All of the amazing hotels of the National Parks in which we stayed, were built by the Great Northern Railway a century or so ago in an effort to open up the regions and hopefully lead to a huge influx of tourists and adventurers who it was hoped would obviously travel by train. Sadly great in principle but in practice it was a loss making investment. Almost all of the hotels were not financially successful.
The most exquisite was the Prince of Wales, refer previous blog. Last night stayed at the Glacier Park Lodge.
The more astute of you will notice that there is a day of cycling missing. The observation is correct, at least as far as I was concerned. It was a day of extreme wind, blustery and for a significant part of the planned route, uphill and into a headwind. Finally to convince me to stay in the support vehicle, a goodly part of the route involved cycling a major highway! I am too old to die!
I had more than sufficient exertion the day before on the trek to the Crypt Lake.
This hike has been judged amongst the Top 10 hikes in the world and amongst the top hikes in Canada. It is an extreme outdoor adventure climbing almost 1000m and 10km one way or 20 bone crunching km in and out. About 1 km away from the lake (a glacial lake) are two Indiana Jones heart stopping encounters with ones fear of heights, not to mention death, paramount in the experience. The first is a ledge climb with the width being about a metre for 25 metres then crawling or bending through a tunnel in the rocks – which I must admit I could not work out if it was a natural walk way or man made, to access this one climbs a metal ladder up about 2 meters. At the end of the tunnel, one is confronted by a precipitous gorge and another ledge crawl, the width of which is such that to minimise the chance of missing one’s footing and plunging a thousand metres into the ravine, there is a steel cable drilled into the rock face every few metres.
Once negotiated, there is a further 1km track to a breathtaking glacial lake. The only way to do it justice is with photographs.
Having eaten lunch, sitting with bare feet in the deliciously icy water, teaming with trout, one repeats the whole adventure.
It was, to add to the sense of masochism, 32 degrees in a burning sun despite being at more than 3000m .
Have just had dinner in the dining room of the Prince of Wales hotel! It has a Scottish theme! The staff are in kilts and at 8pm in the lounge is a talk on the history of Waterton and the Prince of Wales hotel, given by a young Asian man in a kilt!
Again for the last 3 days, we have been electronically “stranded”, no “cell phone connection ” is the way it is bemoaned and what a joy to see families and friends actually chatting, playing cards and generally making their own entertainment.
The cycle trip is demanding, but the rewards in terms of exquisite scenery and exhilarating descents is worth it.
Our last day of the trip and we leisurely meandered down the Snake River, floating on large inflatable rubber dinghies. A just reward after our previous days of hiking. It was a great group of like minded active adventurers ably led by Eilee, Mikey and Molly. Alas it seems I was the only one NOT to see any wildlife – neither on two legs or four, other than chipmunks of which there were hundreds.
Another perfect day both in terms of weather and the hiking trail. The Rockefeller family were outstanding philanthropists. This is an area in the Teton National Park purchased by the family as the developers were mounting an all out attack to take it over. Indeed I encourage you to search for quotes by Laurance Rockefeller
A few examples
I profoundly feel that the art of living is the art of giving. You’re fulfilled in the moment of giving, of doing something beyond yourself.
In the midst of the complexities of modern life, with all its pressures, the spirit of man needs to refresh itself by communion with unspoiled nature. In such surroundings- occasional as our visits may be- we can achieve that kind of physical and spiritual renewal that comes alone from the wonder of the natural world.
A delightful 20km hike climbing about 1000 blister inducing metres, give or take a few hundred. We took a fast boat across a lake to our starting point then along Cascade canyon with an obviously cascading river and with the snow covered Teton mountain range on either side.