Monday, January 18, 2010

Trip to Southern Alberta 2008 – Waterton - 2

On our second full day in Waterton, we woke to  nice sunshine, so decided we would take a drive south to try and find the 3rd Campground we had heard about.  Waterton National Park abuts Glacier National Park in the U.S.A., so heading south meant we’d be heading to the U.S. border…but with no plans to actually cross over…


the road quickly climbed in elevation.  The first viewpoint gave this spectacular view of the foothills and the plains beyond..


this shot shows a bit more of the flat plains…a perfect illustration of the song about Alberta that has the line “east side flat, west side vertical”….


this shot has more emphasis on the ‘vertical’…


and this one shows the terrain as you get close to the border.  We turned into the campsite we had been looking for on the Belly River – it is advertised as being ‘primitive’ which means it is more our kind of site….this day, the 30th of August, it was pretty busy and hot and dusty, but bears investigation another time, perhaps in the ‘off season’.

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this was just another view, looking west towards the mountains, taken about half way back to Waterton, where we stopped at the picnic area just before the gates, to stretch our legs….

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Ernie and Shantz cooling off while I poked about looking for anything interesting to photograph…


I’ve done my usual ‘filing away’ of the results, but I remembered I had seen this Hairy Woodpecker there, so went digging in my ‘bird folder’ for it.


also remembered it was alive with Cedar Waxwings and found this shot.  By this time it was getting late, but we decided to drive around the Buffalo paddock to see if we could see any Bison….

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and yes, there they were, looking for all the world like they were just out there roaming over the prairies…

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as long as you ignore the fence!

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as we left the Buffalo Paddock, we made one more stop at a rest area located just past the paddock entrance….

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where I was thrilled to find these Liatris in flower.  As a gardener I was very familiar with this interesting flower, but it wasn’t until that moment that I realized our cultivated form was actually derived from a native wildflower!

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Liatris were scattered all over this dry prairie…there is a good sized clump, still in full flower, in the bottom left hand corner of this picture.

Waterton is actually a fantastic place for wildflowers, in fact they have a week long Wild Flower Festival in mid June each year – something we discovered purely by accident on our second trip to Waterton, when we had actually been staying at the nearby Police Outpost Provincial Park (another fantastic small, primitive type campground), and had driven into Waterton just for the day.  For once I didn’t feel out of place parked at the side of the road, on my hands and knees taking wildflower pictures – cause everybody was doing the same thing!!!


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