Cameron Lake Adventure - Waterton - Hiking Alberta

 

Cameron Lake spans the Canada - USA border in Waterton Lakes National Park.

 

Cameron Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

This mission requires three essential components. The first is an incredibly beautiful lake.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada An awesome, beautiful, alpine lake with a glacier on a mountain. Check √

 

The second is a seaworthy vessel.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada A seaworthy vessel - a stable kayak for photography on calm water. Check √

 

And finally: The third is an awesome force for propulsion of the vessel.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada An awesome force to propel the craft. Check √
With Love to Bill and Joanne.  Fond memories of Blakiston Falls.

 

On Akamina Parkway, the 16 KM (10 mile) drive west from Waterton Village occurs in overcast conditions following a brief tour of the Prince of Wales HotelCameron Lake, at the end of the Akamina Parkway, is deserted with the exception of Visitor Center and Boat Launch staff.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

There is time to wander around the north end of Cameron Lake while patiently waiting for better weather.  Cameron Lake is about 2.5 KM (1⅝ miles) long, with 2,708 m (8,883 ft) Mount Custer consuming the view at the south end. 

Mount Custer resides in Glacier National Park, Montana and hosts the Herbst Glacier on the north flank.  Forum Peak, which hides Forum Lake on the other side of the ridge, looming above Cameron Lake's southwest corner creates a spectacular image, even when bathed in low-level cloud. 

Time is spent taking a few photos and chatting with Parks staff while waiting for weather to improve.  The combination Parks Office and Snack Bar is near the path which leads to the trail-head for the amazing Carthew-Alderson hike.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada A beautiful small pond near the Visitor Centre at Cameron Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Cameron Lake looks a bit different today, in cool weather, with drizzle under low ceilings. The lake has a special beauty today.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada There are no visitors here. The boat launch is quiet.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Friendly people in the Parks Office and Snack Bar wait for the weather to improve.

 

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Boats need to be bailed out, due to overnight rain, before they can be used.

 

Within a half hour, weather is showing signs of improvement.  A kayak is bailed out and ready to go.  Donning a life jacket over rain gear begins the aquatic adventure to the far, south end of Cameron Lake where giant waterfalls tumble down the headwall from the Herbst Glacier.  The west shore provides the safest route which will significantly reduce the influence of churning winds on the lake's surface.  On this day, in this place, which is normally very busy, the entire lake belongs to me.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Blue sky begins to appear almost immediately.

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

The summit of Mount Custer at photo center below and Forum Peak on photo right, begin to peek out from cloud as the sky clears and ceilings lift in a fascinating, slow motion dance while the kayak moves within a horizontal plain against clouds moving in a vertical plain, and forward motion progresses towards an expanding image within this three dimensional collage.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Pass the end of the wooden, viewing platform at the end of the shore-adjacent and picturesque, 1.5 KM (⅞ mile) Cameron Lakeshore Trail, progress in the kayak swings around a rocky point into a small, quiet and shallow bay beneath Forum Peak.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

On the continuing paddle towards the south end of Cameron Lake, the voyage soon crosses the invisible demarcation line into the United States of America.

 

 

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Blue sky has disappeared and ceilings have dropped again.  A breeze is picking up but there is no surprise because this is simply the fickle nature of mountain weather.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Images at the end of Cameron Lake become increasingly profound and dramatic when combined with the increasing roar of falling water creating a sensory mix which increases exponentially.  The surface of Cameron Lake is beginning to get choppy on the transition from very shallow, crystal-clear and sheltered water into deep blue, almost black water, where the shoreline hosts large, floating chunks of ice which have calved from the glacial field above.  Lingering fields of snow occupy areas protected from the sun.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

On the approach to the waterfalls, the increasingly stiff breeze is becoming more brisk and chop on the water is making directional navigation more challenging.  A successful photograph is measured as one where both the camera and the photographer remain above water. 

