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Waterton Lakes National Park
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Anne Elliott
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Calgary to Waterton 264 km
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© Anne Elliott 2017
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9 July 2017


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A view from Red Rock Canyon, Waterton

A view from Red Rock Canyon, Waterton
Late afternoon on 9 July 2017, I arrived back home from a wonderful three-day trip to Waterton Lakes National Park. I had just been on a one-day bus trip to this beautiful park on 24 June 2017, so felt very lucky to be returning for a longer stay so soon. I travelled there and back with friend, Darlene, who had very kindly offered to take me, and we had a fun time, seeing so many interesting things. Thank you SO much, Darlene - I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciated being able to go on this trip with you!

Three days of 32C temperatures, and then I arrived home to find that my thermostat read 29C inside my home. I am not good at dealing with the heat and then to walk and hike in such temperatures was exhausting. Back in Calgary, we had already been having a heatwave, but today, 11 July, it rained and temporarily cooled down, thank goodness.

It was wonderful to again be surrounded by such magnificent scenery, go on a few walks/hikes with plenty of time to look for, and photograph, wildflowers, insects, and a few birds and animals. Lots of good company with around 20 (?) people, some of whom I already knew and lots of new faces, too. The trip was organized by Nature Calgary. Everyone was free to go wherever they wanted each day, but for the two nights, we stayed at the very basic but adequate Canyon Church Camp, off the Red Rock Parkway. Dorm-style cabins (about which I will say nothing, lol!), but they do have showers and even flush toilets at the camp. We were fed SO well - lots of variety and good food. We were given two breakfasts and two suppers, plus a packed lunch for the two days. Our huge thanks go out to Jean Kennedy, the camp cook, who cooked and prepared these great meals for us! Jean was there in 2015 and 2016, when I attended this weekend, and it was really good news when I was told that she would be there again this time. The food was so much enjoyed and greatly appreciated!

On our very last morning in Waterton, we got up very early, ready to go on a local walk starting at 6:00 am, led by a young Park Warden. He led us along the road leading from the camp as far as the main road, listening and watching for any birds. Breakfast was half an hour later than usual, at 8:30 am, to give us plenty of time for this walk. While we were eating breakfast, the Park Warden received a call, asking him to deal with a bear that was roaming the campsite just down the road from our camp - most likely the same bear that had been seen the previous two days in our own camp. Maybe the smell of our camp cook's great cooking was attracting this bear, lol!

After breakfast and we were all packed up, Darlene and I drove up to Red Rock Canyon. At Red Rock Canyon, I told Darlene to go on the Blakiston Falls trail if she wished, which is what she did, and I would stay around the Canyon bridge area. I wandered along the edge of the canyon for a while, trying to find a tiny bit of shade. Found a few wildflowers to photograph and there was a spectacular view of some of the mountain peaks.

On our way out of the park in order to return to Calgary, friend Darlene and I had a wonderful sighting for just a few minutes. A blonde form Black Bear was taking a swim way down below us in the valley. A treat to not only see a bear, but a rarer blonde one was extra special.

A quick stop to photograph some Mountain Hollyhock flowers, and then we were on our way out of the park, ready to start on the three-hour drive back to Calgary. Our very last sighting on the way home was when we noticed four distant birds flying over the road. When we caught up with them, we saw that they were four Sandhill Cranes! They gave us a very nice look at them - just beautiful birds.

Three days of 32C temperatures, and then I arrived home to find that my thermostat read 29C inside my home. I am not good at dealing with the heat and then to walk and hike in such temperatures was exhausting. Back in Calgary, we had already been having a heatwave, but thankfully it rained yesterday and the day before and temporarily cooled down. Today, 13 July, we are back to hot weather again.

Our huge thanks to Andrew for organizing this trip so brilliantly! He has been organizing these annual weekends for a number of years now. A great time was had by all.

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