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For those who are interested, Waterton National Park (Canada) is connected to the north end of Glacier National Park (US) in Montana.
The Alderson-Carthew Trail leaves from Cameron Lake, 450 metres in elevation above the Waterton townsite, and starts off with an extra 650 metres of elevation gain over about 7.5 kilometres. The nice part about it is that the rest of the trail heads downhill for 1100 metres elevation loss, so you get the hard part out of the way first, then cruise down the valleys back to town.
Then a steady climb for 4 km on moderately sloped trails. Nice views of Cameron Lake from above
and just a few hundred metres of elevation gain to the ridge.
The forest opened up, and we got some good looks at the damage caused by Mountain Pine beetle, as well as of the peaks above us.
Summit Lake makes a nice stop...
and we paused for a few minutes to add bug spray and sunblock. Then a steady slog uphill....
From the traverse, the view back down were spectacular...
... but there were a few slippery spots. Scree slopes are stable at about 30-35°, which means that if you slip off the trail, you'll slide all the way down to the trees below. In this case, the drop would range from 50 to 250 metres.
Now the boring part: The trail enters the trees, and from there on, there are only occasional glimpses of the mountains all around.The last 6.5 km are a downhill walk, with a stream crossing or two, lots of berries to munch on, and a gentle but steady gradient.
Finally, the townsite is visible below, and from there it's just a steady walk back down by the creek.
Total distance about 18-20 km (depends which trail guide you check!) but elevation gains are +650 metres then -1100 metres.
A great day, with perfect weather, not too many bugs, and some decent exercise.