Monday, June 20, 2022

Five days in Glacier, Waterton

Katie below Blakiston Peak, Waterton Park's highest mountain

The Camas, my personal favorite wildflower, was in copious bloom in both parks

Katie with Lineham Falls in the background

A grizzly on the Lake Sherburne shoreline in Glacier
One of three black bears we saw on our Lineham Falls hike at Waterton

Katie in front of Waterton's Prince of Wales Hotel where we stayed

A moma moose at Lake Josephine in Glacier

On the Piegan Pass trail in Glacier

We eventually got turned back by snow, short of Morning Eagle Falls in Glacier

My generous in-laws gifted us a fabulous two-nights at the Many Glacier Hotel and two-nights at Waterton's Prince of Wales Hotel.

I hadn't stayed at either in over 40 years, and it was quite a treat.

At Glacier we had a hike in the snow within a mile of Morning Eagle Falls below Piegan Pass, as well as up to Apikuni Falls, and Fishercap Lake.  We saw grizzlies and a moose on the flats, as well as a sheep at the falls and a mother moose and calf in Lake Josephine.

At Waterton we had a breathtaking hike to Lineham Falls, a flower walk along Linnett Lake/Straits, a trip to Blakiston Falls in the Red Rocks area, and enjoyed downtown Waterton and the new Park Headquarters/Museum.  We saw three black bears below the Lineham Falls.  The park is recovering nicely from the 2017 Kenow Fire that wiped out three-quarters of its trees that shut down hiking for several years.  I found that the fire has dramatically improved the views, and the lush, green vegetation and flowers which are a byproduct are a real plus.

With Covid, we experienced staff shortages at Many Glacier Lodge and Swiftcurrent restaurant, which meant that we had to head out of the park if we wanted a quality meal ---- which we got at Two Sisters Cafe.  Some of our accommodations problems were because of poor staff communications, and we had an exceptionally good experience in the Many dining room once we explained our troubles.  We had a balcony overlooking Swiftcurrent Lake, which was particularly sweet at sunrise and sunset.

The Prince of Wales, now 95-years-old, is a creaky, drafty, but grand wooden structure with views out over Waterton Lake back into the U.S.  It was better staffed than Many with its staff dressed in smart red plaid kilts. Unfortunately, we were put in a room on the fifth floor, which meant we put in a lot of walking, since the small elevator is impractical.  We enjoyed sitting in the large open main room with its views of the lake, and listening to the international crowd with their many languages attracted to this venue at the southern end of the Canadian Rockies.

While most of the Many Glacier road construction is quite nice, a three mile section from the Sherburne Dam to the Park entrance remains unpaved and is a mess.  I'm told the road will be left as is because it sloughs away anyhow.  Prepare to have your car washed after this experience.  Very unpleasant.

We may have hit the wildflowers at a peak and were particularly successful in finding orchids at Linnett Lake in Waterton.  I was impressed with a copious bloom of tall and deep blue Camas flowers on the roadsides in both the U.S. and Canada.

I hadn't been on the Lineham Falls Trail in more than 20 years when I climbed Mount Blakiston, the highest peak in Waterton.  On that hike I missed the falls when I ascended a gully to the top, missing the falls in doing so.  It is a substantial waterfall.  We went about a half mile beyond the end of the trail, following an unofficial trail about mid-way up the side of the falls for a tremendous look.

There was considerable traffic on the Many Glacier Road, much less in Waterton, which doesn't seem to have recovered from the Kenow Fire yet.

I loved our Many Glacier stay, but admit I'm more charmed by Waterton Park.


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