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Crossing into Canada… why didn’t I think of that BEFORE we left?

September 15, 2016

If this is Idaho again, we must have just spent a couple of weeks in Canada and Montana.

dscn3397We “glamped” (“glamorously camped” in our fancy schmancy 5th wheel) at and explored the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park… a UNESCO World Heritage site that is a jointly managed park that includes Glacier National Park (USA) and Waterton Lakes (Canada) from 8/28-9/11/16. I’ve got to say that this is one of our favorite National Parks; certainly, one of the most beautiful places on earth and a “must see” for parks lovers, especially if you want to see wildlife and beautiful scenery.

But we almost didn’t make it across the Canadian20160827_150113 border. The day before we were supposed to cross from Idaho to Canada, I happened to think, “perhaps we should know the requirements for this border crossing.” (“Not like we’ve been planning this trip for years or anything,” I thought [face palm].) Thinking along the lines of “can’t bring certain fruits and meats,” imagine my surprise when I learned that we also needed certifications that our cats, Dickens and Lucie, had been vaccinated against rabies. Of course, I had not had the foresight to check this out while we were still in San Diego when it would be relatively easy to get said certifications. I wasn’t even sure we HAD vaccinated them for rabies before we left…. things were a bit crazy. Of course, this all occurred to me on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

A call to our vet to see if they could put something together for us, was easy enough. But receiving the certs took a little more effort on our vet’s part. Sure enough, Linda at Friars Road Pet Hospital went above and beyond for us in writing up the certifications and texting photos of them to us. After all that effort, it was a bit disappointing that the Canadian customs and border agent only gave them a cursory look. He was actually more interested in the alcohol we had onboard (a case of beer, about 6 bottles of wine and 6 bottles of hard liquor… we’re living in the trailer, right?). He noted that alcohol taxes were very high in Canada, eh, but he wouldn’t charge us the $300 in taxes we owed on all that. Heck, we probably didn’t even pay that much for the booze. We would have given it to him or thrown it away if he had charged us for it. If you’re thinking about going to Canada from the U.S. in an R.V., be sure to check the crossing requirements before you go so you’re better prepared than we were.

dscn3396Crisis averted, it’s the second time we’ve been to Waterton Lakes and we’ll be back again at some point. We stayed in Waterton Lakes Townsite Campground for five nights (8/28-9/2) and we were perfectly situated to enjoy the little town of Waterton, Alberta, Canada. The town and park are open year-round, but many businesses close at the end of September until May/June and only about 50 people reside in Waterton year-round. It’s possible to visit and stay in one of the hotels during the winter, but for hiking and other activities, I’d recommend a summertime visit.

We spent our five days in Waterton Lakes hiking, horseback dscn3412riding and sightseeing. There are several hikes available from the trailhead that leads to Bertha Falls and Bertha Lake. Our 11.4 km (7 miles) roundtrip hike on the first day was a bit too arduous for my knees and ankle. (I decided when we were hiking at Crater Lake National Park, that I’m more built for flat hiking right now, rather than up and down hiking, but I’m getting stronger and slimmer so that will help. And I forgot my hiking poles… again.) It was a beautiful hike though and well worth the effort.

It’s an “easy” hike to Bertha Falls and it attracts lots of hikers and families. The Falls are beautiful, and it’s a great place to stop and have a snack and take some pictures. You can return back to the Townsite, or continue on to Bertha Lake, dscn3434which has many switchbacks, is fairly steep and rated “moderate.” That hike offered amazing views of Waterton Lake, was less travelled and quieter, and the lake at the end was beautiful and calm. We walked around the lake to have lunch, dunk our toes in the cold water, and watch for wildlife. Leashed dogs are allowed on parks trails at Waterton, unlike the U.S. National Parks. Unfortunately, a deer was scared from its hiding place by an unleashed dog. Nothing bad happened, but I really wish people would follow the rules; it just makes it more enjoyable for every living thing.

dscn3401On our way back, the clouds rolled in and it started to thunder, lightning and rain. It was fun to be on the trail as the weather changed (thank goodness for rain ponchos!) and a little scary at the same time. We weren’t in any danger of getting struck by lightning, but as we were finishing up the hike, Paul noticed the wind had picked up and the storm cell was right over us. (That’s the kind of cell coverage we don’t like!) The rain came pouring down as we raced to the trailer.  We rolled up the back window shade and spent the evening listening to the rain and thunder, and watching the lightning outside. Better than anything we could have watched on TV that night.

 

More to come on Waterton Lakes and our Montana adventures. Signing off from Massacre Rocks State Park, in American Falls, ID. We’re here to visit the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Lark Randall permalink
    September 15, 2016 5:35 pm

    Holly: Did you see that the campground is closed????

  2. Megan permalink
    September 15, 2016 8:23 pm

    You both look great!!!! I love Waterton!!!

  3. Nancy GANNON HORNBERGER permalink
    September 16, 2016 7:58 am

    Beautiful country. Thanks for sharing your adventures, including the ups and downs. Hope to chat soon!! Love the t shirts and you both. — Nancy

    • September 16, 2016 8:17 am

      Thanks,Nancy! We love the t-shirts your family gave us, too. I think you’d love Waterton Lakes.

  4. Janna C Reeves permalink
    September 16, 2016 10:40 am

    Cell coverage…har har. 🙂

  5. Pam Fuller permalink
    September 16, 2016 11:21 am

    Great photos and story. Speaking of cats, How are they enjoying the open road lifestyle?

    • September 17, 2016 8:06 pm

      They’re liking it fine… except for travel day. But they’ve even gotten used to that.

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