Alderson-Carthew Trail, Waterton National Park

11:43 a.m. on August 20, 2012 (EDT)
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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.

We caught the shuttle bus at the townsite at 8:00 and made it up to Cameron Lake and onto the trailhead by 8:30.
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Then a steady climb for 4 km on moderately sloped trails. Nice views of Cameron Lake from above
image.jpg and just a few hundred metres of elevation gain to the ridge.
image.jpg 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.
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Summit Lake makes a nice stop...


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and we paused for a few minutes to add bug spray and sunblock. Then a steady slog uphill....


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image.jpg Tantalizing glimpses above...image.jpg
image.jpg and more hard work.


image.jpg After a short while, we got a look at our destination, the Carthew Summit ridge. You can see the trail traversing across the scree below it.

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From the traverse, the view back down were spectacular...


image.jpg ... 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.


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The ridge was incredible - as we reached it our first peek over the top showed us this:
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and this...
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We stopped briefly on top and ate our lunches

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The Carthew Lakes lay below us, and getting to the first one was an easy downhill amble.
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The trail tracks left around that lake then does a short hop over a ridge and down to the next one.

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A local was fishing for cutthroat trout. These two and their dogs were on the bus with us, stopped to fish, then caught up with us later on - pretty fast.
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Around the lake, then the descent continued.
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Gorgeous views all around (of course)


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image.jpg and Alderson Lake below...
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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.


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image.jpg A few open spots...
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...then back into the trees.
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Finally, the townsite is visible below, and from there it's just a steady walk back down by the creek.
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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.



10:46 a.m. on August 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Another awesome Trip Peter! The pictures are wonderfully vivid....

 

I always have to pause and convert the km to miles to get the scope of your hikes.

 

You may have mentioned this before but do you charge for your guide services?

3:17 p.m. on August 21, 2012 (EDT)
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My current license lets me lead hikes for pay in the Canadian National Parks. Don't really need one anywhere else in Alberta or BC. I had to take a significant number of courses to get the ticket, accumulate several thousand documented hours of experience leading group hikes, and I have to keep upgrading every year.

For friends and family, though, no charge. If any of the regulars here are heading this way, I think we'd consider you in the latter category and I could always add you to a group I'm already taking. I'd love to hike in the Rockies with people like you or Rick or GiftofGab (and pretty much everybody else here, of course!). As long as I cover my costs, I'm happy.

It's about 1.6 km to each mile, so this hike for example would be about 12.5 miles. 1 metre of elevation is about 3.28 ft, so the elevation on this hike was 2132 ft up and 3608 ft back down. I have the same problem going the other way, converting miles to kilometres and feet to metres. I think the US is the only country left that doesn't use metric.

6:14 p.m. on August 21, 2012 (EDT)
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peter1955 said:

I'd love to hike in the Rockies with people like you or Rick or GiftofGab (and pretty much everybody else here, of course!). As long as I cover my costs, I'm happy.

I may very well take you up on an adventure down the road. Always love to see new things. 

Kinda have something on my radar at the moment that is gonna take a chunk of time(planning, accomplishing, so on and so forth.)

As to be expected another spectacular tr. The areas you travel are simply put... breath taking.

As always thanks for sharing. 

10:02 a.m. on August 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Just a few more. Photos Credit Sherry L.


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July 30, 2014
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