by Carolyn Geddert
One of the greatest advantages to living in southern Alberta is the close proximity to the mountains. We are just over an hour’s drive to beautiful Waterton National Park in the Canadian Rockies. In addition to the quaint village of Waterton, the park has many fantastic hikes for all levels of experience and three which are considered world class: Akamina Ridge, Carthew/Alderson and Crypt Lake. Conquer these three and you have completed the Waterton challenge, the Triple Crown. And the reward? Triple Crown t-shirt, your name on the glory board at Pearl’s restaurant, but most importantly the inner satisfaction of climbing 3 world class mountains!
Joined by two good friends with ‘Crypt Lake’ on their bucket lists, we boarded the 9:00 a.m. water taxi which took us across Waterton Lake to Crypt Landing. After 17.2km, including a 2300ft elevation gain, we’d be back to this same spot to catch the 5 pm return ride to the Waterton townsite. Each time I do Crypt Lake, I seem to catch a different season of Alpine flowers. This time a profusion of fireweed..mountain sides covered in the pink, lupin-like flower.
Spectacular waterfalls along the way, and roaring falls roaring below us as we hike higher. The 600ft cascading waterfall which comes into view half way up is right beside us as we reach the summit. The natural tunnel, a cliff traverse (with cable and ladder fixed to the mountain) are a couple of this hike’s highlights.
The greatest reward at the end is the turquoise green, glacier-fed Crypt lake. Perfect for soaking hot, blistered feet!
After a lunch break and time for pictures, we made a quick descent to catch our taxi. All in all, a successful outing: great conversation, beautiful scenery, spent muscles, and the first stamp on my Triple Crown card.
Next up: Akamina Ridge!