Christian Kemp's USA travelogs

< Previous | List | Next > Spending all day in Glacier National Park, with a short jaunt into Canada

My camp site at St. Mary campground I awoke later than planned, but was relieved to see that everywhere I looked, there was a perfect blue sky. My first stop for the day was to a spot overlooking Saint Mary Lake. The difference to the previous day, when the sky was overcast, was staggering, and I'm sure colours would have been even more intense during the first few minutes of sunrise.

I continued west on Going-to-the-Sun Road, stopping at what seemed to be every other mile to shoot photographs and just take in the views that had still been hidden in clouds the day before. I arrived at Logan Pass, but after a short stroll I was still left with the same old question of whether I wanted to strain my knee or play it safe, so I returned back to the car.

At the Canada-United States border Since I was this close to the Canadian border, it suddenly occurred to me that I could do a "border hop" - to drive across the international boundary not because there wasn't anything in particular that I wanted to see, but just to be able to say that I'd been to Canada. So I left the park at Saint Mary and headed North on "Chief Mountain International Highway". Along the way, I still stopped a few times; and then in late morning I entered the Canada side of "Waterton Glacier International Peace Park". I had left Montana, and was now in Alberta.

A short while later I entered "Waterton Lakes National Park". There was a separate entrance fee, obviously; and I quickly reconsidered my decision to pay with a 50 US$ bill when I was told that all change would be returned in Canadian currency... I wasn't planning to stay long enough to make use of any left-over Canadian money, but thankfully still had a suitable smaller bill somewhere.

The most famous sight along Middle Waterton Lake is the Prince of Wales hotel, which sits on a hill on the North shore. I took a few pictures, and then headed on to Cameron Lake. Looking south from here, the first mountain in sight was already across the border. But by this time, it was about noon, with associated flat light. To make matters worse, I'd discovered that there were quite a few dust spots on my camera sensor. Unfortunately, I had brought nothing with me to get rid of these, so that put a bit of a damper on my photo enthusiasm. So I walked back to the Trailblazer and then headed back south. Getting back into the United States wasn't a big deal - I showed my passport and answered a few questions, but that only took a minute.

I wasn't feeling all that energetic, so I called home to confirm that I was still alive; then stocked up on some supplies in Saint Mary. My final destination for today would be the South-Eastern corner of Glacier National Park, to visit the Two Medicine Area. Once there, I found an interesting book in the Two Medicine Camp Store and some honey-roasted peanuts, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed for the rest of the evening; to the extent that I didn't even care much about sunset.

Miles driven: 209mi (336km)

Campground Accommodation: Two Medicine Campground (Glacier National Park): $15

Written February 4th 2008 in Bivange, Luxembourg