So on the evening of my "Bug Out" of Banff. I stayed at a good little budget hotel in Pincher Creek, Alberta that was run by Margaret Cho's mother. I swear the accents were identical.
Monday morning I left early and as soon as I leave the town boundaries and crest a little hill I can see the Rocky Mountain Front of Waterton National Park on the horization rising up out of the grassy plains of southern Canada. Feels good so far. 30 minutes later I arrive in park, stop at the visitor center, open the car door and.... no bug!! Already I like this place.
Turns out I'm too late for the 8am shuttle to do the one way Carthew-Alderson hike but I'm just in time to catch the 9am water taxi to do the day hike at Crypt lake. Fantastic hike. I give it 4.5 stars only because one has to take one of two water taxis in the morning and catch either the 4pm or 5:30pm back to the townsite and that costs $20. What you're really paying for is a limit on the amount of people on the trail.
Very rarely, I actually get competitive. You might not see that given that I'm not trying super hard in life to amass wealth, power, status, material goods, a strong or large social network. But it does happen. Like when I'm dropped off at the bottom of a trail with 30 people with the expectation that we're all hiking up to the same pristine mountain lake.. and that because of the water taxi system and a ban on wilderness camping in that section of the park that the lake is devoid of humans right now. Anyway, 2hr3m later I'm the first one at the lake by about 5 minutes and then it's 10 minutes before anyone else shows up. The 2nd placers were a young couple that were carrying kind of large daypacks. Turns out they did more planning than showing up at the dock 12 minutes before departure. In the large packs was an inflatable kayak, paddles, and electric pump. So they went to the far, south, side of the lake were there was no one else on shore. Interesting note: the south side of the lake, a half mile away and unreachable by foot because of dense snow on the east and west shores, is actually in the U.S.A. . The border is the end of the lake. A senior couple speculated that one could smuggle this way like "Fast and the Furious" to which I replied that the Canadian version would be the "Slow and the Sullen". BTW, I saw about 3 mosquitoes between 9:20am and 4pm.
On Tuesday I did the Carthew-Alderson one-way hike. Although the last 4 miles into town were a little boring, overall it's spectacular and had no bugs. Rain held off till about an hour after I finished (and yes, I finished long before anyone else on the van shuttle to the trail head). AND there's falafel in Wateron townsite!
So, yeah, went from being miserable to being reminded how great this can be in about a day, maybe two.
The next day, Wednesday, was to be a low key hiking day as I crossed the border and went to the Many Glacier section of Glacier NP (America baby!). Walking all of one mile up to Apikumi Falls (which I kept thinking of "Apple-tini Falls"). While sitting there, two big rams with full curly horns approaching the other bank of the outflow stream. I took some vid of them as they came down and drank. Then the front, bigger one hopped up on a big rock. Stupidly, I stopped the vid recording since I'd let the clip run for a half a minute. Then a moment late it LEAPED across the stream onto a rock that had no horizontal surface. The top of the rock was an edge with 45 degree slopes but it made it fine then bounded onto our bank and up the hillside not 20 feet from me, the second one close behind. I love this freaking park. Also, no bugs.