Saturday, September 17, 2011

Land Like No Other

I was excited to have the opportunity to explore an area that turned out being land like no other!  I have been hiking in Waterton National Park before but not in this part of it.  We had two destinations for today with the first being Carthew Summit and the second Carthew Lakes.   The Summit destination is to the top of that peak on the far right.  
It was a fairly easy trek with lots of gorgeous sights.  Our first short stop was at Summit Lake at just over 4 kilometers into our day.  We had cloud cover which didn't allow for the greatest photo of the Lake but it was pretty to sit beside for a few minutes.  One of the most gorgeous sights of the day came 15 minutes after leaving Summit Lake.  About 25 meters (80 feet) to our right on an open grassy slope was a healthy, shiny coated, well behaved black bear.  It was so busily engrossed in forging, it allowed us a few seconds to admire and snap a shot or two. Then one of the other most gorgeous sights was this mauve/rouge slope which makes me think pyramid.  We by-passed this our way to the summit.
I quickly got my summit shot before piling on three more upper layers. It was cold and wicked windy here.  You can see the trail we took along the left side of the red ridge and then along top of the ridge with a tiny tiny rocky section to the top.
We spent maybe 15 minutes at the summit before scurrying down to shelter and carrying on to our next destination.  A portion of the trail reminded me of Zion National Park and Arches National Park which are both in the red rock canyon country of Utah.  This type of trail along with a little rock hopping lead us to the Carthew Lakes.  
The turquoise lakes against the red rock was an amazing sight.  I hear that it is even more beautiful on a clear blue sky kind of day.  Although, I like that the clouds make it a little more dramatic looking. The trail follows around the lakes and we took all the trails to enjoy every part of the lakes that we could.   We took our lunch and snack breaks in sheltered areas as wind gusts were picking up speed as the afternoon went on.  
On the return portion up the red slope, the gusts blew me up the hill and at times off the hill.  I even hunkered down in spots waiting for the gusts to pass.  In one spot I grabbed hold of a sign post and held on for dear life.  Waterton is known for its winds so I was not surprised at its wickedness. 

This National Park is also known for high chances of wild life sightings.  Here is that well behaved black bear.  On our return visit to Summit Lake, we watched this moose for about 10 minutes until it went into a quick swim mode to our side of the lake.  We packed up and moved on and let it enjoy its territory.  Marmots were out in full force near the first Carthew Lake.
It was a day of land like no other and lakes galore.  In addition to Cameron Lake at the trailhead, the three Carthew Lakes and Summit Lake, we also passed by a view towards the US Border and Nooney & Wurdeman Lakes.  
Our last stop was at Summit Lake before ending our hiking day with 4 kilometers to go from here.  This is where we watched the moose and the cloud cover cast the beginning of a pink hue onto the water.  

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