Tuesday, June 25, 2024

June 25 – Boat Cruise and Cameron Lake

One of the must do things at Waterton Lakes National Park is to take a boat cruise down the lake.

For the last 2 days the winds have been so strong that it would not have been a fun experience. Today was probably as good as it gets here. Mostly clear skies and a light wind from the north east, only enough to cause a ripple on the lake surface. Going down the lake the boat practically matched the wind speed so it felt like no wind. Going back we were into the wind and it did get a bit chilly but we just added some more layers.

When I went to ticket office the other day I looked at the times for the wrong cruise. A shorter one goes a 2 pm but I wanted the longer one to the end of the lake. When we got up this morning we thought we could have a leisurely breakfast and relax. Then, thankfully, I checked the website and our cruise left at 10 am. It was bit of a rush but we got ready in time.

It’s going to take a while to get used to not having the Banff crowds around. I said it felt weird not being able to book in advance and to just show up an hour early. When we got to the dock there were only about 6 people waiting. The boat only has 20 seats on the open upper deck so it was good to get there early but a half hour would have been OK. Everybody that showed up did get on. We were told that things will be very different once the coming long weekend arrives.

Since we had some extra time we walked out to the end of the pier.


I never did take a picture of the boat but it hade 20 open upper seats, about 12 somewhat open seats at the back on the lower level and probably 30 in the cabin.

It is 45 minutes to go down the lake, then we dock and get 30 minutes at the US Ranger station, then 45 minutes back to Waterton.

In hindsight, for us, I am not sure the cruise was worth the expensive price. We have been on some other cruises in amazing places, Milford Sound in New Zealand, Maligne Lake at Jasper, Western Brook Pond in Newfoundland, for example that sort of make this one seem a bit tame. Still enjoyable but …

Off we go. The mountain sure dwarfs the hill that the Prince of Wales Hotel sits upon (lower right).


The 2017 fire left its mark until partway down the lake.


And then mostly green returned. A very conical mountain.



When we crossed the border into the US were could see the clear-cut marking it on both side.



There is a dock near the bottom in the picture above. I forget how often (15 years I seem to remember the cruise guide said) they have to clear the entire line, from the Pacific to practically Ontario, of any trees and large vegetation, The dock it to allow access but them they have to lug all the heavy equipment through the mountains.

Jennie thought that this small cloud over the mountain looked like a Chinese dragon.



Looking towards the end of the lake.



Porcupine ridge in the center and the snowy white peak of Longfellow Mountain, after the poet, far in the distance in the lower left.


Then we arrived at the end. Even though this is US soil you don’t need a passport unless you are staying to do a long hike.


There didn’t seem to be much to do on shore other than walk along the shoreline and the views seemed better from the boat so I and another couple just stayed on board and stared.

The view across the bay was pretty good. You can see the US ranger station in the lower left. If you passed it you must have a passport and go through customs.


Jennie got off and explored the beach.


And other things.


Heading back.



A photosphere.

And almost home.


That round hill over the town is called the Bear’s Hump. There is a trail to the top that I might do, if we run out of things. As we left this morning we saw someone at the top waving a flag at us. I don’t know why I didn’t think to take a picture.

We had our lunch on the trip back and it was now only 12:30 so we decided to head up to Cameron Lake. The road to get there is 15 km long through a fairly narrow canyon created by a river from the lake.

Lots of nice views but so many dead burnt trees.



My Banff worries kicked again as I wondered if we would be able to find parking this “late” in the day. It was not a problem. A very large lot that was maybe a third full. This weekend could be another matter but we will be gone by then.


I guess we are getting a bit jaded but it was another in a long line of lake surrounded by mountains. It’s just here all the trees are dead.



Me taking this photosphere.


This girl had said that if her brother jumped in that she would. He did.


There is a trail that runs up the side of the lake but even it was a little disappointing. I had hoped that it would give us a nice close full open view of he wall of a mountain at the end of the lake but no.

This is the best we got heading in.


This deer was on the trail munching away and gave us the eye as it moved aside and we passed by.


Some more wild flowers to keep us interested.





And what is a day without a waterfall, however tiny.


This was how the trail ended.


Just a large platform in the middle of the forest with no views, saying STOP because the rest of the trail was very closed in and this is grizzly bear country.

I looked at where we were on Google Maps and even it said the place we were at was called Grizzly’s Garden.  Note:  the bears here are vegetarian.


Also note that the wall at the end of the lake is in the USA.

Back we go.



They rent all sorts of people powered watercraft near the parking lot.


Not a bad day and every one can’t be mind blowing..

1 comment:

  1. You must be getting sensitized to the mountain views! They're really amazing! Love that photosphere! I remember how relaxing the less crowded nature of the area was after the craziness of Banff!