We drove through some magnificent country on the border between Alberta's plains and its Rockies to Waterton Lakes National Park.
This relatively small park is the Canadian part of the Glacier-Waterton Lakes International Peace Park, the first example of a cross-boundary park. We had been to the adjacent Glacier National Park in Montana five years ago, but didn't make it across the border. We rectified that by staying for two nights in the Waterton Lakes townsite.
The Canadian National Parks are quite different than the U.S. ones in that all three in which we stayed had developed towns within them. In the U.S., there are lodges and campgrounds, but they operate under strict rules and are isolated from the commercial ventures outside the park. I think our approach is better, since it provides for more pristine environmental conditions.
Nevertheless, the Waterton Lakes townsite is a charming little town, if a bit schizophrenic. It simultaneously reminded me of Atlantic City, a very small upper midwestern town, and a bit of Canada. The town has maybe 1500 residents now, but by the start of October the number will be about 50. The real owners of the town are the deer, which can be found everywhere and are shown below occupying the baseball diamond.
The high point of our stay was a 2.5 hour boat trip from the townsite to Goat Haunt at the upper end of Upper Waterton Lake. Goat Haunt is actually in Glacier National Park, since the boat crosses the boundary about halfway down the lake. The boundary is defined by a 20' wide cut that marches from Puget Sound to Lake Superior.
|The Boundary Cut into the Trees|
|Goat Haunt Ranger Station from Visitors Center|
|Prince of Wales Hotel|