Day11 Thurs, Aug 9 - Waterton, AB to St. Mary, MT

Trip Start Jul 30, 2007
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12
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Trip End Aug 20, 2007


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Flag of United States  , Montana
Thursday, August 9, 2007

Day11 Thursday, August 9 - Waterton, AB to St. Mary, MT (Many Glacier day one)
Miles:140


SUMMARY
-Final Morning in Waterton Parks, Canada
-Where the buffalo roam...

-USPS Saves the Day
-We booked into a ..(guilty look)......KOA?!

-Crossing our fingers for the Grinnel Glacier Walk
-Many Glacier Hotel is like something out of the old movies.

-Redrock Falls to Swiftcurrent Trail - lazy afternoon of hiking, lakes, waterfalls and a moose
-Many Glaciers Spotting Team - plenty to see if you just look up

-Ranger talk or Pie? Hmmmm
-A Disappointing Night



DETAILS
Final Morning in Waterton Parks, Canada
Another good night's sleep in our good old dome tent.
 
Rory finally made his inaugural pot of espresso in the new espresso pot..
We've been lucky enough to find, and lazy enough to use, several good coffee spots so far so the pot bought in Spokane has stayed in the box. 
Rory thought this morning a cup at camp would get us moving with no delays.
It was welcomed and delicious.
 
We figured to get back to the Many Glacier/St. Mary area in time to avoid getting closed out of the popular camp sites at Many Glacier. 
We hit the road about 08:00 figuring we'd eat late breakfast or early lunch at the Park Café after securing our camp site. 
Left over bagels would hold us 'til then.
 
Our final opinion of the Waterford Park town campsite is 'Only OK'. 
It was convenient to activities in the town and the park. 
It was fairly quiet. 
For the premium price paid, the facilities could be in better shape. 
There is plenty to see and do in this park so we will be coming back. 
We met a fellow who has a private campground (with WiFi) just outside the park. 
We may check that out or the in town hostel on our next visit.
 
Where the buffalo roam...






While we were in a kinda hurry, we did want to miss the Waterton Bison Paddock on the way out. 

This is a drive through fenced area where the small herd of Bison are currently being kept. 
We were glad to stay in the car and get a fairly close look at "North America's Largest Land Mammal". 
They are dramatically photogenic.







 
The grey skies were turning blue as we drove the Chief Mountain Scenic Highway back into the US. 








No delays at the US port of entry.










USPS Saves the Day
We stopped in Babb at the US Post Office. 
This was our first use of PO General Delivery. 
Rory needed to be resupplied with a prescription and asked his mom to have it sent to General Delivery seemed to be the only option. 
This worked well.
 
We booked into a ..(guilty look)......KOA?!
Considering our options and realizing we would probably eat every meal at the Park Café, we decided to check out the St. Mary KOA. 
Hot tubs, laundry, WiFi, hooray! 

We paid the premium price and went off to brunch at the Café.
This, of course, included pie. :)

After lunch we spent the afternoon in Many Glacier. 



Crossing our fingers for the Grinnel Glacier Walk

Rory and Chere were wait listed for the next morning's 08:30 boat ride to the Grinnel Glacier Ranger Walk.
This is a hike to one of the park's largest glaciers on a strenuous all day hike. Climbing 1600ft
 
Chere didn't feel up to making the entire hike but was considering join the group until the going got rough and then dropping out to sketch and head back down at her own pace.
That is, if the rangers agreed with the plan; so far their attitude is one of "join in and enjoy!" so it should be ok.



Many Glacier Hotel is like something out of the old movies.

Huge tree trunks held up the 3 story open lobby.
Skylights and tall graceful windows everywhere made the room glow with the beautiful blue skies.

Everywhere you looked was a huge mountain that urged you to look for animals climbing its trails.
Not even trying, you were rewarded with sightings again and again.

Luxury and comfort nestled in the wilderness.
It was amazing just to walk through.


Redrock Falls to Swiftcurrent Trail - lazy afternoon of hiking, lakes, waterfalls and a moose
We spent the afternoon walking to Redrock Falls and up the Swiftcurrent trail.  
















Skies were blue and the several scattered lakes were beautiful. 
Other hikers had seen a male, female and two young family combination in the same area but they never materialized for us. 
A couple of hikers pointed out their large tracks in a lake bottom, a sign we would have missed. 
We saw one large, unconcerned female moose munching in the lake greens. 
 
It was nice to wander on our own schedule so we meandered up the valley until we approached the steep sides of the Swiftwater Pass. 
Bear poop on the trail and the start of the incline told us it was time to mosey on back. 
We'd gone out thinking to walk four or five miles and ended up doing seven or eight.
 









Many Glaciers Spotting Team - plenty to see if you just look up
It was early evening and a group was gathered in the trail head/camp store parking lot. 
Binoculars and spotting scopes pointing at the surrounding mountains. 
This is a daily activity coordinated by the park. 
A volunteer was pointing out coyote, sheep and bears right above us.
 

Ranger talk or Pie? Hmmmm
We decided not to hang around for the 8:00 PM talk on birds of Glacier, as interesting as Rory would have found it. 
We had yet to set up our tent and did not want to be too late to get a good meal at the Park Café.
 
There was a 45 minute wait for a table at the café, just time enough to buzz over to the KOA and set up the tent before it got dark.  
We got back to the café in plenty of time for our name to be called.
We had another great meal topped off by sharing a piece of healthful warm pecan pie ala mode.

 
A Disappointing Night
It was now approaching 9:30 at night. 
Back at the KOA we both needed showers and Chere wanted to do some laundry. 
Rory found the men's showers unoccupied and managed to get clean with no wait. 

Chere was unable to find a free shower for over an hour. 
It seemed like there was a late arriving large group that was tag teaming the available showers. 
This will piss one off after a while.
 
All clean and fresh and still slightly damp, Rory went to see how Chere was doing. 
As he walked down the camp ground road he heard the KOA utility vehicle, a little ATV sort of thing, roaring up behind him
... surely they will slow down
.....ROARrrrrrrr....
and a cloud of dust settles on our recently clean and fresh camper. 
This will piss you off.
 
Rory found Chere feeling pretty frustrated. 
Not only could she not get a shower but the internet connection did not seem to be working. 
KOA management was closing up and claimed to have just 'reset the server'. 
Rory's PC managed to receive one e-mail before it hung up. 

A few pings to the internet showed that packets were taking one to two seconds to get out and come back instead of the milliseconds that they should have been taking. 
Did they say high speed internet or just internet? 
 
Chere never did get her email but eventually got showered.
We went to our late bed feeling disappointed in our campground selection.

Other than that the day had been great.
We looked forward to an early start so we could get onto the Grinnell Glacier Ranger Hike the next morning.
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