Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Canadian Rockies + Glacier of USA Adventure Trip ( 1) : At Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park was the very first National Park we hit during our Canadian Rockies + Glacier of USA adventure trip.

Where The Prairie and Mountains Meet, Waterton Lakes National Park, AB, Canada
Waterton Lakes is best known as a National Park where the Prairie meets the mountains. The rugged and windswept contours of the Rocky Mountains rise abruptly out of gentle prairie grasslands, surrounded by beautiful and ooooohhh so soothing lakes.
Waterton Lakes 
Prairie, Lake and Rugged Mountain Peaks @Waterton Lakes National Park
@ Waterton Lakes National Park
Waterton Lakes was our homebase for 3 days for our scheduled exploration of two neighboring National Parks, Waterton Lakes and Glacier of USA, both forms one single park, known as Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and World's Biosphere Reserve.
Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort, our temporary shelter for 3 days inside Waterton Lakes National Park, with our rental car

those people in the picture are part of the EXPLORER tour, catered to hiking and photography enthusiasts, not merely stop and go tourists. EXPLORER TOURS, OR HIKING WITH DEEPER EXPLORATION FOR PHOTOGRAPHY, are about $3500-$5000 per person for about 7- 8 days, not including airfare. Stop and go Canadian Rockies tours are way cheaper, about $1500-$2000 per person for 7- 8 days, not including airfare. We don't join either of the two tours. Stop and go sightseeing tours may be cheaper, but not our kind of trip, as we feel trip is lacking excitement without the hikes. However, the EXPLORER ( deeper hiking + photography ) tours are way beyond our budget. Thus, we always go for self-planned and self-guided tours, where trip planning has become part of the excitement, and we get the EXPLORER kind of tour or more for much less the EXPLORER tour price! :)
Waterton Lakes is very quiet compared to its neighbor, Glacier National Park of USA, and compared to the other National Parks in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park and Banff National Park. Though less crowded, but does not mean less beautiful. In fact, its serenity added more allure to the place.

Here are some more pictures of Waterton Lakes from our Waterton Lakes wandering:
our first wildlife sighting in the trip, a deer in the prairie

wildflowers galore

the meeting of the mountains and the prairie
reflected mountains @ Waterton Lakes
more wildflowers

rocky mountain bighorn sheep

from Canada ( lake) to USA ( the lake shore to the other side next to the snowy mountain )
bear garden ( this is a typical nature's garden that bears love )
Would we visit Waterton Lakes again? Definitely, as we learned of interesting hikes in this park. Maybe, in our next visit, we'll either stay at Glacier of USA or Waterton Lakes of Canada, and our entire trip will just be in this two parks, hiking everyday.

Target hikes for next time:
1. Grinell Glacier Trail @ Glacier National Park. This is our 2nd failed attempt, first attempt was 2012, it was closed due to bear activity. This time, 2014, the trail was still again closed because of dangerous steep snow crossing with cliff drop offs. I asked park ranger if I made the wrong decision of visiting July, if we should have visited August, and he told me, "NO, July is the driest with less thunderstorms. August, there's always that threat of thunderstorms in your hike, and you may not enjoy the hikes well if you keep on thinking of retreading once you see dark clouds looming. Only that this year, we had too much snow, and well, you could not predict nature. July is the best time in the park."
2. Iceberg Trail @ Glacier National Park 
3. Crypt Lake Trail @ Waterton Lakes National Park

These 3 hikes makes us dream again of going back to Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, someday! Ahhh, so many trails, so little time!!
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  1. Target hikes?

    More pictures of the Nature will keep coming!!!

  2. So beautiful of a place to see! I love your shots!

  3. Wow!!!!!! Screaming mentally in delight Betchai!!!! Just looking at the photos of the prairie, the wildflowers galore and the lakes and mountains makes me dreamy..... whew, breathless here: )

  4. It's really charming to see those rocky mountain bighorn sheep. Up close. :)

  5. Nice! It looks so serene and untouched. Could have visited Canada last week but decided not too. Now I wish we did! :( You wouldn't want to miss these kinds of places.

  6. I ask myself why are people fighting everyday, just look around the beauties surrounding us. We don't need too much money, that's just greed, a piece of bread, a hot cup of simple coffee, and a little hut will do. So sad when our world is so beautiful. And you are perhaps those few who sees nature better than others ! What you see is truly therapeutic.

  7. Beautiful photos! One of your Waterton lake photos shows a very quiet and still body of water. Wonder if you can kayak there?

    The wildflowers are pretty too! We also hike to see the wildflowers here but they are not as abundant as the previous years.

  8. Waterton Lakes is a beauty to behold. The site serene atmosphere is that inviting. Thanks for the virtual tour Sis Betchai.

  9. You capture the majestic view P-E-R-F-E-C-T-L-Y! The 2nd and 3rd photo looks fantastic.

  10. Looking at the lake relaxes me, the green and the vast beautiful view makes me want to explore more while I can!

  11. I absolutely love the flower shots! They are so pretty! And I cannot believe it is THAT expensive to join an explorer tour! OMG, with that amount of money, I could have paid for my son's next three semesters in college! You made the right choice and planned your trip yourselves.

  12. Wow, those photos of the majestic mountains and lake are so breath-taking! I don't think I need to travel there myself to see those places because looking at your photos already gave me that feeling that I was virtually standing there, taking the beauty all in. Wow! Just wow!!! Reminds me of the TV series in the 80s "The Little House On The Prairie." Beautiful! This is nature, at its best...

  13. It's been a long time since I was able to see your nature photos ate and I must say, they're really beautiful as always! Thanks for sharing the photos about he mountains :D

  14. i hope you get to hike Grinell Glacier Trail next time Beth. indeed, too many trails and too little time for you. ;)

  15. I love how Waterton Lakes looks like. So peaceful!