Entries tagged with “waterton lakes national park”.


On Tuesday I had the opportunity to go on a mountain bike trip to the headwaters of the Castle River. I was joined by my friends, Rolf and Peter. We left Crowsnest Pass at 8:00 am and were unloading our bikes at the trail-head about an hour later. Within minutes, we were peddling along the bumpy, pot-hole filled logging road, heading south toward Waterton Lakes National Park. It didn’t take long, the first five minutes of the trip to be exact, for me to realize I was not in top “bike shape.” By the end of our 35 km trip, every muscle and bone in my body ached. My backside was the most vocal, though. I must look into getting a bike seat with more padding.

Portions of the old logging road were in rough shape, with large bowling ball size rocks strewn over the ground. Other sections contained deep washouts and ravines, reminders of the 1995 flood. Then, there were the steep hills. There were no short-cuts around them and it was much easier to push the bikes up or down them, than peddle. Other sections of the road were much like they were prior to the flood, and easy to ride. I particularly enjoyed the downhill sections … that is until we returned later in the day, where they became uphill sections. At long last, we arrived at our destination, approximately three or four kilometres from the northern boundary of Waterton Park. The scenery was spectacular!

Rolf and Peter, gearing up to fish

Rolf and Peter, gearing up to fish

 Although it was more of a mountain bike torture trip we were on, we had also included our fly-fishing gear. In the event there was a decent place close by, and we had time, we planned to fish a bit before heading back. As it turned out we’d have about an hour, so we thought we’d make the best of it. We were glad we did. Here’s a few photos of the day.

Mountain Bike Trip

Within minutes, Peter was into a nice cutthroat trout

 

Mountain Bike Trip

Peter, with a beautiful 15-inch cutthroat trout. A decent fish for this section of river.

 

Rolf cast to a likely-looking spot. The headwater of the Castle River are more creek-like in size and appearance than they are a river.

Rolf casts to a likely-looking spot. The headwaters of the Castle River are more creek-like in size and appearance than they are a river.

 

Mountain bike trip

One of the cutthroats I managed to catch. Photos by Peter Amundsen.

 

Mountain bike trip

Preparing for the ride home. Myself, Peter and Rolf (left to right).

It appears the spring runoff has started in southwest Alberta. Water levels have been rising on most of the region’s rivers and streams over the past week or two, due to increased snowmelt that’s been occurring in the mountains and backcountry. It hasn’t been the warmest spring on record by any means, but temperatures have warmed up enough for the runoff to begin.

Runoff has started in SW Alberta, including the Castle River, near Beaver Mines

Runoff has started on most streams in SW Alberta, including the Castle River near Beaver Mines

Yesterday, I went for a drive to Waterton Lakes National Park. Along the way, I checked out a few of the trout streams to see how the runoff was progressing. Although water levels are up on all of them, some were running surprisingly clear. Providing we don’t receive monsoons over the next 2 to 3 weeks, some of these streams may be fishable when the season opens on June 16th. Time will tell!

A small stream near Waterton Park flowing high, but clear.

A small stream near Waterton Park flowing high, but clear. There's still plenty of snow to melt in the highcountry.

 I only spent a few hours in the Park and because it was drizzly and cool I didn’t get to do any hiking, or anything of the sort.  While driving about, though, I noticed there were lots of  prairie crocus’ around and glacier lilies were blooming in quite a few places, too. Speaking of flowers, the sixth annual Waterton Wild Flower Festival will be taking place June 13 – 21. A variety of events are scheduled, including guided flower walks, hikes and workshops. Some of the courses include: Wildflower Identification, Bird Watching and Photography Workshops. For more information on the Festival, click here.