So after spending the week in Montana with Ted, Nisa and Aric, on the Friday I packed up Lydia and headed back north the way I had come, but my adventures weren’t over yet. Instead of heading through Cardston, Lethbridge, and back to Saskatchewan, instead I was headed back north and west through Glacier National Park up to Waterton Lakes National Park. There Kerry and our friend Kara would be meeting me for a weekend of camping and hiking!
I was the first to arrive and so I chilled at our campsite for a bit until Kara and Kerry got close. I met them at Bear’s Hump, a nice steep hike along the entrance highway into the park. We gained some serious elevation right off the hop, but were rewarded with the most stunning views of Waterton Lakes and the townsite below once we reached the summit.
We descended eventually and headed to our site to get set up and cozy. After supper we went for a walk around town, found a couple of sets of the Red Chairs, and met some of the “locals” as well. I was already well under Waterton’s spell and couldn’t wait until our big hike the next day – Crypt Lake.
Saturday dawned bright and early for the three of us and we headed down to the waterfront to catch our ferry ride over to the trail head for the Crypt Lake hike. Kerry had done the same hike last summer with his friend Jake and reassured us that we were in for a challenge but a fun one. We had no idea what a challenge it would be! Being that it was the beginning of June, there was still a lot of snow on the trail and our guides warned us to be careful as we disembarked the boat. Kara, Kerry and I got to work, winding our way through forest, past waterfalls and eventually into the shale trail. As we climbed higher and higher we were treated to some of the prettiest views I have ever seen, but also some of the hardest climbing my poor limbs and lungs had done in a while.
But we kept on, through snowpack and narrow ledges until we got to the “fun stuff”, the iron ladder up the side of a mountain, through a narrow tunnel, down to the trail below where it narrowed significantly. From then on you needed to hold on to steel cable that was bolted into the side of the mountain. It challenged both body and mind to get through that section. But it got worse after that. It was warming up and the snow was melting, making it a tough go to carve out enough of a foothold on the trail, and make sure you didn’t slide down the side of the mountain. It was really scary at times, and I did more injury to myself than I had intended – but once we got to Crypt Lake, what a beautiful sight it was.
The hike was about 18 kms round-trip, and it took us the full six hours to complete it (again where I also learned that I suck at descents and my knees really hated me), but we made it alive!!!! Nothing tasted sweeter when we got back to our campsite than a couple of ciders and some Munchies Mix. We celebrated with showers that night and another walk around town before falling into our sleeping bags absolutely exhausted.
Come Sunday it was time to pack up and convoy our way back to the 306. It was a long but gorgeous drive home. I learned that there is so much more to sleepy Waterton and I cannot wait to go back and do more of the hikes next summer!