image. Therefore, I have to beat somebody.”
-Richard M. Nixon
Funny to be sure! Have a Great Day!