Last May, I had the chance to visit the quaint gem of a place that is Waterton, Alberta. It’s definitely the unsung hero of Alberta’s breathtaking landscape; I’d only heard of the place because a friend on our staff had organized the trip for us. With over 30 staff on the trip, we had the chance to stay in one of the most beautiful accommodations I’ve ever slept, with breathtaking sunsets every morning and cows joining us every night. By the way, some of these photos were taken by my good friend Nathan. Check him out!
The first thing you need to know about Waterton was that there is wildlife EVERYWHERE. When my car first arrived in the town after about an 8 hour drive from camp for a little look around town, we were shocked at how freely the deer and sheep roamed the streets…..
Beyond that, Waterton is an outdoorsy little town. With the time we didn’t spend sharing meals together or relaxing the mansion of a lodge we rented, we were hiking the trails of the bordering mountains. First, we hit up the Goat Lake Trail. Recommended to us by the above-average in attractiveness park ranger, we thought it would be a wonderful hike through the mountains for our averagely-fit group of about 14 or so young, hip camp counselors. We were horribly, horribly wrong.
The hike started out splendidly. We were crushing through the 5k (out of a total of 14, round trip) which was red rock, flat land with a couple of small rivers to cross. Easy peasy, right? Suddenly, we arrived at the “real” trailhead, a steep incline for a grueling 2km with the entirety of the hike’s 400m elevation gain. We didn’t even get a view at the top! Just a view of a lake. To be honest, by this point we were so happy to have made it that we didn’t mind the glacial temperature of the lake, the snow we had to cross before reaching the aforementioned lake, and the labor-intensive death trap that was the 2.1km (to be exact) traverse up the hill. The pictures turned out nice, though…..
The next day, we cut our losses and completed part of the Horseshoe Basin trail. It was much easier than the previous days’ hike, and just as, if not, more beautiful! We were sharing the trail with a lot of horseback riders, but it just added to the charm. After taking a quick pic and asking around for what the caption should be, “Life begins where the paved road ends” was born.
We ended the trip with some water sports! My friend Kat and I rented a 2 person paddle board, while Makayla and Dan rented personal kayaks. It was a super cool (not to mention COLD) experience, paddling away in the mountains.
Waterton was a magical place and if I ever find myself in that region of Alberta again, it will definitely be a place on my list to revist. If the time of year happens to be more in the summer rather than late spring, all the better, because high quantities of snow prevented us from doing some of the hikes, and in the case of Goat Lake, made the hike even more difficult than it already was.