My wedding pictures are in at last! I posted my favourites on my Winter Wedding page so go check them out now!
I had a half day from work on Friday so of course I made plans to get outside and to the mountains for snow shoeing. I had originally planned to go up to Bertha Falls but when I pulled in there was so little snow that I opted to go on the tried and true trail to Cameron Lake.
I got a late start and didn’t hit the trail until 3 pm.
I took the side path rather than the main trail, which is the trail I have taken cross country skiing and snow shoeing in the past. I was shocked at how much better shape I am in compared to my last snow shoe excursion. I wasn’t breathing as heavy, my legs weren’t as tired, it was awesome!
It was just me too. I didn’t see a single person on the trail. I also forgot my ipod so instead of listening to music like I usually do, I enjoyed the sound of my snowshoes crunching, my breathing, and the birds in the trees. Other than these sounds, it was completely silent. I did find myself wondering what I would do if a cougar attacked me. Ha ha! I have been alone in these mountains a lot without any trouble but once in a while I do wonder.
I didn’t make it to Cameron Lake though. I was going along at a good place, but when it hit 3:45 and it was getting darker very quickly I got nervous and turned around. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck up there in the dark with no light! It was a lot of fun, but I would have had more fun if I had a companion.
No, not my baby. Ha ha! On Saturday, my friend Catie and I went to Waterton with her baby Olive for a hike. We hiked to lower Bertha Falls and then went down to Bertha Bay to enjoy the beautiful scenery there. We calculated we did about 8.2km that day. I love having my hiking buddy back (and a new one!)
My mum came into town for a short three day visit and I took Wednesday off to spend the day in Waterton with her. I had to cram as much Waterton fun as I could in one day and I think I did a good job- I should be a tour guide!
First off was a quick stop to Prince of Wales to check out the historic hotel and take a photo from that scenic view point.
Then it was off to Bears Hump. I was so excited to school these old folks but for some reason I was DIEING. My legs felt weak and it was a struggle to hike up this. It’s a difficult hike but usually not that difficult. Oh well, they loved the view (who wouldn’t). The best part was on the way down we raced my mum. I thought her knees would give out and she would stop and walk but she jogged down the whole thing! I was very proud of her.
I have wanted to hike to Crypt Lake since I moved to Waterton. It is rated one of the best hikes in Canada and so I had to do it. Yesterday I finally got my chance with my little cousin Quinton. Guides say that this hike is about 8.7 km each way and takes about 6 hours round trip. It took Quinton and I 6.25 hours to complete it and we ran down for 20 minutes so I would suggest you schedule at least 7 hours for it.
To get to the trail head you need to take a shuttle or get yourself over via some sort of water vessel. The shuttle is through Waterton Cruise Line and is $20 for a round trip shuttle. This year their shuttle times are at 9 am and 10 am and return shuttles are at 4pm and 5:30 pm.
The first part of the hike is very easy, it is flat and through an alpine forest. There is a sign about 1km in to go to Hell Roaring Falls which is 1km off trail. The guide on our shuttle suggested doing that on the way back and I can see why, I was too beat on the way down to add another 2km onto my hike.
I was stoked to see my first bear grass at the beginning of this hike. I usually hike later in the year (Late July- September) and miss it.
After a slow, meandering, and flat walk through the trees the trail started to climb and we came upon a cave underneath a large snow pack. Of course we had to go under it and explore.
After this ice cave we started to ascend out of the tree line and into rocky terrain. There were a number of switch backs, I didn’t even notice how many until the way back down.
This was the point where we also started to encounter snow on the trail. The boat guide said there was some snow but we weren’t aware of how much snow we would be walking through on this hike. One older couple couldn’t continue on because they didn’t feel safe trying to walk across the slick snow pack on such a steep incline.
After a lot of switchbacks and snow covered areas the falls came into view and we were getting closer to the ledge and the cave.
We passed through what used to be a back country campground, complete with hitching post for horses. I wish Parks Canada still allowed camping there because that would be an amazing overnight trip.
As we approached the ledge and cave we looked down into the valley and saw this spectacular view.
Then we got to the cave! Yeah! This was what I had been waiting for. You climb a metal ladder and then have to crouch and crawl through a short cave to get to the other side.
After the cave you get to walk along a narrow rock ledge past Crypt Falls. A steel cable has been installed for safety as it’s a long drop down. I felt like the most hard core hiker ever walking along that ledge.
