Friday 19th June
We collected our Chevrolet Cruze from Budget Car Rental at Calgary Airport. http://www.thecarconnection.com/overview/chevrolet_cruze_2014
The threatening rain did not dampen our spirit of adventure.
We hit the highway about midday. We had been warned that Motorway, Freeways, Highways and Alberta and for that matter other Provinces, do not have many rest stops or petrol stations or fast food outlets such as we are used to in Australia. Shortly after the rain began we stopped at a small town called Nanton for lunch. I turned on the iPad to review our travel route and received a message to say I had used up all of my 1 Gb of data. WOT THE!!!???
We asked some locals if there was phone box in town.
A Phone booth.
A public phone.
Donnis came to my rescue.
A PAY PHONE.
Oh they said. No we do not have a pay phone in this town of 2,132 people.
Oh! OK! Is there a Telus office in town? Nope. Gotta go to a bigger town.
Next town was Claresholm with a population bordering on 3,758 give or take a few people. Yes there was a Telus office in town and it took all of two minutes to solve the problem. You have only used 22Mb of your 1,000 Mb of data. The Ipad was restarted and viola our data was restored and saved me getting annoyed.
Along the way we saw many signs advising that Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump was ahead. We never visited but many people assured us it was worth a visit. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head-Smashed-In_Buffalo_Jump
At Fort McLeod we turned off on the Crows Nest Trail to Pincher Creek home of a sea of wind turbines dominating the vista. http://www.pinchercreek.ca/business/wind_energy.php
There are 8 wind farms with a total 0f 272 wind turbines already installed. A further 5 farms with another 180 turbines are planned. The area receives an almost constant wind, the Chinook , which roars down from the Rocky Mountains.
We are about to enter the land of 10,000 lakes. (Further north around Cold Lake I described as the land of 1,000 lakes)
The rain and cloud was giving way to blue skies. Yahoo!
We turned off the Crows Nest Trail and drove to Waterton Lakes National Park and the town of Waterton. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterton_Lakes_National_Park
On the approach to town the Prince of Wales Hotel sits on a high knoll of land overlooking the lake and the town. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_of_Wales_Hotel the hotel looks as majestic now as it did when built in 1926.
We booked into the Bear Mountain Motel which advertises small rooms (with tiny shower recesses). There was enough room for our two suitcases.
http://bearmountainmotel.com/ No air con, no fans and only windows on the front. Air does not flow through the units. There was a drip coffee machine but no kettle or fridge, no milk or cream not even powdered coffee whitener. The TV had 3 channels but at least we had a room for the night. This is the beginning of the summer peak season and from this weekend on until September will be summer holidays. All around town and in motel rooms you are reminded this is bear and cougar country. There are tips on how to avoid unpleasant meetings especially for those brave enough to hike the thousands of trails in the park. Encouragingly, recent in town sightings are advised. Nice to know bears and cougars also come into town for a visit. Deer also wander into town (Yes Elk and Moose too) and if you have not yet put a screen around your flower beds, they will feast on your plants.
The views of the lake with surrounding snow tipped mountains are what postcards are made of.
We took a walk along the foreshore and visited Camerons Falls where we met a nation of Squirrels running and jumping in impossible places and begging for food.
The POW Hotel almost dominates the town, overshadowed as it is by those mountains all around.
The lake is bordered on the southern side by the USA. The area was declared a National Park in 1895 as was the Glacier National Park in neighbouring Montana USA. Both parks share the lake. In 1932 both parks were declared the Waterton- Glacier International Peace Park. Monuments on both sides of the border were established.
A tourist boat plies the lake from Canada to the US side giving an historical running commentary along with coffee and cookies.
Guests are allowed ashore on the US side as there are no roads into the US side. Visitors cannot proceed past the Ranger Station unless they bring a passport and are intending to hike the Glacier Park. Once the season proper gets underway everything will be booked up weeks in advance.
A walk around town reveals what we had noticed in the Rockies further north between Banff and Jasper. Local shops and eating houses are hiring. Low paid jobs usually taken on by Uni students during summer break.
After a pizza and a beer at Pearls Cafe Pizza to Go one of the many eateries in town we settled down for the night to watch old black & white movies on the TV.
Tags: Alberta Wind Farms, Bear Mountain Motel, Budget Car Rental, Cameron Creek, Cameron Falls, Chevrolet Cruze, Chinook, Claresholm, Crows Nest Trail, Fort McLeod, Glacier National Park, Nanton Alberta, pay phone, Pearls Cafe Pizza to Go, Phone booth, Phone Box, Pincher Creek, Prince of WEales Hotel Watereton, public phone, Smashed i n Head Buffalo Jump, Telus, Waterton Lakes National Park, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park