Waterton Lakes National Park

Last stop in Canada for this trip: Waterton Lakes National Park. As I was checking into the Crandell Campground for 4 nights, the ranger warned me that a bear had just been seen walking down the main road into the camp. I was to keep a bare campsite. I had no problem with that. I had not yet seen a bear and was going to do nothing to encourage a visit.

I had two hikes on my list: Crypt Lake and Carthew-Alderson.

Crypt Lake starts out with a boat ride across the lake to the trailhead. From there you climb steadily until you reach the real reason people hike this hike. A ledge, a ladder, a natural tunnel and more ledge.

Walking the ledge leading to the tunnel
Walking the ledge leading to the tunnel
Cllimb this ladder to access the natural tunnel. Duck walk leaning left on the way to the lake, duck walk leaning right on the way out.
Climb this ladder to access the natural tunnel. Duck walk leaning left on the way to the lake, duck walk leaning right on the way out.
It's not scary! You can see the end.
It’s not scary! You can see the end.

Once you reach the lake, you can take a mixed trail of scree and stone all the way around the water’s edge. At the far south end of the lake, you briefly enter the USA, then its right back to Canada.

Carthew-Alderson begins at Cameron Lake and gradually climbs to the spectacular Carthew Ridge with views of alpine lakes, mountain ranges and the Alberta prairies. I ran into Linda and Howard from Armstrong, Alberta about half way up. They invited me to join them for the rest of the hike, and I’m glad I did. They were awesome hiking buddies and told great stories! The one Harold told about setting up a tent in the Bugaboos during a blizzard only to have the tent blow off the side of the mountain was WAY better than my “tent ripped to shreds” story.

Linda and Harold tackle Carthew Ridge
Linda and Harold tackle Carthew Ridge

When we reached the ridge, the wind was amazing. It was the kind of wind that blows your foot away from where you intended to put it.

We found shelter on the east side of the ridge for lunch. The views were just amazing.

Lunch and break from the winds
Lunch and break from the winds
From the top of the ridge; the blues are so blue and the greens...well, you know
From the top of the ridge; the blues are so blue and the greens…well, you know
Looking up the scree to people walking the ridge
Looking up the scree to people walking the ridge

That is one of the best hikes I’ve ever. I know the company had a lot to do with it, but the scenery was just out of this world. The only thing I would do different: you can take a shuttle to Cameron Lake and take the Carthew-Alderson all the way into the Waterton Townsite. 11 miles all told. We were only 4 miles from the townsite where these pictures were taken. I would have LOVED to walk it all the way to the townsite and right into a bar for a pint. Next time.

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