Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bertha Lake Hike - Waterton National Park

Hello everyone,

I am finally ready to post the pictures of my Bertha Lake Hike (28 photos in album). I've included three of them here.

July 5, 2008 was perfect and the company enjoyable, but the best part was the scenery!!! The trailhead is located at the southern end of Waterton Lakes National Park. As you can see from the first shot in the slideshow, the deer in the townsite area are rather accustomed to human activity. Decon, Tara, Greg, my daughter Amberle and I were geared up and ready to go.

Bertha trail led the five of us along the western edge of Waterton Lake before turning west towards the mountains. At nearly the three kilometer mark, the pathway reached Lower Bertha Falls - a place Decon and I snowshoed to this past winter. From there, we rose up the mountain side in a series of heart-pounding switchbacks for an additional 2.8km to reach Bertha Lake. Nearly to the lake was a huge waterfall crashing down the steep rocks. It was difficult to see Upper Bertha Falls though the thick foliage, but I got a photo of it anyway.

Once at the Bertha Lake, I hiked above the west side and stalked up on a Mule deer - with his horns still in the velvet. He was browsing at the base of three majestic waterfalls which were cascading down the mountainside above me. I was thrilled beyond measure! I got within fifty or sixty feet of the wild & majestic animal. Wow!

From there, my adventurous spirit led me along the western shores of Bertha Lake until I reached the extreme southern end. There, alone and awed, I stood in the warm summer sun and took in the incredible views. The air was peaceful. The sky, deep blue with a few white clouds. Ahead of me, a spectacular waterfall adorned the rocky slopes. To my right, several white mountain goats clamoured for footing some 200 meters (600 ft) above me. Above the waterfall, Mount Richards rose to 2416 meters (7926 ft), hemmed in by mighty ridges and jagged crags on all sides. I made my way to the base of the waterfall. I ascended about one hundred feet to a perch above the cascade and brought my camera lens up. Even with a super wide angle photographic view of the landscape, one shot just wasn't enough. I carefully composed thirteen photographs. At home, they would allow me to create two incredible panoramic pictures. With the photos finished, I just stood and stared. What a view it was!

Reluctantly, I scrambled back down to the level of the lake surface. I had to return to my group. They were resting and exploring at the north end of the lake and my two-way radio was out of range. I jogged the two kilometers back, pausing only once to immortalize an interesting flower in full bloom.
The hike down was fast. Gravity does that! About an hour and a half later, the five of us reached the trail head, tired but smiling. In all, I had tramped 14.4km. My feet were sore and my legs spent. My head was filled with memorable scenes and tucked protectively in its case rested my camera along with some very beautiful photographs.

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