Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 07/03/2015

Photo taken on June 21, 2015

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Waterton Lakes National Park
Red Rock Canyon
Panasonic DMC-FZ200
Anne Elliott
southern Alberta
shaly siltstones
contain oxidized iron
near Canada-US border
Alberta Native Plant Council
21 June 2015
Botany Alberta 2015

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Red Rock Canyon, Waterton Lakes National Park

Red Rock Canyon, Waterton Lakes National Park
"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."

This photo was taken on 21 June 2015, the third and last day of a wonderful trip down to Waterton Lakes National Park with friends Sandy and Heide. I was standing on the bridge, looking down at the tiny stream. Though I don't like getting people in photographs, at a location like this, they do give a sense of size. We didn't do any walking, as there were so many people visiting at the same time as us - horribly crowded! I was happy as can be, though, to just have the chance to see the canyon and its amazing colours again, and grab a few shots.

I was so lucky to be invited to join my friends on a three-day trip to Waterton Lakes National Park, from 19-21 (inclusive) June 2015. We met up with other members of the Alberta Native Plant Council for their annual Botany Alberta weekend. Most people who attended stayed at the Crooked Creek Campground, a 5.6 km drive east of the Waterton Park Gate on Highway 5, but my friends and I stayed at the Crandell Mountain Lodge on the edge of Waterton town. The ANPC people had a list of species that they hoped to find, and they were very successful.

Our stay down south overlapped the annual Waterton Wildflower Festival, but we came across very few people on our various drives and hikes. Needless to say, I was extremely fortunate to spend three days with people who are very knowledgeable about plants and many other things. This meant that I got to see many wildflower species, including several that were new to me, such as the gorgeous Mariposa Lily. It was one of the flowers that was on my mental Wish List - and there were hundreds of them to be seen! I had also never seen the spectacular Bear Grass and I was so thrilled that there were still several plants in bloom. Absolutely made my day!

Our two main hikes of the weekend were the Bertha Lake Trail as far as the Bertha Falls (on 20 June), and the Crandell Lake Trail (on 21 June). Makes me smile when a described "short, easy hike" in a book or on the Internet turns into a full day of exploration along the trail, taking hours to reach the destination, though returning to the cars in a much shorter time. Our walks/hikes are very slow-paced with endless stops to look at/for plants and to take photos. This makes it possible for me to go along.

The wind made photographing plants a real challenge, including the beautiful Mariposa Lilies in the meadow along the Hay Barn road. Though I took plenty of photos, I wasn't sure that I would end up with any that were sharp enough. Trying to catch a quick shot when a flower is blowing in and out of the viewfinder is not easy! Unfortunately, I'm no longer able to get down and take macro shots (my lens needs to be about 4" away from the subject), so my photos have to be telemacro.

I've just been trying to find a list of plant species in Waterton Park, but have so far been out of luck. I do have the book, "Wildflowers of Waterton Park" by Jacinthe Lavoie and Ian Wilson, which has an Index of Plant names, but I was hoping to find a list that I could print out.

It's going to take me ages to type descriptions for the various photos I'll slowly be posting, and I will no doubt keep adding new bits and pieces over time. There is just so much information I want to add, but my descriptions are already way too long. Also, my photos of quite a few of the plants will be posted for the use of ANPC members and are, unfortunately, really poor images. Need them added to my Waterton Lakes album, so please bear with me : ) Luckily, you don't even need to look at them.