Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 09/06/2014

Photo taken on August 26, 2014

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Anne Elliott
southern Alberta
near Canada-US border
Waterton Lakes National Park
Red Rock Parkway
shaly siltstones
Red Rock Canyon

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Red Rock Canyon, Waterton

Red Rock Canyon, Waterton
I really prefer to not have people in my photos, but sometimes people just don't move away, lol. I waited and waited, hoping that I would soon have the view to myself, but it never happened. They do give an idea of the size of the creek at Red Rock Canyon, though. Unfortunately, we got to this location a bit too late to catch the sun on both sides of the creek - how the colour changes when in shadow.

"The rock layers in Waterton are primarily eroded sediments laid down particle by particle at the bottom of an ancient sea which existed 1,500 million years ago. Evidence of this ancient seabed is provided by fossilized ripple marks and salt crystal casts. These rock layers make up the park's geological foundation.

The park's unusual red and green rocks are shaly siltstones called argillite. The red rocks contain oxidized iron; the green rocks contain unoxidized iron. Beige/grey/brown rocks are limestone or dolomite. A noticeable black band seen on the face of some park mountains, called the Purcell Sill, is igneous rock."

Friends, Cathy and Terry, and I, spent two nights (26 & 27 August 2014) in Waterton, driving the four different roads within the park for those two days, including the Red Rock Parkway. The third day, we drove eastwards from the park before driving all the way back to Calgary. Of course, we couldn't have had a more beautiful area to explore during our three days! Waterton Lakes National Park has amazing scenery and wildlife. The weather forecast that I saw before we left Calgary said that we were in for three beautiful days of sunshine - too often, it can be rainy weather. So, luck was on our side, giving us warm, sunny days - until the BIG STORM hit! We had driven eastwards from the park, hoping to see Yellow-bellied Marmots and, if we were really lucky, a Burrowing Owl. The storm was approaching very fast, around 5:00 p.m., and when we tried to get away from it, it quickly engulfed us. Someone from The Alberta Tornado Watch identified this storm as a Mesocyclone. Thankfully, we were not right in the very centre of it, but it was still a very scary experience.

A few of the things we saw during our three-day trip included fantastic scenery, 4 Black Bears (including one that was swimming in the lake), Bison, Deer (including several that we saw in the village of Waterton, where we stayed for two nights at the clean and friendly Bear Mountain Motel), Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels, Chipmunks, various bird species including the endangered Burrowing Owls (new to all three of us), a few wildflowers, several Yellow-bellied Marmots (a first for me!), a few different insect species, and a family of Dusky Grouse (uncommon in Waterton Lakes National Park). I even got the chance to see three or four new-to-me old, wooden grain elevators.