We took a drive to Canada yesterday to have a look at Waterton NP. From St. Mary it is only about 20 miles to the Canadian border, and another 20 or so to Waterton. Passing through customs took only a minute, even though we had neglected to sign our passports. Funny since we have been to Mexico twice and no one ever said anything!
The official name for these parks is Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, quite a mouthful, but the US and Canada joined forces in 1932 to jointly manage the parks, hence the name. We had magnificent views along the way.
Many years ago, National Geographic Magazine featured Waterton-Glacier and had a photograph of the Prince of Wales Hotel on the cover. After seeing that photo, we have always wanted to come here. This is what it looks like as you approach.
It is a beautiful old hotel, but when you are actually in it, seeing it up close, it lacks the majesty of the National Geographic photo.
We decided to eat lunch there so we could relax and enjoy the view.
They had 2 vegetarian choices on the menu, a salad for 11+ Canadian dollars, or a grilled portabello mushroom sandwich for $14, on of all things, Texas toast! We were both in the mood for a good salad, and this one had lots of veggies and other things on it. We probably sat for over 20 minutes before our food arrived, and as we began to eat, Jim realized they had not brought us any bread or crackers, and there were no croutons on the salad, as stated on the menu. After at least 5-10 minutes, he came back to check on us, with no bread or croutons. We asked again and he finally returned with a small bowl of croutons. I had eaten most of my salad by this time, since it was 2:30 and I was starving, when I realized there were other things missing on it as well. Our waiter was nowhere in sight, but I got another one to bring me a menu. Sure enough, our salad was also missing black olives, cucumbers, and sunflower seeds! When he finally came back, I relayed this to him, and he wrote down all the missing items and said he would be right back. When he finally returned, he told us it was a kitchen error, and there would be no charge. So there really is such a thing as a free lunch, at least in Canada! Suffice it to say, we were underwhelmed with the Prince of Wales Hotel. Guess some things seem more romantic when you just daydream about them and don’t actually get to be disappointed by the experience.
On our way out, this tour bus was parked in front of the hotel. Jim just loves the look of them. The ones in Yellowstone were painted yellow, and they run on propane. The driver was opening the roof.
Following lunch, we went over to Waterton Village, a very quaint town on the lake. Deer were grazing by many of the shops and lodges but Jim refused to photograph them because he said it reminded him of a petting zoo, since they were so tame. We then hiked up the very steep Bear’s Hump trail behind the visitor’s center. Only 3/4 mile but climbs 700 feet in that short distance, and really got us huffing and puffing. The 360 degree view was well worth the climb, though.
This is Waterton Village from above.
We then drove to Red Rock Canyon, about 10 miles from Waterton. Walked the nature trail along the very deep canyon, watching quite a few people enjoying the water. We were cold just walking, and I know the water must have been freezing, but I guess the Canadians can tolerate it more than us former Floridians
Made it back through US customs, with our newly signed passports, without incident.