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Red Rock Canyon - Akimina and Chief Highways, AB
mini location map2017-08-13
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Red Rock Canyon - Akimina and Chief Highways, AB 
Red Rock Canyon - Akimina and Chief Highways, AB
Scenic Drive avatar Aug 13 2017
Scenic Drive
Scenic Drive
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We had hoped to do a little hike of some sort today but the weather was just not cooperating so we took two scenic drives in the area after breakfast at the Prince Of Wales Lodge. First we did the Red Rock Canyon Parkway which is located on Highway 5. It is about 9 miles as you wind your way through the plains with the larger mountains in front of you and to the south. Sadly we didn't see any of the wildlife this drive is known for.

There are two impressive mountains, Blakiston and Anderson that shoot straight up from the prairie below. We arrived at the dead end of Red Rock Canyon but there wasn't a place to park. So we just turned around and drove back to the Lodge. This is what we missed ... html The bad weather was coming in and out as it would for most of the day. Here is a link to a time lapse video of the drive from another person on the web [ youtube video ] . I am assuming a lot of this area along the parkway burned in the Kenow Fire. This fire was so powerful it burned 80,000 acres in less than two days. Surprisingly the firefighters were able to save the Prince of Wales Lodge, however the Visitors Center just down the road burned to the ground as did the Alpine Stables and a Guest Ranch.

We returned to the Lodge and grabbed some lunch before heading out for our next 9 1/2 mile scenic drive of the Akamina Parkway which follows Cameron Creek up the Cameron Valley. The valley changes from a narrow gorge near the townsite to a more typically wide U-shaped glacial valley nearer the Lake. About 5 miles in we passed the Discovery Well National Historic Site commemorating western Canada's first producing oil well. I would snap a picture on the way back. Also intriguing were the avalanche/snow barriers at a couple of the drainages. Rowe Mountain was impressive with its very pointy peak.

We finally arrive at Cameron Lake, a sub alpine jewel with lush avalanche slopes sweeping steeply to the surrounding peaks. Sadly the weather was cold, windy and wet so we just got out long enough to view the lake. I had hoped we could do the hike around it as I had done in 1991 with my dad but it wasn't happening today. You can even rent boats here which would have been great fun. FYI: It is named after Donald Roderick Cameron (1834–1921) a British Royal Artillery captain. The 49th parallel north runs through the southern end of the lake making part of it technically in Glacier County, Montana.

Once again, here is a link to a time lapse video from another person on the web [ youtube video ] . And once again, I am assuming a lot of this area went up in smoke as well. This video also takes you thru Waterton townsite which Wendy and I thoroughly enjoyed. It's a great little village and even has free wi-fi through out not to mention fabulous views and the food was pretty good too.

As you can see from the picture on this link, the fire burned right up to the Prince of Wales Lodge. With “extensive efforts” and despite embers the size of baseballs landing on the roof, firefighters saved the landmark Prince of Wales Hotel, built in 1927 ... enow In two days, the lightning-caused fire quadrupled in size. The fire moved northeast down the Cameron Valley along the Akamina Parkway into the townsite, racing through grasslands near the park ... 1987 Fire Map: ... ater. They say if as much effort had been put into saving the Sperry Chalet, it maybe wouldn't have burned.

And now it was time to go back to the USA, another scenic drive. On our way out of town we saw another black bear. If he stayed in this area, he would have survived the fire as it stopped around the park entry. And fortunately, Waterton Parks Canada had previously closed some campgrounds in the park due to high fire danger and dry conditions. It was a summer without rain.

Here are my two videos:

[ youtube video ] our scenic drives and around the Prince of Wales
[ youtube video ] our drive to Montana including a drive by of the Belly River Campground which is on the Canadian side; something you may want to consider rather than staying in Waterton. It's a very nice campground.
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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