Friday, August 23, 2013

Shangri-La, Siyeh Pass, Waterton --- lots of bears

My cousins Martin Suarez and Mary McCartney above Iceberg Lake in Glacier on the Shangri La off-trail trip

The Shangri-La route
The bears are out everywhere.
They're mainly in the brush stripping the Service berries, huckleberries, and buffalo berries clean.
They don't seem much interested in hikers like me.
I saw seven bears ---- mostly blacks ---- in one day last week hiking in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta.
This has been a very good huckleberry crop.  Like the bears, the berries seem to be everywhere.
We had a visit from Katie's parents who are on their way on a cross-Canada trip in their travel trailer.  We spent three nights with them at Johnson's Red Eagle campground and then another night at Waterton's Western Springs campground.
By almost coincidence we crossed paths with my cousins Mary Irene McCartney from Owatonna, MN and her 22-year-old son, Martin Suarez, at Many Glacier Campground during this same time.  This gave me the excuse to try the Shangri-La off-trail hike/climb with them.
My cousin Mary climbing through Shangra la cliffs

Martin and Mary at Shangri-La Lake
We had a beautiful day for this nearly 10-mile trip that scales about 700 feet of cliffs and descends more than 1,000 feet to the foot of Iceberg Lake.  We had lunch at a gorgeous lake at the foot of Mount Wilbur.
This has been the year for Iceberg, with a trip with my daughter, and then in successful weeks views of the lake, first from the Iceberg Notch and then from the ridge above Shangri-La.  Katie has been there two additional trips with her "Girls in Glacier" group.
Katie coming through Siyeh Pass
The next day Katie and I did the classic Siyeh Pass hike from Siyeh Bend to Sunrift Gorge.  We were joined by a group of college friends from around the country, some of whom had been to the park before.  I enjoyed the joy they got from this hike that travels to an alpine perch for lunch and descends through a series of red shale waterfalls.
With Katie's parents we also hit the Oberlin basin at Logan Pass, the Red Rocks canyon, Blakiston Falls, the Bear's Hump on Mount Crandell and High Tea at the Prince of Wales Lodge.
A black bear mom and cub greedily fed below the lodge, oblivious to the traffic coming and going.
Katie on the Bear's Hump above Waterton Lake

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