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Aug 19 2013

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Glacier and Waterton Lakes Parks

05 August, 292 Miles

05 August, 292 Miles

The next couple of entries are going to be heavy on pictures and light on text. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Our ride today would take us back into Canada via Glacier National Park in the US then Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada, the two parks being combined into a ‘Peace Park’ that is a World Heritage Site. We were in for a great day!

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In the distance we could see the sharp outline of the mountains in the park getting bigger all the time. It was impossible not to be impressed by the majesty of the scenery. My language skills are still not good enough to describe what we saw and how it made us feel. It’s enough to say that every bend had a new vista which was as equally impressive as the last. I lost count of the number of pictures I took.

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The Going to The Sun road was completed in 1932. It runs through the park and crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. I assume the road building was another of those work schemes to help pull the country out of the Depression. Before it was built it would have taken 3-4 days to get through the park. Even today the road is only open during the summer months as it is so high and narrow it makes it difficult, if not impossible, for snow ploughs to operate.

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Large RVs and trailers are prohibited which is a result for us but it was still very busy and the traffic was slow with few passing places. The low point from a traffic perspective was when we were overtaken by a wasp which then alighted on the screen in front of us! The bike seems to attract lots of wasps whenever we stop, maybe it’s the abundance of dead insects; it really does need a clean.

We briefly called into the visitor centre which was also busy. When I came back to the bike having got our park stamp Kevin was chatting to another rider. He’d trailered his bike from Winnipeg because “We’re not like you”. We weren’t entirely sure whether ‘being like us’ was considered a good thing or not.

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Inevitably there were roadworks and we got caught in this queue for quite a few minutes. Long enough for it to start to rain.

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The light rain developed into quite a storm and at one point we were being pelted with hail stones. It didn’t last very long and having helmets and proper jacket/trousers kept the worst of it away. I didn’t like to think about those Harley boys who were now behind us with no helmets and just jeans.

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By the time we reached Canada the rain had pretty much stopped. This is the Canada/US border in the park. It wasn’t very busy and we were through quickly. You can see the border stretching off into the distance, it really was impressive; I wouldn’t like the job of keeping the grass cut.

We immediately began to see why the national park is called Waterton Lakes.b130817 130805 029

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We stopped at the visitors centre and got an accommodation list as we wanted to stay in the park. The first place we tried was full but the receptionist suggested a ‘sister hotel’ in which we were able to get a room. The town was tiny so everything was nearby.

We decided to temporarily abandon our ride until we want to stop then look for accommodation strategy as it’s peak season and we’re in a tourist area so accommodation is difficult to find. Unfortunately the WiFi in the hotel was down. It’s funny how important internet access becomes when you’re on the road, how did we manage without it?

We wandered into town to soak up the atmosphere then had a good meal in a place called Zums Eatery and Mercantile Restaurant which has lots of old 1960’s Coke adverts on the walls. Their WiFi was working so we were eventually able to find somewhere to stay the following night.

We had some lovely ice cream to eat on our short walk back to the hotel and were looking forward to tomorrow’s ride to Banff.

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