After the ledge it is a short uphill walk to the lake. However, it was anything but easy because the trail was completely covered in snow from this point on!
Here is a short video of us slipping and sliding through all the snow.
But then we finally made it to the lake. It was still almost completely covered in snow!
After a peaceful lunch by the lake we headed back down the mountain.
Here is where our hike gets a little funny. When we hit tree level again and the path flattened out Quinton told me it was 3:40 and if we ran we might make the 4 p.m. shuttle and not have to wait until 5:30 p.m. I thought we were pretty close to the landing so off we went running down this trail. After a long uphill climb, and manoeuvring through the snow my legs were dead and I was huffing and puffing. Quinton is training for a marathon so he was gone. I was able to push through it by imagining there were zombies chasing me and I had to run or die. But when he yelled we had four minutes and we hadn’t passed the sign for Hell Roaring Falls I knew we had miscalculated and were definitely not going to make it. I started walking and told Quinton to go ahead and jog on for the work out. We were still about a half hour walk away from the landing! All that running for nothing!! Tsk! Tsk!
I made back to the dock by 4:45 and had 45 minutes to sit by the water and relax and stretch.
However, I will say that I found the scenery even prettier on Goat Haunt and that was a super easy hike, no climbing. So if you are a beginner hiker or have bad news but want a beautiful hike, give it a shot.
I love living so close to a beautiful place like Waterton and I got some much needed exercise in my favourite place.
Lower Bertha Falls is a very easy hike about 3km (6km round trip) with very little climbing. It offers amazing views and has a few benches placed along the trail to rest. This is a great alternative to Bears Hump because it is mainly flat and all ages can finish this one.
After our little hike we took our road bikes and headed to the Kootenai Brown trail. This bike/walk path was built last summer and it goes from the town site to the park gates.
To end my long weekend with a bang I made my way out to my fave place (Waterton) to see my bestie Keirstyn and for some much needed hiking. The forecast was +10 and the town site is almost snow free already.
HIKING BEARS HUMP
After my fun with Keir I headed to Bears Hump for my first hike of the season and I was pumped! I got a little thrill putting on my hiking shoes again.
When I started the hike, the trial looked good. A little soft with some snow but nothing too bad.
Then it quickly turned to this! It was so slick the whole way up which made the hike twice as hard. It was actually worse coming down because I didn’t want to lose control and slip and smash my head on a rock. At some points I was crawling on my hands and feet backwards to avoid a slip.
But as always, Bears Hump is worth the effort.
Last Saturday, I went up to Waterton sans boyfriend with ipod in hand to try out my new snowshoes.
Since I was by myself I didn’t feel like going off onto a trail in the woods like Rowe or Crandell, so I went on the Cameron Lake trail since it is open and has a lot of people there during the weekends.
I learned that my snowshoes are not walking snowshoes, they have some major claws on the bottom and were made for serious hiking, therefore the walk on the compact snow on Cameron Trail was kind of boring.
I went off trail for a bit to try out my snowshoes on fresh snow and different terrain. They worked out great but was it every a workout lifting my feet in that snow with those shoes on!
I made it to Cameron Lake finally, huffing and puffing and happy to see it again.
After I was done and changed, I was literally drenched in sweat from the workout and my bum was already feeling sore. According to the Self Calorie Burn Calculator I burned 1120 calories.
I met up with my old Waterton roomie Keirstyn for dinner (awseome brushetta, a huge cheeseburger and sweet potatoe fries) and a long overdue catch up.
All in all, it was a lot of fun, but I am definitely going to go on some more challenging trails with them and I’ll take Ryan or a buddy with me too.
While I was dying to try out my new snowshoes over Christmas break, I went cross country skiing in Waterton on Monday with Ryan to enjoy our last day of winter break before going back to work.
We rented our skiis from Waterton Lakes Lodge again for only $15 for the day. It’s a deal, but I don’t know how people could go the whole day because cross country skiing is exhausting!
On the drive up to the Cameron Lake trail we passed a trail on the left marked Dipper with the cross country sign. I thought it would be a lot of fun to go on a trail through the woods rather than on the much-used Cameron Lake trail. Big mistake. This trail was a blue diamond trail (intermediate) meaning that it went up and down and up and down.
