Wowed by Waterton

Crossing into Canada surprises us every time with how different it is, even though we were only an hour north of the US.  Check out the line across the border where all the trees are cut.  When we crossed the park to the east side, we parked our camper at one of the most magical spots in the park, Many Glacier, and hurried off to Waterton for the day.  We were short on time, and trying to squeeze a visit in before my sister arrived the next day.  Similar to our experiences in Banff and Jasper, our trip to the visitor center wasn’t as informative as we had hoped.  Our first stop was Cameron Lake.

While beautiful, we were directed to take a hiking trail “between the  two outhouses” to an alpine lake.  It wasn’t quite what we expected (we found it odd that we were the only ones on this trail… apparently the visitor center did not recommend it to others).

Afterwards, we made a quick stop at the amazing Prince of Wales hotel.  What a magnificent place!

The next recommendation (from a fellow blogger) was our favorite!  Red Rock Canyon had easy access from the parking lot with an immediate reward.

The further you hiked into the canyon, the higher the walls became, and the more “butt slide” waterfalls we came across.

  

  

The kids had a blast walking through the water, climbing along trees,

  

and sliding on their butts down the cool waterfalls.

  

  

We would have loved to spend just a day in Red Rock Canyon, and had heard about some amazing long hikes in the park that we didn’t have time for.  On the way out, we headed to the driftwood beach across from the Prince of Wales hotel.

I was determined to get some pictures with these cool teepees!

As the sun started to set, the kids asked if they could check out some of the wood along the beach.  What unfolded next is not something I am proud of…

To my utter dismay, I looked up as they scattered along the beach, only to see a huge black bear trotting along the shore.

Ethan and Ellie were right next to me, so they crouched down low as we watched him pass us… with no time to get back to the car.

He picked up his pace as Chuck tried to go through the forest to get to the other three kids.

He was moving much too quickly for us to go ahead of him, so we were stuck behind him, reaffirming what they should do as they saw the bear.  They were not scared at all, and were more excited about  earning points for this caliber of wildlife.  On the other hand, we were petrified.  Chuck continued to head towards the kids, bear spray in hand.

Finally, the bear passed them, thankfully showing no interest at all in them.

Finally, we were all together, safe at last.  Bears are fascinating, yet so unpredictable.   A peaceful moment on the beach changed in an instant and if that bear had other things on his mind, circumstances could have been really bad.

We were so thankful to be safe, but took a moment to take a few shots of the big guys paw prints.

Before we left, more tourists arrived, with no idea what had just occurred on our private little beach.  You never know when a bear will decide to make an appearance, and this was a big wake up call for us to keep our kids much closer.

The bison paddock turned out to be a bust, although we did find one lone bison.

We were able to witness another amazing sunset on the way out,

and even more cows as we worked our way back to the US border.

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