Thursday, July 16, 2015

Family Reunion in Canada: Part VIII - Waterton Lakes National Park


I didn't want to hike Bear's Hump again. I've done it before and yes, the view is pretty spectacular at the top, but it's hard, and I'm tired. Oh well! Peer pressure! Plus Missy promised we would get ice cream after so off we went!

[Luke carried baby Dane]

The hike consists of steep switch backs with boulders and large wooden rail road ties to help with erosion. You climb 738 vertical feet in just 0.9 miles. Needless to say, we took plenty of beaks and drank a lot of water.

[Mom, Brady, Missy, cousin Cheryl, and Andie]

Okay, fine, it was worth it!

[Mom and Brady so happy they made it!]

[Luke, Missy, baby Dane and my photo bombing second cousin :-)]

Brady walked the whole way up and the whole way down. He was such a trooper and he definitely deserved ice cream!

[The kids]

After we descended the mountain, we headed to Cameron Lake! My favorite place in Waterton!

Can you see why?! It's gorgeous!

We walked out to the end of the pier and took a few pictures before finding a nice place on the beach to set up chairs and relax. There is a walking trail that runs along side the Lake and a few other hikes you can do from this location. As we were setting up the chairs we heard someone on the water (paddle boat) say that they saw a bear. A few of us took off walking down the trail and there he was!

He came down out of the mountains to get a drink from the lake. In order to get back home he had to cross over the hiking trail and that is what he did, right in front of us! We backed away to give him some space and he didn't give us any trouble. I showed my uncle the picture and he said he was a black bear (don't let the brown coat fool you) and the was probably just a few years old.

After our bear adventure we went back to the beach where we enjoyed the beautiful weather and scenery.

Even though it was glacier water, the kids loved to play in it!

You see those glaciers in the background? Well you can't really see it in the pictures but they are melting and creating a waterfall. That water that the kids are playing in is straight from the glacier! Those kids are crazy!

The family started a debate about whether that mountain and glaciers on the far side were part of Montana or British Columbia (we were in Alberta). I got out my map and started chanting "USA USA USA!" That far side is actually Montana! So even though we were IN Canada for the 4th of July we could still SEE the United States! 

[Brandon and Cheryl]

[Mom, Janice, and the baby]

[Luke, Andie, Me and cousin Cheryl]

After Cameron Lake we went back into town and got some ice cream! Two scoops since we made it to the top of Bear's Hump!

We walked across the street to an open field where we ate our ice cream. Then Ryan started picking on his younger brother so they decided to rumble! Watching two 6'9 guys wrestle was very entertaining. And Luke was victorious! :-) After the boys fought all the little kids wanted to get involved so the match continued with Ryan vs The Kids. Of course, Ryan won. He was a lot more gentle on the kids then he was on Luke though!

After ice cream we walked down the road to a park where the kids ran around and the adults talked. The trip would not come to an end without some bumps, bruises, and scrapes! Poor little guy! He was okay though.

[My dad playing with Brady and Dane]

The next morning we all got up, said goodbye to the family, and headed out on the road in various directions. Most headed south to Montana but we went north to Calgary to catch our flight. Ryan, Missy, Brady, Dane, and I were all on the same flight from Calgary to Chicago so we were able to go though customs together and hang out at the airport before our flight left. 

We only had a 3 hour and 45 minute flight to Chicago and I slept the whole time. It was great! When we landed I said goodbye to my brother and his family.

I had not seen Josh in two weeks so we decided to meet up at a Starbucks that was on my way home and on his way back to his apartment in IL. It was so nice to see him even though it was just for an hour or so! I'm so sad he was not able to come with me! Next time for sure!

Thanks to my amazing family (immediate and extended) for making this trip so great! Everything went extremely smoothly and I look forward to our next reunion in Utah in two (or three) years! Love you all!

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