Several attempts are often required to capture a level, still photograph as the kayak gets tossed and twisted around.  Common sense trumps valor for the decision to turn around and head back in the possible event the situation may turn ugly.  Even though risk is low, staying close to the west shoreline will allow an easy and convenient beaching of the kayak into grizzly bear territory, if required.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

The reverse in direction shows the nature of the storm pulsing above the region.  Although the kayak and personal presence are alone on the lake surface, hardy souls in rain gear are beginning to hike the Cameron Lakeshore Trail.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada The view across Cameron Lake, to avalanche chutes through forest, on the side of east shore hills north of Mount Custer

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Although the view along the lake appears a bit ominous, there are clear views at lake shore and in one very shallow spot, time is taken to slalom around rocks breaking the surface near the brilliant green slopes beneath Forum Peak.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

The kayak is kept very close to shoreline to take advantage of calmer water, and the Cameron Lakeshore Trail is often within a few feet of the kayak location.  People begin to take pictures of the kayak, and on a couple of occasions, strike up a pleasant and polite conversation.  Whatever everyone else thinks, this short aquatic journey is a wonderful, relaxing and joyful.  The potential for inclement weather helps to create a better experience without distraction from the forces and beauty of nature.

The exercise from paddling is generating warmth.  The rain gear keeps everything dry.  The upper body workout is a refreshing change from hiking and a welcome opportunity to rest the feet.  Cameron Lake is a good-sized lake and the entire surface is personal property during this lucky and unique opportunity.

On the approach to the dock, the boat launch staff are busy preparing boats for others.  The water is much calmer here and weather is beginning to shift back to a clearing trend.

 

Cameron Lake Kayak - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

This has been an outstanding and private excursion.  The reasonable fee is paid for the two hours spent on Cameron Lake before the short drive east on the Akamina Parkway to the Lineham trail-head for the next adventure of the day which is the short, easy and scenic hike into Lineham Falls.

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

Tags: 

Comments

No argument the weather is fickle at Cameron Lake. If you have the opportunity on a fair day with calm weather, it is a beautiful trip to the waterfalls off Mount Custer which cascade over rock walls into Cameron Lake. I hope you have the opportunity another time. There were no crocodiles in the frigid waters I was paddling.

Beautiful photos! I'm jealous that you made it to the south end of the lake, I've always had to turn around because of bad weather.

I thought you might enjoy that one. Like son: like father. It was a spur of the moment thing. The young lady at the boat launch was a good sport to take the photo for me. Joanne can decide if she wants to make it a trio. If it is something she wants to do, at least she will have plenty of time to rehearse. I look forward to hiking with both of you in Yoho National Park next summer. I will try to get us on a tour into Burgess Shale, one of the most prolific fossil deposits on the planet. I have the Iceline Trail on the list as well. Thanks for your comment, Bill.

Very funny. Great pose. This just gave me a thought...next year it will be Joanne's turn in Yoho. I can't believe you had the whole lake to yourself. That is awesome. Not too many people would be able to say that during peak season.

Some would call the weather less than ideal but it seemed OK to me. I believe it is an old Irish proverb which states, 'There is no such thing as bad weather, only being dressed inappropriately'. I paraphrase. It was wonderful to have the entire lake to myself. The weather was really not all that bad. Thanks for your comment, Helen. I shall hopefully have new material on return.

Awesome. Love the contrasts in weather and those intense greens on the slopes. Happy travels!

Thanks for your comment, Glor. Great to hear from you. Cameron Lake is a beautiful place and just a short distance west from Waterton Village. The skies were complex and weather shift was swift, dramatic and unpredictable. Actually, fairly typical for higher altitudes in the mountains. It is always important to be prepared for anything. I hope you will have the opportunity to spend some time in Waterton Lakes National Parks one day. It has been one of my favorites for decades. Hope all is well with you and family. The photo you reference is my delayed response to Bill's gesture a couple of years earlier at Blakiston Falls, also in Waterton Lakes National Park, near Red Canyon. It will bring him a smile and summon up a memory. The attractive young lady at the boat launch, who honoured my request to take the photo, deserves a lot of credit for being an incredibly good sport. By the end of my kayak trip, when the photo was taken as an afterthought, there were quite a few more people around.

Thank you for your comment, D. I am very much looking forward to setting foot on Newfoundland for the first time. New experiences and uniquely wonderful people. Wishing you fair weather, calm seas and spectacular paddling. Stay safe, and yes, we shall compare notes. Have a wonderful journey out west.

What a beautiful place, Dad. I love the series of photos where the black hills turn to a stunning rich green. And that pose "An awesome force to propel" is classic you....smiles.

Wonderful launchings there Barry! I've often thought about such paddling much like your first few images and musings... :) Sounds like we will both be off on a journey soon to a coastline, though different ends of our country. We'll have to compare notes. Have a wonderful journey out east. D

Add new comment