Waterton Park, Canada: Day Two

On Sunday, August 8, I decided to go for a nice easy hike, something more like a long stroll through the woods. But a guy in the gift shop at Zum's - where I enjoyed a fine breakfast - convinced me I really should climb the Bear's Hump. Hah. I didn't make the calculation: 700 feet elevation gain in .75 mile is not a long hike, but it is neither an easy stroll. In fact, it's relatively difficult. But I was rewarded with panoramic views, as promised.

  1. The sign did alert me. In case it's not legible in my picture, I'll transcribe:

    The Piikani originally called this mountain Great Bear or Grizzly Medicine Mountain, to honour the special bond between bears and the people. (We are in Canada now, and that's you spell honour.) The Bear's Hump represents the grizzly bear's muscular shoulder. In many native cultures the grizzly bear was, and still is, a very powerful spirit - a spirit which gave them their knowledge of plants.

    Today, this mountain is called Crandell Mountain, but its shoulder is still named the Bear's Hump. It is rare to find evidence of grizzly bears along the trail.

    Here are some things you'll see along the way: Douglas fir cones, Golden Mantled Ground Squirril, Chipmunk, Mountain Pine Beetle, Warring Shamans (well, only if you're Piikani, otherwise they look like two little kids from British Columbia each of whom wants to be IN FRONT), Corn Lily, Stinging Nettle, Cow Parsnip.

    I didn't know all that, I read it off the sign.

    Also from the sign: Napi sentenced the bear to a life of wandering. (I take it Napi is a Piikani god of some sort.)

    I walked very slow, both going up and coming down (coming down was almost harder, and I thought for the first time in my life: I should check out using those ski-poles that lots of hikers use these days.) But it took me exactly 1 1/2 hours. Nevertheless I considered my hiking card punched for the day.

  2. Indeed, from atop the Bear's Hump, the view is spectacular. Here's a shot looking towards the Prince of Wales lodge. It's the peaked-roof thing on a patch of barren land, atop a hill. By the way, the current Prince of Wales has yet to visit, (I believe he goes by the nom de Charles) (speaking French is just infectious when you cross the border!) but the hired staff all loyally wear his family's tartan. I should embarrass some of the fine young people and get a picture later ...

  3. Turning slightly to the right, we see the now-familiar sight of Waterton Lake, ringed by mountains, and Waterton Township. The hiker accidentally got in the picture. No idea who she is. No fool, she is sitting down.

  4. Here we have the Art Shot (tm) - an attempted closer view of the mountains. I was shooting into the light - nothing to be done, I wasn't going to climb Bear's Hump again at 7 p.m. when the light would be more favorable.

  5. I drove 16 km (*) to Cameron Lac (in English, that's Lake Cameron. We are in Canada, and all signs are in French and in English. Does the U.S. Senate know about this?) and it was durn hot hot hot. These two unlikely looking bikers said they liked the sun since they got cold riding riding riding on their motorcycle. We chatted a while. They tried to take my picture (on my camera) but I held them off with my newly-acquired powers of the Bear Shaman. I was THIS close to swimming in the cool lac, clothes and all. I forgot to bring my swimsuit on this trip and boy was that stupid. I could've swam in every place I visited, as long as you brace yourself a bit for that glacial cool.

    (*) 16 km is more than 9 and less than 11 miles. Probably. My computer doesn't do metric.

  6. Proof that you can rent rowboats, canoes and kayaks here; you are also welcome to bring your own boats. No motors.

  7. Another view of Lake Cameron! This time with people in rowboat!

  8. A vertical view of the mountain in back of Cameron Lac! Also with rowboat!

  9. And the Art Shot (tm) of Lake Cameron, framed by the famous Douglas fir (possibly. What do I know from tree identification.) With kayaker!

    Marianne Mueller
    Last modified: Sunday, August 8, 2005, in my room at the Prince of Wales Lodge. The power cord for the laptop reaches the single outlet! Well, that's a tautology - I meant to say, with laptop on desk next to open window letting in beautiful almost watery almost tasty breeze, the power cord reaches the outlet.