Monday, September 22, 2014

My Rocky Mountain Road Trip - Days 9, 10 & 11

Friday Sept 19

I woke up at 8am, the dorm that I stayed in had only one other guest, an older guy, but for some reason he got up every 1-2 hours and was wearing sandals which made a loud clicking noise on the floors. Needles to say I didn't sleep very well. The hostel was otherwise really awesome, very clean and at a beautiful location. I checked out and made a quick stop in town at the visitor center to use their wifi and post some updates to my blog, I bought some groceries and breakfast at Safeway and hit the road. I took HWY 1 East and then HWY 40 South through Kananaskis Country which was beautiful. 

The fall colors where amazing and I made lots of stops to take pictures and do some timelapse photography. There where lots of clouds out but it was otherwise sunny, which made for great pictures. 

Once I got in to eastern Alberta the landscape changed a lot. Just before dark I arrived in Waterton Lakes National Park. I was lucky to be able to find a good spot to car camp before it got dark.

Saturday Sept 20 (day 10)

I woke up right at sunrise. When I was just about to step outside my car, I spotted a black bear only about 20ft away, so I waited a little longer before getting out. When I got out I could see that some people where camped nearby and had left all sorts of stuff laying outside on the picnic table and around their tent, including a cooler with food in it. The bear was now at their campsite and going though all the stuff they left out. Fortunately it wasn't able to open the cooler and got scared when a bunch of people showed up along the road trying to take pictures. The bear took off in the woods a little ways but still stayed close by, presumably waiting for the people to leave. It really pisses me off when people are so dumb and careless to leave food and other thing laying outside. Bears are normally not dangerous and usually scared of humans but when things like this happen they start to associate people with food and they will become problem bears that could be aggressive and even attack humans. When this happens they have to kill the bear. I really wanted to give these people a speech about bear safety but they where either still sleeping in their tent or they weren't around. The bear stayed around though and now a whole group of people had gathered to take pictures. I left and luckily not much  later I saw a Park Warden driving by, so I flagged him down and informed him of the situation. He thanked me and took off with his emergency lights on. I kinda wanted to go back and see what was going to happen but instead I choose to spend the morning exploring Waterton Lakes National Park. 

Around 1;30pm I drove across the border in to the USA. I stopped for groceries in St Mary, Montana and then went to Glacier National Park. The sign at the entrance said that they where closing the going to the sun road on Monday morning, so I was happy to get there just in time to still experience this iconic drive. I didn't have much time left so I drove across Logan Pass with a few photo stops here and there. 

I found a beautiful camping spot right on Lake McDonald, where I watched the sunset and spend the night.

Sunday Sept 21

I had set my alarm early and woke up just before sunrise. I packed up my stuff, had breakfast and right when it started to get light out, I drove to Logan Pass to do some hiking. The sun was just coming across the mountain tops when I got there, the perfect time to start my hike to Hidden Lake. 

I hiked a little ways beyond the overlook and found a ledge overlooking the lake below. It was the perfect spot for a break. 

I was enjoying the sunshine and beautiful mountain views when all the sudden I hear something behind me. I looked over and there was a Mountain Goat standing about 10-15ft from me, looking right at me. 

I didn't even have my camera ready but I was bale to snap a few pictures with my phone. The Mountain Goat walked a little further away from me and then laid down on the same ledge as me. It stayed there for about 15 minutes and then about 7 other Mountain Goats showed up. I now had my camera ready and spend the next hour taking pictures of all the goats. A bunch of other people had showed up to and where doing the same thing. The goats where not scared at all and let us come within about 30-40ft. I got some really amazing pictures and I would say this was definitely one of the best days of my trip, at least so far. Most of the goats had radio or GPS collars on and I read later that they are doing a study in this particular area. I hiked back down with some other photographers and we chatted along the way.

I spend the afternoon driving the rest of the Going To The Sun Road and exploring some more of the park, it was beautiful and the fall colors where amazing although nothing could top my goat encounter that morning. 

Towards the afternoon I drove to Kalispell and got some groceries and dinner.
I spend the night at one of the Forest Service Campgrounds along HWY 2, just outside the National Park.

No comments:

Post a Comment