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Margaret’s Travel Diary

Monday, 24 Jul 2006

Location: Waterton, Alberta, Canada

MapHi to Everyone--

Well I made it back in one piece, bearly----speaking of bears---we saw 5 bears when we were in Many Glacier...they were munching on the berries up on the hills around the hotel. And even from 1/4 mile away they were huge! So amazing, just knowing that they are taking so much care in pushing the berry bushes aside to get the good ones on the inside, but knowing that they could literally rip your face off....what cool creatures.

But this trip was one of the longest thus far, and by the last say I was feeling it. We started our trip in Whitefish as usual and headed off to Many Glacier Hotel (in East Glacier) for 3 nights of greatness. The hotel is just so big and old, with no TV and no distractions, so you are forced to sit on the porch and watch for big game, or sit by the HUGE fire place and read. It's a great hotel. The food is to die for, great desserts. We went hiking from the lodge everday, and one of the days was to Grinnell Lake, a runoff of Grinnell Glacier:

http://www.nrmsc.usgs.gov/images/grinlake.jpg

Check out the before and after shots...pretty sad actually (global warming). But the hike to the lake was pretty unenjoyable...the flies were SO bad. You couldn't stop without having literally 200 flies land on you. It was so gross, I would stop and get the chills becase there were so many on me. They have formed some immunity to bug spray--we did an experiment..we laid a deet wipe on the ground and within minutes it was covered with flies.....hmm....can we say controversy? But when we finally got to the lake we couldn't stay long due to the flies. But it was a gorgeous little glacier lake in the mountains.

Within the next few days we saw 3 Golden Eagles (close cousins to the Bald Eagle), 5 Bears, 2 Moose, 3 Big Horned Sheep, lots of Mountain Goats, and then on the first day in Waterton we saw a Bald Eagle.

On the way to Waterton we stopped at Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo Jump.

http://www.head-smashed-in.com/

I could write a book about how interesting this place was, but I'll let you check it out for yourself. It was an amazing place, and you could just feel the spirituality. Our guide was 80% Native Blackfeet, and every so often he would stop and do a traditional Indian Chant, it was amazing. The view from the top of the cliffs literally left you speechless, it was so enormous. The view went for miles and miles. I swear you could see for 100 miles. It was what *Big Sky* was named after. (well maybe not, but it was interesting). The Native People were and are such a huge influance around the Pacific Northwest, you can't help but become interested in the people. On the other hand though, the people are so poor and thier lands are pretty desolate, there is an unemployment rate of nearly 50% (in a GOOD year) and nearly 80% when it's really bad. When you are in thier territory you just feel guilty, like as an American you had something to do with the way that they are living now. You feel like you should appologize for the past. But like my Uncle Zack tells me (BIG Z) when you go to places like this you just have to respect the land and the culture, that's all they ask. So that's what I do.

But on to Wateron, it was a beautiful little city nestled into the Mountains. Very tiny, with deer and big horned sheep roaming around the streets. The Canadian's are SO NICE! Everyone there is just great--EH!? I walked up to the Prince of Wales Hotel one evening to get a shot of the hotel and the city from a different angle and it was a beautiful old hotel. Very expensive--$250-$800 bucks for room. I personally think there might be better things to spend your money on...but that's just me.

So Sunday we headed back, stopping for a flat tire on the bus, OH did I mention that the A/C died on Wednesday and it was nearly 100 out everday?? Enough to make everyone's blood boil. I think I might have slipped into a coma on the way back in the back of the bus :) But needless to say, we were all pretty tired and ready for a nice cold shower when we got back to Big Mountain last night.

Hope everyone is doing well....STAY COOL!

Cheers!