Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day 3 continued: Waterton, Canada

Waterton townsite

After about an hour and a half on the road from Many Glacier, dodging the considerable numbers of monumental cow-piles on Chief Mountain highway, we arrived at Waterton, Canada. The town itself is tiny, nestled in a windy little spot on the water surrounded by mountains. The lodge we stayed at has gale force winds no matter what the weather - even the birds seemed to struggle to fly correctly with the wind constantly buffeting them.

We walked down into town and were shocked at how tame the local mule deer are - accepting leaves and branches from your hand and sleeping in people's front lawns:
mule deer vegging out

My boyfriend, being the in-shape, full-of-energy, and sprightly person that he is, suggested we embark on a "moderately strenuous" (but quick!) all-uphill hike behind the Waterton visitor center. I discovered very quickly that it is only quick when you're in shape, full of energy and sprightly like my boyfriend. But if you have even a little junk in your trunk, have been cheating on your 30 minute every-other-day TV workouts, and have eaten too many flaming hot Cheetohs and Nacho cheese Cornnuts in the car, beware. It's rough.

So we took a lot of breaks so I could gasp like an 80 year old with lung disease and stare at the local wildlife:
baby squirrel spotting

See that cutie - he's a baby! I know that because a second before I caught him following his slightly larger mama through the brush. She ran away and he stayed behind, perched on this rock, staring at us. :)

I must say the view from the top was worth it:

And it might have been even more picturesque if I hadn't been wheezing like an old geezer. :) Here's something weird about me that may surprise you when you read my next post - scrambling around on sheer cliff edges doesn't scare me. I have a very odd fear of heights in some situations but strangely, I'm fine on hikes like this...

Then, before my tired-ness could really hit me we drove on to Cameron Lake, which looked so frosty, snow-capped, and gorgeous:
Cameron Lake

See that dark green spot at the bottom of the mountain? If you have binoculars with you, you can actually watch grizzlies foraging for food there. On our way back, we saw plenty of deer and the cutest small black bear crossing the road, as relaxed as can be:
small black bear

Yeah, I know that picture's not very exciting, but it's the best we could get from our car window. I wasn't going to be a bozo like the other people who stopped near us, got out of their cars, and chased him into the brush with their cameras. Seriously. Sometimes when bears attack, there's a very good reason.

And why chase wildlife when some of them just trot right up to your car window?
more deer

And just because I'm curious - how many of you have ever seen a bear in the wild? I think it would scare the bejeesus out of me if I saw one on a trail... :)


IamSusie said...

I've seen a pair of black bears in the wild at the Rocky Mountain National Park. They were coming down a hillside in search of food in the late summer. I was safe in the car.

I just returned from our vacation in the Colorado Rockies and we were very affected by the altitude, even in Denver. We all had restless surreal dreams every night, but were energized every day for mountain hiking. We saw yellow-bellied marmots getting fat in the alpine tundra along with elk, lots and lots of elk. I love your pictures!

lindamade said...

don't worry, i wheeze like an 80 year old and i can no longer blame the elevation. sigh.

we saw a pair of black bears in grand teton-- a mama and a cub. I could not BELIEVE the wackadoos getting out of their cars-- hello, number one reason for a bear to attack? (when cub is threatened).

we still haven't made it up to glacier...i hope we get there this summer!

Brook said...

first of all I don't see any junk in your trunk... but going on a uphill hike when you are not used to it can be tough for anyone!! What camera do you have??? all of your pictures are so amazing.... no matter what they are of they are just perfect! I'm sure its you not the camera but just curious!

floresita said...

SO cool, Susie! I love outdoors vacations, but yeah the altitude is kinda freaky... I can't wait to see the pics you took! :)

Linda, people act pretty crazy around wild animals. What cracks me up most is that the adage "monkey see, monkey do" is ALWAYS applicable, too. :) You will love Glacier... I couldn't even capture half of it, it was amazing!

Awww, thanks Brook. I have a little Canon point and shoot - it's nothing special in itself but I do swear by Canons. You get an awesome value for a good little camera, and I'm definitely an amateur, but thanks! And, you can't see the junk in the trunk because I NEVER photograph the trunk. You just have to trust me. It's WAY large. :)

susanc said...

Your pics are amazing Floresita. The scenes are awe-inspiring. I would so love to go on a trip like that some day. I love hiking, especially if it's somewhere as amazing as where you were! The critters are all so gorgeous too.

My cousin's husband was camping with a church group up in Yosemite last year for a hike up Half Dome and a bear came within five feet of him when he went out to "do his business". He stood up making himself look as big as possible and made noise, and thankfully the bear left. He said it was very scary. I can't even imagine. I tease him now calling him "Grizzly McGrath"! He can laugh about it now after the fact.