It also didn’t help that the beautiful blue skies and shiny sun that I relished on the drive over made the snow really sticky and heavy so we were forced to walk more that glide. And I kept falling. Several times, again and again.
One of Ryan’s ski bindings were broken and so his foot kept coming out which was really frustrating.
After about a half hour on this trail, we decided to turn around and go to the Cameron Lake trail. Sadly, my beloved Roxy toque that I had shoved in my pocket came out at some point on the way home and is now a gift for the next skier who comes along. It was old, and had coffee stains on it but I was still sad to say goodbye.
The Cameron Trail was nice. As soon as we started, we saw another trail veer to the left and we decided to take that as it seemed less populated. We were right and we went for another hour before my arms and legs were yelling at me and we had to turn around. What I didn’t realize is that we were going at a slight incline that whole way so the way down was a lot of fun. I think I could even try downhill skiing now. Ok..maybe not. But it was a lot of fun to crouch down and let the skis do all the work.
It was a gorgeous day to be in the mountains and I plan to go again on Saturday to try out my snowshoes and have dinner with my old roomie Kierstyn.
In the meantime it’s time to get back into the swing of things. Work, gym, cleaning house, visiting grandpa at the hospital. It was a great holiday and I only wished it could have lasted a little longer.
I drug Ryan out to Waterton to go on one last epic hike of the season. I don’t know how the summer went by so fast but now I will not be finishing the Triple Crown of Waterton. But I thought I would at least accomplish Akamina Ridge, a feat that I didn’t accomplish and will now explain.
Ryan is not a hiker; he laced up his street shoes and had one last puff before we started our hike.
The first kilometer or so is an easy, steady uphill walk until you come to the border line that crosses you into B.C.’s Akamina-Kishena Provincial Park. A map is also next to the sign to let you know what trails lead where.
Very shortly after passing the invisible provincial border, we came upon this sign. I chose to go left to Akamina Ridge, but I knew it was possible to go straight to Wall Lake first and on to Akamina Ridge. As soon as you take that left you pass an old abandoned ranger headquarters.
Right behind these buildings is a very short path to Forum Falls.
After the falls you begin the ascent toward Forum Lake. I would call it a medium climb, watch out for all the tree roots on the trail. Toward the top you reach a marsh covered with a thin man made boardwalk to walk across.
Shortly after this marsh, we got to Forum Lake and sat down to eat lunch and prepare for the climb along the ridge.
Once we finished eating we were ready for the steep climb up the side of this lake to the ridge.
Now here is where the true adventure begins. This climb was steep and my hiking style is to take several 15-30 second rests as I hike. Ryan was getting annoyed because his style is to push through until you are there. We finally get to the top and the trail split into two. We could see Akamina Ridge on our left and below us, Wall Lake.
Sadly, I had not read enough on this hike to know exactly where to go. So I went by sight (I had seen many photos of Akamina Ridge) and I began to go left toward the ridge, only to come to a very steep scramble. As I began to scramble up, Ryan lost his temper. He was in street shoes and had no traction on the shifting terrain and I didn’t even know for sure if this climb would take us where we wanted to go. So we turned around and went back to the fork and started on the second trail that started to go down toward Wall Lake. I knew this wasn’t right either because we had to hike the ridge. Increasingly frustrated with not knowing where to go, Ryan and I began to bicker and in a temper I told him we were done and going back.
Have you ever been in a fight while hiking? It’s pretty funny. I would storm ahead of him only to stop until he was in my view to yell and keep going. I was mad, not really with him but in general. I have never NOT finished a hike! I couldn’t believe that I was turning around and not finishing what I set out to do. The achiever in me was dying, calling me all sorts of names and it just made me more angry.
Halfway down, my temper had cooled and we made up. We even ended the hike holding hands, and though the achiever in me was still mad, we both agreed it was a good day and we enjoyed each others company.
So now I have to attempt Akamina Ridge again next year. Which I guess I would have had to do anyway to complete the Triple Crown.
On a side note, I was so happy to have my new filtered water bottle. I always run out of water on my hikes; during Crandell and Goat Haunt I had to ration my water and during my climb to Mt. Vimy I drank out of streams straight. I decided to change this and bought a Bobble water bottle. I love this because it saves me from having to pack water around. Note: I have not been paid or anything for this, I just really like my water bobble.