July 15, 2011

Trip Start Jun 02, 2011
Trip End Sep 25, 2011

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Where I stayed
waterton lakes national park

Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Friday, July 15, 2011

We drove into Canada today from West Glacier.  Overall, Glacier National Park was spectacular, and we really enjoyed it.  However, there are a few important points we learned:  First, if coming from the East and staying on both the East & West side of the park and then going North into Canada, it is best to go to the west side of Glacier first.  Second, I would have stayed an extra day on the east side of Glacier and not driven to the west side.  Nothing against the west side of the park, but we saw everything from the east, and if we wanted to travel to the west for a day we could have taken the free park bus.  Because we drove from the east side of the park to the west, and then had to backtrack to get into Canada, we drove an extra 200 miles on mountain roads.

Despite my reflection above, the drive from West Glacier to Waterton was quite awesome as we circled the Glaciers for the entire drive. Before we pulled out we made a quick stop in West Glacier to purchase some post cards and mail them, since the post office was right there. The weather was beautiful, so it was a shame to have to drive for a good part of the day, however it also made the drive much easier. In total we drove 150 miles, and it was often slow because they were mountain roads. At exactly 100 miles we passed St. Mary, precisely where we had stayed several nights earlier.

Thirty miles after St. Mary's we approached the Canadian border, and we faced the most detailed search yet. After an initial round of questioning, we were asked to pull to the side and an officer spent about 5 minutes searching the RV while we stayed outside. She finally came out and thanked us for our time. I was quite surprised how much time they spent.

It was about another 20 miles north to reach our campground in Waterton Lakes National Park.   We were quite impressed when we drove in with the roads and with the paved bike path right next to the road.  It had much more of a European feel to it.  We stopped at the Visitor Center along the way to get directions, and the girls got the equivalent of the Junior Ranger book, which in Canada is called the Explorer Program.

Our campground was quite huge, and at the base of a large, snowcapped mountain. It was quite an attractive view, and the spaces were all quite large. The girls loved it because there were large elk walking right through the campground. It was really a wonderful setting. It was getting late, so we ate dinner and took a short walk to see an 8pm ranger talk on the Canadian National Parks.   It was a nice talk, and we learned a lot about the parks and the history...the Canadian Park Service is 100 years old this year, and was established before the US Park Service.  The Canadians are very proud of their parks, which the Ranger repeated at least 20 times in an hour!

At the conclusion we took a quick walk to Waterton Falls, which had a cold mist blowing off of them.   Nothing too impressive after the falls we have seen.  We then quickly walked back to the RV and got ready for bed.  It was a long day and I was tired!
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Xiu on

When you cross the border from US to Canada, the border controls are less strict with the passports (at that time this was unknown to me). This will cause me big problems which I will explain later.

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